In his early thirties, Alan Watts (January 6, 1915–November 16, 1973) walked away from a career as an Episcopal priest and set out to popularize Zen teachings in the West. His singular fusion of secular philosophy and Eastern spirituality guided, and continues to guide, the openhearted and open-minded toward figuring out how to live with presence,make sense of reality, master the art of timing, and become who we really are.
Overall Alan Watts developed an extensive audio library of nearly 400 talks and wrote more than 25 books during his lifetime, including his final volume, Tao; the Watercourse Way. Alan died in his sleep in November of 1973 after returning from an intensive international lecture tour.
What did not die were his teachings and lessons through his extraordinary life made to teach us the path of spirituality in a whole different scales and levels.
The next 24 Alan Watts Quotes will surely make you question the whole spiritual existence.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.
4. Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
10. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.
11. A myth is an image in terms of which we try to make sense of the world.
12. You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.
13. No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.
14. Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command.
15. You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with great telescopes.
16. Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.
17. We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.
18. The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention.
19. We identify in our exerience a differentiation between what we do and what happens to us.
20. Saints need sinners.
21. Wars based on principle are far more destructive… the attacker will not destroy that which he is after.
22. The reason we want to go on and on is because we live in an impoverished present.
23. And although our bodies are bounded with skin, and we can differentiate between outside and inside, they cannot exist except in a certain kind of natural environment.
24. If you study the writings of the mystics, you will always find things in them that appear to be paradoxes, as in Zen, particularly.