Alan Watts Quotes: Random 50 Alan Watts Quotes to Ponder

The life of Zen begins, therefore, in a disillusion with the pursuit of goals which do not really exist the good without the bad, the gratification of a self which is no more than an idea, and the morrow which never comes.

- Alan Watts

The harder we try to catch hold of the moment, to seize a pleasant sensation..., the more elusive it becomes... It is like trying to clutch water in one's hands - the harder one grips, the faster it slips through one's fingers.

- Alan Watts

Insecurity is the result of trying to be secure.

- Alan Watts

The sound of the rain needs no translation.

- 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

The source of all light is in the eye.

- Alan Watts

We see what we believe rather than what we see.

- Alan Watts

We accepted a definition of ourselves which confined the self to the source and to the limitations of conscious attention. This definition is miserably insufficient, for in fact we know how to grow brains and eyes, ears and fingers, hearts and bones, in just the same way that we know how to walk and breathe, talk and think - only we can't put it into words. Words are too slow and too clumsy for describing such things, and conscious attention is too narrow for keeping track of all their details.

- Alan Watts

We are sick with fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas. Meditation is therefore the art of suspending verbal and symbolic thinking for a time, somewhat as a courteous audience will stop talking when a concert is about to begin.

- Alan Watts

You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with great telescopes.

- Alan Watts

What we need to realize is that there can be, shall we say, a movement, a stirring among people, which can be organically designed instead of politically designed.

- Alan Watts

Think about a piece of music - some great symphony - we don't expect it to get better as it develops, or that its whole purpose is to reach the final crescendo. The joy is found in listening to the music in each moment.

- Alan Watts

When you look out of your eyes at nature happening out there...You're looking at you.

- Alan Watts

You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.

- Alan Watts

The secret of the enjoyment of pleasure is to know when to stop. Man doesn't learn this secret easily, but to shun pleasure altogether is cowardly avoidance of a difficult job. For we have to learn the art of enjoying things BECAUSE they are impermanent.

- Alan Watts

To remain caught up in ideas and words about Zen is, as the old masters say, to stink of Zen.

- Alan Watts

The sound of the rain needs no translation. In music one doesn't make the end of the composition the point of the composition... Same way in dancing, you don't aim at one particular spot in the room... The whole point of dancing is the dance.

- Alan Watts

The Highest to which people can attain is wonder; and if the prime phenomenon makes them wonder, let them be content; nothing higher can it give them, and nothing further should they seek for behind it; there is the limit.

- Alan Watts

In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all.

- Alan Watts

Life is not a problem to be solved, but an experience to be had.

- Alan Watts

Running away from fear is fear; fighting pain is pain; trying to be brave is being scared

- Alan Watts

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

- 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

People often say to me, 'I understand what you are talking about intellectually, but I don't really feel it, I don't realize it,' and I am apt to reply, 'I wonder whether you do understand it intellectually, because if you did you would also feel it.'

- Alan Watts

You don't need to try to be God, you are! But if you try to be God it means you don't know you are.

- Alan Watts

The point, which can hardly be repeated too often, is that differentiation is not separation. The head and the feet are different, but not separate, and though man is not connected to the universe by exactly the same physical relation as branch to tree or feet to head, he is nonetheless connected - and by physical relations of fascinating complexity.

- Alan Watts

Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we're not alone.

- Alan Watts

...[W]ords can be communicative only between those who share similar experiences.

- Alan Watts

But the transformation of consciousness undertaken in Taoism and Zen is more like the correction of faulty perception or the curing of a disease. It is not an acquisitive process of learning more and more facts or greater and greater skills, but rather an unlearning of wrong habits and opinions. As Lao-tzu said, "The scholar gains every day, but the Taoist loses every day.

- Alan Watts

When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point.

- Alan Watts

Once you've learned to think you can't stop. And an enormous number of people devote their lives to keeping their minds busy and feel extremely uncomfortable with silence.

- Alan Watts

We therefore work, not for the work's sake, but for money–and money is supposed to get us what we really want in our hours of leisure and play. In the United States even poor people have lots of money compared with the wretched and skinny millions of India, Africa, and China, while our middle andupper classes (or should we say "income groups") are as prosperous as princes. Yet, by and large, they have but slight taste for pleasure. Money alone cannot buy pleasure, though it can help. For enjoyment is an art and a skill for which we have little talent or energy.

- Alan Watts

Altough we all realize that monotony is boring, almost every form of industrial work- banking, accounting, mass-producing, service- is monotonous, and most people are paid for simply putting up with monotony

- 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

The only serious side-effect of marijuana is that you might get arrested.

- Alan Watts

A chest of gold coins or a fat wallet of bills is of no use whatsoever to a wrecked sailor alone on a raft.

- Alan Watts

The self-styled practical man of affairs who pooh-poohs philosophy as a lot of windy notions is himself a pragmatist or a positivist, and a bad one at that, since he has given no thought to his position.

- Alan Watts

But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.

- Alan Watts

The role of the Guru is to show the person that he already has what he is looking for.

- Alan Watts

When your eyes are functioning well you don't see your eyes. If your eyes are imperfect you see spots in front of them. That means there are some lesions in the retina or wherever, and because your eyes aren't working properly, you feel them. In the same way, you don't hear your ears. If you have a ringing in your ears it means there's something wrong with your ears. Therefore, if you do feel yourself, there must be something wrong with you. Whatever you have, the sensation of I is like spots in front of your eyes - it means something's wrong with your functioning.

- Alan Watts

Self-improvement is a dangerous form of vanity.

- Alan Watts

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

- Alan Watts

You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate "you" to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. The only real "you" is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For "you" is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new.

- Alan Watts

They are enlightened who join in this play knowing it as play, for people suffer only because they take as serious what the gods made for fun.

- Alan Watts

What are we saying when we say now, something is holy? That means you should take a different attitude to what you are doing than if you were, for example, doing it for kicks.

- 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

The sense of wrong is simply failure to see where something fits into a pattern, to be confused as to the hierarchical level upon which an event belongs.

- Alan Watts

One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt.

- Alan Watts

To be alive spiritually man must have union with God and must be conscious of it. Apart from this union his religious life will be an empty drudgery, a mere imitation of true spirituality.

- Alan Watts

The reason we want to go on and on is because we live in an impoverished present.

- Alan Watts