Who the heck is Alan Watts?

Alan Wilson Watts was a British-American philosopher who brought Eastern philosophy to the masses in the West. His mos famous book is The Way of Zen.

Books by Alan Watts

Quotes by Alan Watts

“A scholar tries to learn something everyday; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily.”

Alan Watts

“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”

Alan Watts

“But my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.”

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

“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

“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

“It’s 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

“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”

Alan Watts

“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”

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

“Other people teach us who we are. Their attitudes to us are the mirror in which we learn to see ourselves, but the mirror is distorted. We are, perhaps, rather dimly aware of the immense power of our social environment.”

Alan Watts

“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.”

Alan Watts

“The art of living is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”

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

“The menu is not the meal.”

Alan Watts

“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”

Alan Watts

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

Alan Watts

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”

Alan Watts

“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

“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

“To see the light, it is only necessary to stop dreaming and open the eyes.”

Alan Watts

“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

“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

“Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.”

Alan Watts

“We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.”

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

“We try to pretend that the external world exists altogether independently of us.”

Alan Watts

“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

“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 Watts

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”

Alan Watts