A little Alan Watt’s time.
Since he died in his sleep in 1973 at the age of fifty-eight, Watt’s interpretation of Eastern spirituality has continued to resonate with Western seekers. Although he read and studied widely and traveled the world interacting with some of the twentieth century’s most influential minds (D.T. Suzuki, John Cage, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and poet Gary Snyder, among them), Watts would be the first to say that, most importantly, he was on a de-conditioning mission. I like the expression de-conditioning, it resonates with me! 🙂
Here’s one of my favourite Alan Watt’s quotes.
“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.” – From The book, The Essential Alan Watts.
“This is therefore to say that the transformation of human consciousness through meditation is frustrated so long as we think of it as something that I by myself can bring about, by some sort of wangle, by some sort of gimmick. Because, you see, it leads to endless games of spiritual one-up-man-ship. And of guru competition. Of my guru being more effective than your guru. My yogas are faster than your yoga. I am more aware of myself than you are. I am humbler than you are. I am sorrier for my sins than you are. I love you more than you love me. There’s this interminable goings on where people fight and wonder whether they are a bit more evolved than somebody else and so on.
“All that can just fall away. And then we get this strange feeling that we’ve never had in our lives except occasionally by accident. Some people get a glimpse that we are no longer this poor little stranger and afraid in a world it never made. But that you are this universe. And you are creating it at every moment. Because you see, it starts now. It didn’t begin in the past. There was no past. If the universe began in the past, when that happened it was now. But it is still now and the universe is still beginning now and it’s trailing off like the wake of a ship from now and as the wake of the ship fades out, so does the past. You can look back there to explain things but the explanation disappears. You will never find it there. Things are not explained by the past. They’re explained by what happens now. That creates the past. And it begins here.
‘That’s the birth of responsibility. Because otherwise you can look over your shoulder and say, ‘Well, I am the way I am because my mother dropped me. And she dropped me because she was neurotic because her mother dropped her.’ and we go way way back to Adam and Eve or to a disappearing monkey or something.We never get at it. But in this way you are faced with that you’re doing all this. And that’s an extraordinary shock.
‘So cheer up! You can’t blame anyone else for the kind of world you’re in… And if you know, you see, that the I — in the sense of the person, the front, the ego — it really doesn’t exist, then it won’t go to your head too badly if you wake up and discover that you’re god.”
– Alan Watts