Alan Watts quotes

  • Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be
    -- Alan Watts

    #Letting Go #Waking #Wake Up

  • This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Life #Inspiring #Monday

  • Since opposed principles, or ideologies, are irreconcilable, wars fought over principle will be wars of mutual annihilation. But wars fought for simple greed will be far less destructive, because the aggressor will be careful not to destroy what he is fighting to capture. Reasonable - that is, human - men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life.
    -- Alan Watts

    #War #Fighting #Simple

  • 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

    #Life #Inspiring #Simple

  • To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspirational #Faith #Freedom

  • A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with Reality, and lives in a world of illusion.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Wisdom #Reality #Thinking

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

    #Inspiring #Faith #Letting Go

  • The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Simple #Meaning Of Life #Alive

  • Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way...
    -- Alan Watts

    #Short Life #Long #Way

  • Hurrying and delaying are alike ways of trying to resist the present.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Trying #Way #Hurrying

  • Wonder, and its expression in poetry and the arts, are among the most important things which seem to distinguish men from other animals, and intelligent and sensitive people from morons.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Art #Animal #Intelligent

  • The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Motivational #Change #Moving On

  • What you do is what the whole universe is doing at the place you call the here and now. You are something the whole universe is doing in the same way that the wave is something that the whole ocean is doing. The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around. The real deep-down you is the whole universe.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Real #Ocean #Puppets

  • The 'you' who you think you are does not exist.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Thinking #Doe

  • The future is a concept, it doesn't exist. There is no such thing as tomorrow. There never will be, because time is always now. That's one of the things we discover when we stop talking to ourselves and stop thinking. We find there is only present, only an eternal now.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Thinking #Talking #Tomorrow

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

    #Way #Liberation #Discovering

  • But at any rate, the point is that God is what nobody admits to being, and everybody really is.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Rate

  • How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspiring #Faith #Eye

  • We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspiring #Pain #Mental Health

  • Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Eye #Perception #Listening

  • But when no risk is taken there is no freedom. It is thus that, in an industrial society, the plethora of laws made for our personal safety convert the land into a nursery, and policemen hired to protect us become selfserving busybodies.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Taken #Law #Land

  • A living body is not a fixed thing but a flowing event, like a flame or a whirlpool: the shape alone is stable, for the substance is a stream of energy going in at one end and out at the other. We are particularly and temporarily identifiable wiggles in a stream that enters us in the form of light, heat, air, water, milk, bread, fruit, beer, beef Stroganoff, caviar, and pate de foie gras. It goes out as gas and excrement - and also as semen, babies, talk, politics, commerce, war, poetry, and music. And philosophy.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Baby #Philosophy #War

  • 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

    #Sick #Interesting #Way

  • Our pleasures are not material pleasures, but symbols of pleasure – attractively packaged but inferior in content.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspirational #Pleasure #Materials

  • We are the eyes of the cosmos. So that in a way, when you look deeply into somebody's eyes, you are looking deeply into yourself, and the other person is looking deeply into the same self, which many-eyed, as the mask of Vishnu is many-faced, is looking out everywhere, one energy playing myriads of different parts.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Eye #Self #Energy

  • You know that if you get in the water and have nothing to hold on to, but try to behave as you would on dry land, you will drown. But if, on the other hand, you trust yourself to the water and let go, you will float. And this is exactly the situation of faith.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Faith #Letting Go #Hands

  • Nothing is more creative than death, since it has the whole secret of life. It means that the past must be abandoned, that the unknown cannot be avoided, that 'I' cannot continue, and that nothing can be ultimately fixed. When a man knows this, he lives for the first time in his life. By holding his breath, he loses it. By letting go he finds it.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Letting Go #Mean #Past

  • 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

    #Thinking #Numbers #People

  • Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Self Esteem #Humor #Deep Thought

  • Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Love #Sexy #Hippie

  • All that you see out in front of you is how you feel inside your head.
    -- Alan Watts

    #How You Feel #Feels

  • If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Real #Past #World

  • I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Love #Life #Relationship

  • The Tao belongs neither to knowing nor not knowing. Knowing is false understanding; not knowing is blind ignorance. If you really understand the Tao beyond doubt, it's like the empty sky. Why drag in right and wrong?
    -- Alan Watts

    #Ignorance #Sky #Knowing

  • You don't look out there for God, something in the sky, you look in you.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspirational #God #Sky

  • Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery -- the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets -- is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Secret #Together #Different

  • No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspirational #Fear #Heart

  • Inability to accept the mystic experience is more than an intellectual handicap.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Intellectual #Inability #Accepting

  • Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Motivational #Reality #Missing

  • We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Spiritual #Wisdom #Ocean

  • Imagine a multidimensiona l spider's web in the early morning covered with dew drops. And every dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops. And, in each reflected dew drop, the reflections of all the other dew drops in that reflection. And so ad infinitum. That is the Buddhist conception of the universe in an image.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Buddhist #Morning #Reflection

  • If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so. If this world is a vicious trap, so is its accuser, and the pot is calling the kettle black.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Black #Calling #World

  • Your body does not eliminate poisons by knowing their names. To try to control fear or depression or boredom by calling them names is to resort to superstition of trust in curses and invocations. It is so easy to see why this does not work. Obviously, we try to know, name, and define fear in order to make it “objective,” that is, separate from “I.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Order #Names #Knowing

  • The clash between science and religion has not shown that religion is false and science is true. It has shown that all systems of definition are relative to various purposes, and that none of them actually “grasp” reality.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Reality #Definitions #Purpose

  • 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

    #Journey #Heaven #Musical

  • Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal, for the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever....
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspiring #Forever #Gone

  • You can't live at all unless you can live fully now.
    -- Alan Watts

  • Man is a little germ that lives on an unimportant rock ball that revolves about a small star at the outskirts of an ordinary galaxy. ... I am absolutely amazed to discover myself on this rock ball rotating around a spherical fire. It's a very odd situation. And the more I look at things I cannot get rid of the feeling that existence is quite weird.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Stars #Men #Fire

  • When a man no longer confuses himself with the definition of himself that others have given him, he is at once universal and unique. He is universal by virtue of the inseparability of his organism from the cosmos. He is unique in that he is just this organism and not any stereotype of role, class, or identity assumed for the convenience of social communication.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Communication #Unique #Men

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

    #Inspiring #Ocean #Wave

  • 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

    #Life #Music #Symphony

  • 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 form the present. That now is the creative point of life. So you see its 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

    #Mean #Past #Thinking

  • By replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity we open ourselves up to an infinite stream of possibility. We can let fear rule our lives or we can become childlike with curiosity, pushing our boundaries, leaping out of our comfort zones, and accepting what life puts before us.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Mind Blowing #Curiosity #Comfort

  • As muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone, it could be argued that those who sit quietly and do nothing are making one of the best possible contributions to a world in turmoil.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Freedom #Water #Leaving

  • You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspirational #Life #Yoga

  • Many people never grow up. They stay all their lives with a passionate need for external authority and guidance, pretending not to trust their own judgment.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Growing Up #People #Needs

  • A priest once quoted to me the Roman saying that a religion is dead when the priests laugh at each other across the altar. I always laugh at the altar, be it Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist, because real religion is the transformation of anxiety into laughter.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Christian #Buddhist #Laughter

  • Jesus Christ knew he was God. So wake up and find out eventually who you really are. In our culture, of course, they’ll say you’re crazy and you’re blasphemous, and they’ll either put you in jail or in a nut house (which is pretty much the same thing). However if you wake up in India and tell your friends and relations, ‘My goodness, I’ve just discovered that I’m God,’ they’ll laugh and say, ‘Oh, congratulations, at last you found out.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Jesus #Congratulations #Crazy

  • That's a waste of time. If you really understand Zen... you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because... the sound of the rain needs no translation.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Rain #Book #Sound

  • What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspiring #Running #Stars

  • Everybody should do in their lifetime, sometime, two things. One is to consider death...to observe skulls and skeletons and to wonder what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up-never. That is a most gloomy thing for contemplation; it's like manure. Just as manure fertilizes the plants and so on, so the contemplation of death and the acceptance of death is very highly generative of creating life. You'll get wonderful things out of that.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Sleep #Acceptance #Two

  • But I'll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you'll come to understand that you're connected with everything.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspiring #Forests #Quiet

  • Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspiring #Way #Problem

  • And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words... As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning.
    -- Alan Watts

    #People #World #Want

  • But to me nothing - the negative, the empty - is exceedingly powerful.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Powerful #Power #Negative

  • Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Eye #Past #Reality

  • The source of all light is in the eye.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Eye #Light #Source

  • In looking out upon the world, we forget that the world is looking at itself.
    -- Alan Watts

    #World #Forget

  • 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

    #Mind #Needs

  • Of course, you can’t force your mind to be silent. That would be like trying to smooth ripples in water with a flatiron. Water becomes clear and calm only when left alone.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Water #Mind #Trying

  • If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you'll spend your life completely wasting your time. You'll be doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don't like doing, which is stupid.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Stupid #Order #Important

  • Increasingly, the world around us looks as if we hated it.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Looks #World #Environment

  • The real you is not a puppet that life pushes around, the real deep down you is the whole universe.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Real #Puppets #Real Deep

  • If a flower had a God it would not be a transcendental flower but a field.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Flower #Fields #Transcendental

  • Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Degrees #Measuring #Productivity

  • 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

    #Guilt #Mindfulness #May

  • You are the universe experiencing itself.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Eye Opening #Universe

  • The more we try to live in the world of words, the more we feel isolated and alone, the more all the joy and liveliness of things is exchanged for mere certainty and security. On the other hand, the more we are forced to admit that we actually live in the real world, the more we feel ignorant, uncertain, and insecure about everything.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Real #Insecure #Hands

  • You can make any human activity into meditation simply by being completely with it and doing it just to do it.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Meditation #Humans

  • There is no formula for generating the authentic warmth of love. It cannot be copied. You cannot talk yourself into it or rouse it by straining at the emotions or by dedicating yourself solemnly to the service ofmankind. Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself. This conviction will not come through condemnations, through hatingoneself, through calling self love bad names in the universe. It comes only in the awareness that one has no self to love.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Life #Frustration #Self

  • 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

    #Ideas #Matter #Certain

  • And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Attitude #Opposites #Belief

  • When we attempt to exercise power or control over someone else, we cannot avoid giving that person the very same power or control over us.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Exercise #Giving #Human Nature

  • The moralist is the person who tells people that they ought to be unselfish, when they still feel like egos, and his efforts are always and invariably futile.
    -- Alan Watts

    #People #Effort #Ego

  • Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspirational #Life #Buddhist

  • Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up... now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Inspiring #Sleep #Trying

  • A myth is an image in terms of which we try to make sense of the world.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Trying #World #Term

  • 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

    #Inspiring #Thinking #Our Society

  • Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Intelligent #Frustrated #Want

  • 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

    #Decision #Doe #Our Actions

  • There are two specific objections to use of psychedelic drugs.First,use of these drugs may be dangerous.Howev er,every worth-while exploration is dangerous-climb ing mountains,testi ng aircraft,rocket ing into outer space,or collecting botanical specimens in jungles.But if you value knowledge & the actual delight of exploration more than mere duration of uneventful life,you are willing to take the risks.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Two #Space #Risk

  • If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are “crying for the moon.” We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty, and to the best of our knowledge every one of us is going to suffer and die. If, then, we cannot live happily without an assured future, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen, and where death comes at the end.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Moon #Suffering #World

  • 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

    #Skills #Taoism #Perception

  • The reason we have poverty is that we have no imagination. There are a great many people accumulating what they think is vast wealth, but it's only money... they don't know how to enjoy it, because they have no imagination.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Money #Thinking #People

  • Omnipotence is not knowing how everything is done; it's just doing it.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Omnipotence #Knowing #Not Knowing

  • The only serious side-effect of #‎ ***** is that you might get arrested.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Marijuana #Might #Sides

  • And the more you become aware of the unknown self - if you become aware of it - the more you realize that it is inseparably connected with everything else that is.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Self #Realizing #Connected

  • The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Human Nature #Lifeless

  • But we try to pretend, you see, that the external world exists altogether independently of us.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Trying #World

  • When you get free from certain fixed concepts of the way the world is, you find it is far more subtle, and far more miraculous, than you thought it was.
    -- Alan Watts

    #Change #World #Way