What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy.Alan Watts
I adore Alan Watts. It can be hard, reading his work. The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are was one of the hardest books I have ever read. I had to read “The Book” multiple times in order to ACTUALLY read it, and my own guru (Hi Ralph, I know you’re reading this…heh) eventually explained to me that I wasn’t even SUPPOSED to really read the book from cover to cover in the “proper” order. It was a whole thing – we still joke about it, but “The Book” was absolutely a worthy read.
Another favorite work of mine from Alan Watts’ library is The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message For an Age of Anxiety. What keeps us from happiness, Watts argues, is our inability to fully inhabit the present.
The “primary consciousness,” the basic mind which knows reality rather than ideas about it, does not know the future. It lives completely in the present, and perceives nothing more than what is at this moment. The ingenious brain, however, looks at that part of present experience called memory, and by studying it is able to make predictions. These predictions are, relatively, so accurate and reliable (e.g., “everyone will die”) that the future assumes a high degree of reality — so high that the present loses its value.
But the future is still not here, and cannot become a part of experienced reality until it is present. Since what we know of the future is made up of purely abstract and logical elements — inferences, guesses, deductions — it cannot be eaten, felt, smelled, seen, heard, or otherwise enjoyed. To pursue it is to pursue a constantly retreating phantom, and the faster you chase it, the faster it runs ahead. This is why all the affairs of civilization are rushed, why hardly anyone enjoys what he has, and is forever seeking more and more. Happiness, then, will consist, not of solid and substantial realities, but of such abstract and superficial things as promises, hopes, and assurances.Alan Watts
Years before attempting “The Book,” but not before reading some of his other work and blurbs from him in blogs and other articles, I heard Alan Watts lecture (via an old recording that someone had shared to YouTube) and discovered the myriad of consciousness-expanding ideas that he taught in a whole new way – audio. As a human who experiences audio-tactile synesthesia (that’s a whole other blog, I think), hearing the information in that way, with what I find to be his comforting voice driving the messages home, made for an amazing experience…and I couldn’t wait to be able to use the audio (copyright and all that) with my own music – I wanted to pair it with alpha waves or create some sort of 8D experience with it.
The day has come. Actually, the day came a good while ago but I’ve not shared any of that here. Alas, here is one of my favorite of his talks – one about anxiety and why anxiety is pointless, for the most part – paired with alpha waves. I think it’s worth the listen – check it out below if you’re so inclined.
If you listen, what are your thoughts on his perspectives? I’d love to know…
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