Alan Watts Quotes

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  1. “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.― Alan W. Watts
    2. We think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.― Alan W. Watts
    3. “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”― Alan W. Watts
    4. “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 W. Watts
    5. “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”― Alan W. Watts
    6. Everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.― Alan W. Watts
    7. “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple.” – Alan W. Watts
    8. 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 W. Watts
    9. “You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”― Alan W. Watts
    10. “The menu is not the meal.” ― Alan W. Watts
    11. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”― Alan W. Watts
    12. 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 W. Watts
    13. “You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.”― Alan W. Watts
    14. “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 W. Watts
    15. “Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies.” – Alan W. Watts
    16. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.― Alan W. Watts
    17. “The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other.” – Alan W. Watts
    18. Be sensitive to each moment, regard it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.― Alan W. Watts
    19. “The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”― Alan W. Watts
    20. “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 W. Watts
    21. Once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.― Alan W. Watts
    22. “Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars.” – Alan Watts
    23. “A scholar tries to learn something every day; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily.”― Alan W. Watts
    24. “Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.” ― Alan W. Watts
    25. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of the big bang. – Alan W. Watts
    26. You’re not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe. – Alan Watts
    27. I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe. I know I’m that, too. But we’ve learned to define ourselves as separate from it. ― Alan W. Watts
    28. “Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present.” – Alan Watts
    29. “It is in the present and only in the present that you live.” – Alan Watts
    30. There is no other reality than present reality. – Alan Watts
    31. Even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly.― Alan W. Watts
    32. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are listening to an expanded present.― Alan W. Watts
    33. “Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command.” ― Alan W. Watts
    34. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. – Alan W. Watts
    35. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. – Alan Watts
    36. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. – Alan Watts
    37. “Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.” ― Alan W. Watts
    38. “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 W. Watts
    39. “What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously.” – Alan Watts
    40. “We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.” – Alan Watts
    41. Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.― Alan W. Watts
    42. “You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” ― Alan W. Watts
    43. “The world is filled with love-play, from animal lust to sublime compassion.” ― Alan W. Watts
    44. “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.” – Alan Watts
    45. “One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt.”― Alan W. Watts
    46. Real religion is the transformation of anxiety into laughter.― Alan W. Watts
    47. “To remain stable is to refrain from trying to separate yourself from a pain because you know that you cannot.” – Alan Watts
    48. Running away from fear is fear, fighting pain is pain, trying to be brave is being scared. – Alan Watts
    49. If the mind is in pain, the mind is pain. The thinker has no other form than his thought. There is no escape.― Alan W. Watts
    50. The complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.― Alan W. Watts
    51. “If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.”― Alan W. Watts
    52. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.― Alan W. Watts
    53. 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 W. Watts
    54. The desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. – Alan W. Watts
    55. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beat.― Alan W. Watts
    56. 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 W. Watts
    57. “There is nothing at all that can be talked about adequately, and the whole art of poetry is to say what can’t be said.”― Alan W. Watts
    58. “I am what happens between the maternity ward and the Crematorium”― Alan W. Watts
    59. The dread of death is also learned from their anxieties about sickness and from their attitudes to
    funerals and corpses. – Alan Watts
    60. Our social environment has this power just because we do not exist apart from a society. Society is our extended mind and body. – Alan Watts
    61. Society as we now know it is therefore playing a game with self-contradictory rules.― Alan W. Watts
    62. What we have to discover is that there is no safety, that seeking is painful, and that when we imagine that we have found it, we don’t like it.― Alan W. Watts
    63. “[W]ords can be communicative only between those who share similar experiences.” ― Alan W. Watts
    64. Like too much alcohol, self-consciousness makes us see ourselves double, and we make the double image for two selves – mental and material. – Alan Watts
    65. Faith is, above all, openness – an act of trust in the unknown.― Alan W. Watts
    66. “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 W. Watts
    67. “I find that the sensation of myself as an ego inside a bag of skin is really a hallucination.” ― Alan W. Watts
    68. “Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe. ”― Alan W. Watts
    69. Not hurrying, the purposeless life misses nothing, for it is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world.― Alan W. Watts
    70. “Real travel requires a maximum of unscheduled wandering.” – Alan Watts
    71. There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy. – Alan Watts
    72. Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now.― Alan W. Watts
    73. 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 W. Watts
    74. “People become concerned with being more humble than other people.”― Alan W. Watts
    75. 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 W. Watts
    76. No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.― Alan W. Watts
    77. “Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself.” ― Alan W. Watts
    78. “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.” – Alan Watts
    79. “Past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.”― Alan W. Watts
    80. “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.” – Alan Watts
    81. “Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.” ― Alan W. Watts
    82. “Jesus was not the man he was as a result of making Jesus Christ his personal savior.” ― Alan W. Watts
    83. “The source of all light is in the eye.” ― Alan W. Watts
    84. “You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with great telescopes.” ― Alan W. Watts
    85. You live in the eternal now and you are that. It is rally extremely simple, and that is the way it is.― Alan W. Watts
    86. A mind that is single and sincere is not interested in being good, in conducting relations with other people so as to live up to a rule. —Alan W. Watts
    87. Your desires are limitless and no one can tell how to deal with you. Nothing satisfies an individual incapable of enjoyment.― Alan W. Watts
    88. To try to control fear or depression or boredom by calling them names is to resort to superstition of trust in curses and invocations. – Alan Watts
    89. Obviously, we try to know, name, and define fear in order to make it “objective,” that is, separate from “I.” ― Alan W. Watts
    90. 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. — Alan Watts
    91. As Lao-tzu said, “The scholar gains every day, but the Taoist loses every day.” ― Alan W. Watts
    92. “The morning glory which blooms for an hour differs not at heart from the giant pine, which lives for a thousand years.” ― Alan W. Watts
    93. Life moves along like water, it’s all connected to the source of the river is connected to the mouth and the ocean.” ― Alan W. Watts
    94. If this world is a vicious trap, so is its accuser, and the pot is calling the kettle black.― Alan W. Watts
    95. “I owe my solitude to other people.” ― Alan W. Watts
    96. “Our pleasures are not material pleasures, but symbols of pleasure – attractively packaged but inferior in content.” ― Alan W. Watts
    97. “The art of meditation is a way of getting into touch with reality.” – Alan W Watts
    98. We confuse money with actual wealth.― Alan W. Watts
    99. So you see it’s like the idea of forgiving somebody, you change the meaning of the past by doing that. – Alan Watts
    100. The present is always changing the past.― Alan W. Watts
    101. “The religious idea of God cannot do full duty for the metaphysical infinity.― Alan W. Watts
    102. What is always the source of the world is the present; the past doesn’t explain a thing. – Alan Watts
    103. The past trails behind the present like the wake of a ship and eventually disappears.― Alan W. Watts
    104. “The religious idea of God cannot do full duty for the metaphysical infinity.”― Alan W. Watts
    105. “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.” – Alan Watts
    106. “No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart.” – Alan Watts
    107. “No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”― Alan W. Watts
    108. “Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love.” – Alan Watts
    109. Nirvana is a radical transformation of how it feels to be alive — Alan Watts
    110. Nirvana it feels as if everything were myself, or as if everything—including “my” thoughts and actions—were happening of itself. —Alan Watts
    111. “You cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it.” – Alan Watts
    112. “In looking out upon the world, we forget that the world is looking at itself.” ― Alan W. Watts
    113. “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.” – Alan Watts
    114. The greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.― Alan W. Watts
    115. “For every individual is a unique manifestation of the Whole, as every branch is a particular outreaching of the tree.” – Alan Watts
    116. Differentiation is not separation.― Alan W. Watts
    117. Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination. – Alan Watts
    118. Instead of being a body, man ‘has’ a body. Instead of living and loving he ‘has’ instincts for survival and copulation.― Alan W. Watts
    119. “The more we try to live in the world of words, the more we feel isolated and alone.” – Alan Watts
    120. “It is hard indeed to notice anything for which the languages available to us have no description.” ― Alan W. Watts
    121. To be silent is not to lose your tongue. On the contrary, it is only through silence that one can discover something new to talk about. – Alan Watts
    122. One who talked incessantly, without stopping to look and listen, would repeat himself ad nauseam. – Alan Watts
    123. Thinking itself, open to the discovery of anything new, for its only novelties are simply arrangements of old words and ideas.” ― Alan W. Watts
    124. “If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp.” — Alan Watts
    125. “Do not let the rapidity with which these thoughts can change deceive you into feeling that you think them all at once.” ― Alan W. Watts
    126. “You will never get to the irreducible definition of anything because you will never be able to explain why you want to explain, and so on.” – Alan Watts
    127. “What we see as death, empty space, or nothingness is only between the crests of this endless waving ocean.” – Alan Watts
    128. Yet just as there is no time but the present, and no one except the all-and-everything.- Alan Watts
    129. “Playing a violin is, after all, only scraping a cat’s entrails with horsehair.” ― Alan W. Watts
    130. “Just as money is not real, consumable wealth, books are not life. To idolize scriptures is like eating paper currency.” ― Alan W. Watts
    131. There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering. ― Alan W. Watts
    132. Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. ― Alan W. Watts
    133. The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. ― Alan W. Watts
    134. 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. ― Alan W. Watts
    135. You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean. ― Alan W. Watts
    136. We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain. ― Alan W. Watts
    137. What the devil is the point of surviving, going on living, when it’s a drag? But you see, that’s what people do. ― Alan W. Watts
    138. No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now. ― Alan W. Watts
    139. 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 W. Watts
    140. 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 W. Watts
    141. 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 W. Watts
    142. Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything. ― Alan W. Watts
    143. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. ― Alan W. Watts
    144. The only Zen you’ll find on mountain tops is the Zen you bring up there with you. ― Alan W. Watts
    145. You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here. ― Alan W. Watts
    146. To be free from convention is not to spurn it but not to be deceived by it. ― Alan W. Watts
    147. The more we struggle for life (as pleasure), the more we are actually killing what we love. ― Alan W. Watts
    148. Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself. ― Alan W. Watts
    149. Parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing, and as we figure the world out we become confused if we do not remember this all the time. ― Alan W. Watts
    150. Every individual is a unique manifestation of the Whole, as every branch is a particular outreaching of the tree. ― Alan W. Watts
    151. What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself. ― Alan W. Watts
    152. There is no formula for generating the authentic warmth of love. It cannot be copied. ― Alan W. Watts
    153. Total situations are, therefore, patterns in time as much as patterns in space. ― Alan W. Watts
    154. We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” ― Alan W. Watts
    155. Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way. ― Alan W. Watts
    156. To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. ― Alan W. Watts
    157. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be. ― Alan W. Watts
    158. You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing. ― Alan W. Watts
    159. The menu is not the meal. ― Alan W. Watts
    160. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. ― Alan W. Watts
    161. The greater part of human activity is designed to make permanent those experiences and joys which are only lovable because they are changing. ― Alan W. Watts
    162. Philosophy is man’s expression of curiosity about everything and his attempt to make sense of the world primarily through his intellect. ― Alan W. Watts
    163. 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 W. Watts
    164. Parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing, and as we figure the world out we become confused if we do not remember this all the time. ― Alan W. Watts

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