75 Quotes by Alan Watts

Alan Watts was a British philosopher, writer, and speaker who is best known for popularizing Eastern philosophy and spirituality in the West during the 1960s and 70s. He wrote over 25 books and gave countless lectures on subjects ranging from Zen Buddhism to the nature of consciousness. Watts had a unique ability to explain complex philosophical concepts in a clear and accessible way, making his teachings widely popular and influential. Today, many people continue to find inspiration and guidance in his work. (Bio)

Alan Watts Quotes

The myths underlying our culture and underlying our common sense have not taught us to feel identical with the universe, but only parts of it, only in it, only confronting it - aliens. (Meaning)

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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. (Quote Meaning)

The attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on. (Meaning)

Buddhism has in it no idea of there being a moral law laid down by somekind of cosmic lawgiver. (Quote Meaning)

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

You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with great telescopes. (Quote Meaning)

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. (Meaning)

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. (Quote Meaning)

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. (Meaning)

You don't look out there for God, something in the sky, you look in you. (Quote Meaning)

Wars based on principle are far more destructive... the attacker will not destroy that which he is after. (Meaning)

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. (Quote Meaning)

Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe. (Meaning)

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The difficulty for most of us in the modern world is that the old-fashioned idea of God has become incredible or implausible. (Quote Meaning)

Religion is not a department of life; it is something that enters into the whole of it. (Meaning)

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. (Quote Meaning)

The style of God venerated in the church, mosque, or synagogue seems completely different from the style of the natural universe. (Meaning)

We identify in our experience a differentiation between what we do and what happens to us. (Quote Meaning)

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes. (Meaning)

Unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax. (Quote Meaning)

Omnipotence is not knowing how everything is done; it's just doing it. (Meaning)

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

The relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself. (Meaning)

Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command. (Quote Meaning)

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. (Meaning)

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The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention. (Quote Meaning)

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. (Meaning)

Faith is a state of openness or trust. (Quote Meaning)

God is what nobody admits to being, and everybody really is. (Meaning)

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. (Quote Meaning)

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth. (Meaning)

A myth is an image in terms of which we try to make sense of the world. But we try to pretend, you see, that the external world exists altogether independently of us. (Quote Meaning)

Saints need sinners. (Meaning)

The religious idea of God cannot do full duty for the metaphysical infinity. (Quote Meaning)

Some believe all that parents, tutors, and kindred believe. They take their principles by inheritance, and defend them as they would their estates, because they are born heirs to them. (Meaning)

What is discord at one level of your being is harmony at another level. (Quote Meaning)

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. (Meaning)

No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now. (Quote Meaning)

I owe my solitude to other people. (Meaning)

The attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be. (Quote Meaning)

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance (Meaning)

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.

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

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.

Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be

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.

No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen.

You are the universe experiencing itself.

We see what we believe rather than what we see.

Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.

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.

Insecurity is the result of trying to be secure.

If we are unduly absorbed in improving our lives we may forget altogether to live them.

Everything in the world is gloriously meaningless.

All that you see out in front of you is how you feel inside your head.

If you love a person, you say to that person, "Look, I love you, whatever that may be. I've seen quite a bit of it and I know there's lots that I haven't seen, but still it's you and I want you to be what you want to be. And I won't be happy if I've got you in a cage. You'd be a bird without song."

You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.

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

The 'you' who you think you are does not exist.

You must not be afraid of playing wrong notes. Just forget it, play it wrong! But play!

The destination of life is this eternal moment.

You, yourself, are the eternal energy which appears as this Universe. You didn't come into this world; you came out of it. Like a wave from the ocean.

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

What keeps us from happiness is our inability to fully inhabit the present

Stay in the center, and you will be ready to move in any direction.

There is a deep, peaceful calm in the dawning of a new day.

The sound of the rain needs no translation.

By going out of your mind, you come to your senses

When a man no longer confuses himself with the definition of himself that others have given him, he is at once universal and unique.

The mundane and the sacred are one and the same.

You can't get wet from the word 'water.'

We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain. (Quote Meaning)

― Alan Watts Quotes

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Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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