Alan Watts Quotes: Random 50 Alan Watts Quotes to Ponder

But the disappearance of the effort to let go is precisely the disappearance of the separate thinker, of the ego trying to watch the mind without interfering.

- Alan Watts

The fools standpoint is that all social institutions are games. He sees the whole world as game playing. That's why, when people take their games seriously and take on stern and pious expressions, the fool gets the giggles because he knows that it is all a game.

- Alan Watts

We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.

- Alan Watts

I knew of a physicist at the University of Chicago who was rather crazy like some scientists, and the idea of the insolidity, the instability of the physical world impressed him so much that he used to go around in enormous padded slippers for fear he should fall through the floor.

- Alan Watts

Just as the highest and the lowest notes are equally inaudible, so perhaps, is the greatest sense and the greatest nonsense equally unintelligible.

- Alan Watts

this present moment never comes to be and it never ceases to be, it is simply our minds that construct the continuity of thoughts we call time. In the present moment is nirvana.

- Alan Watts

Hurrying and delaying are alike ways of trying to resist the present.

- Alan Watts

Zen is a way of liberation, concerned not with discovering what is good or bad or advantageous, but what is.

- Alan Watts

The more we struggle for life as pleasure, the more we are actually killing what we love.

- Alan Watts

For when you see that the universe cannot be distinguished from how you act upon it, there is neither fate nor free will, self nor other. There is simply one all-inclusive Happening, in which your personal sensation of being alive occurs in just the same way as the river flowing and the stars shining far out in space. There is no question of submitting or accepting or going with it, for what happens in and as you is no different from what happens as it.

- Alan Watts

Real travel requires a maximum of unscheduled wandering, for there is no other way of discovering surprises and marvels, which, as I see it, is the only good reason for not staying at home.

- Alan Watts

Ego is a social institution with no physical reality. The ego is simply your symbol of yourself. Just as the word “water” is a noise that symbolizes a certain liquid without being it, so too the idea of ego symbolizes the role you play, who you are, but it is not the same as your living organism.

- Alan Watts

No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen.

- Alan Watts

There is only this now. It does not come from anywhere; it is not going anywhere. It is not permanent, but it is not impermanent. Though moving, it is always still. When we try to catch it, it seems to run away, and yet it is always here and there is no escape from it. And when we turn around to find the self which knows this moment, we find that it has vanished like the past.

- Alan Watts

We know that from time to time there arise among human beings people who seem to exude love as naturally as the sun gives out heat.

- Alan Watts

To the Taoist mentality, the aimless, empty life does not suggest anything depressing. On the contrary, it suggests the freedom of clouds and mountain streams, wandering nowhere, of flowers in impenetrable canyons, beautiful for no one to see, and of the ocean surf forever washing the sand, to no end.

- Alan Watts

I seem to be a brief light that flashes but once in all the aeons of time a rare, complicated, and all-too-delicate organism on the fringe of biological evolution , where the wave of life bursts into individual, sparkling, and multicolored drops that gleam for a moment... only to vanish forever.

- Alan Watts

The soul is something which contains the body. The body doesn't contain the soul. The soul, if we put it into modern language, is the entire complex of relationships in whose context this organism exists.

- Alan Watts

For if you know what you want, and will be content with it, you can be trusted. But if you do not know, your desires are limitless and no one can tell how to deal with you. Nothing satisfies an individual incapable of enjoyment.

- Alan Watts

No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.

- Alan Watts

What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money ... but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth ... In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are "coins" for real things.

- Alan Watts

We thought of life by analogy with a journey, a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end, and the thing was to get to that end, success or whatever it is, maybe heaven after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.

- Alan Watts

You must not be afraid of playing wrong notes. Just forget it, play it wrong! But play!

- Alan Watts

It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu lila, lila meaning play. And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance – lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt

- Alan Watts

Stay in the center, and you will be ready to move in any direction.

- Alan Watts

Western religions are more concerned with behavior, doctrine, and belief than with any transformation of the way in which we are aware of ourselves and our world.

- Alan Watts

Hospitals should be arranged in such a way as to make being sick an interesting experience. One learns a great deal sometimes from being sick.

- Alan Watts

The Universe is the game of the self, which plays hide and seek forever and ever.

- Alan Watts

Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.

- Alan Watts

Religion is not a department of life; it is something that enters into the whole of it.

- Alan Watts

Everyone is the fabric and structure of existence.

- Alan Watts

We must abandon completely the notion of blaming the past for any kind of situation we're in and reverse our thinking and see that the past always flows back from the present. That now is the creative point of life. So you see it's like the idea of forgiving somebody, you change the meaning of the past by doing that...Also, watch the flow of music. The melody as its expressed is changed by notes that come later. Just as the meaning of a sentence...you wait till later to find out what the sentence means...The present is always changing the past.

- Alan Watts

People sometimes fail to live because they are always preparing to live.

- Alan Watts

The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.

- Alan Watts

Like love, the light or guidance of truth that influences us exists only in living form, not in principles or rules or expectations or advice, however widely circulated

- Alan Watts

...mysticism and empiricism go together in opposition to scholasticism...they base themselves on the non-linear world of experience rather than the linear world of letters.

- Alan Watts

Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, openness - an act of trust in the unknown.

- Alan Watts

Perhaps there is no other knowing than the mere competence of the act. If at the heart of one's being, there is no self to which one ought to be true, then sincerity is simply nerve; it lies in the unabashed vigor of the pretense. But pretense is only pretense when it is assumed that the act is not true to the agent. Find the agent.

- Alan Watts

There was a young man who said though, it seems that I know that I know, but what I would like to see is the I that knows me when I know that I know that I know.

- Alan Watts

Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything.

- Alan Watts

You can't make love without art.

- Alan Watts

We all need to go out of our minds at least once a day. When we go out of our minds we quickly come to our senses.

- Alan Watts

So many people of wealth understand much more about making and saving money than about using and enjoying it. They fail to live because they are always preparing to live.

- Alan Watts

We must see that consciousness is neither an isolated soul nor the mere function of a single nervous system, but of that totality of interrelated stars and galaxies which makes a nervous system possible.

- Alan Watts

We have a strange anxiety in us; that if we don't interfere then it won't happen. Now that's the root of an enormous amount of trouble.

- Alan Watts

If you cannot trust yourself, you cannot even trust your mistrust of yourself - so that without this underlying trust in the whole system of nature you are simply paralyzed

- Alan Watts

Faith...is letting go and trusting oneself to the unknown.

- Alan Watts

We feel that our actions are voluntary when they follow a decision and involuntary when they happen without decision. But if a decision itself were voluntary every decision would have to be preceded by a decision to decide - An infinite regression which fortunately does not occur. Oddly enough, if we had to decide to decide, we would not be free to decide

- Alan Watts

...the materialism of modern civilization is paradoxically founded on a hatred of materiality, a goal-oriented desire to obliterate all natural limits through technology, imposing an abstract grid over nature.

- Alan Watts

Buddhism has in it no idea of there being a moral law laid down by somekind of cosmic lawgiver.

- Alan Watts