100 Enlightening Alan Watts Quotes – Inspirational!

100 Enlightening Alan Watts Quotes – Inspirational!

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Alan Watts was born on 6 January 1915 was a British philosopher, writer, and speaker. He was popular for sharing the Eastern culture of Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism with the Western audience. Alan Watts was known for spreading Eastern philosophy in the West via his books, lectures and radio appearances.

His life story includes becoming an Anglican priest, blending Christianity with Eastern mysticism, experimenting with psychedelics, teaching Zen, as well as becoming a Fellow at Harvard University.

Alan Watts is credited as one of the foremost scholars to bring Eastern philosophies to a Western audience.

He wrote over 25 books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, higher consciousness, the meaning of life, and many more.

Watts famously described himself as a “philosophical entertainer.”

Today I share with you 100 enlightening Alan Watts quotes. I hope they inspire you as much as they did me.

 

 

100 Enlightening Alan Watts Quotes – Inspirational!

 

Alan Watts Quotes

100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes

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

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

“Stay in the centre, and you will be ready to move in any direction.”
― Alan Watts,

“The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.”
― Alan Watts, Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown

“When you find out that there was never anything in the dark side to be afraid of … Nothing is left but to love.”
― Alan Watts

“Genuine love comes from knowledge, not from a sense of duty or guilt.”
― Alan Watts, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“We know that from time to time, there arise among human beings, people who seem to exude love as naturally as the sun gives out heat.”
― Alan Watts,

“Only doubtful truths need defence.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity

“I am what happens between the maternity ward and the Crematorium”
― Alan Watts

“You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.”
― Alan Watts

 

Alan Watts Quotes On Love

100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes

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

“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. Though moving, it is always still. When we try to catch it, it seems to run away, and yet it is always here and there is no escape from it. And when we turn around to find the self which knows this moment, we find that it has vanished like the past.”
― Alan Watts

“Playing the violin is, after all, only scraping a cat’s entrails with horsehair.”
― Alan Watts, What Is Tao?

“Look, here is a tree in the garden and every summer is produces apples, and we call it an apple tree because the tree “apples.” That’s what it does. Alright, now here is a solar system inside a galaxy, and one of the peculiarities of this solar system is that at least on the planet earth, the thing peoples! In just the same way that an apple tree apples!”
― Alan Watts

“He who thinks that God is not comprehended, by him, God is comprehended; but he who thinks that God is comprehended knows him not. God is unknown to those who know him, and is known to those who do not know him at all.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity

“Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.”
― Alan Watts

“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 Watts

“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 Watts, The Essential Alan Watts

“Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.”
― Alan Watts

 

Alan Watts Quotes On Life

100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes

“In reality there are no separate events. Life moves along like water, it’s all connected to the source of the river is connected to the mouth and the ocean.”
― Alan Watts, The Essential Alan Watts

“Philosophers, for example, often fail to recognize that their remarks about the universe apply also to themselves and their remarks. If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so.”
― Alan Watts

“Just as true humour is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge
of oneself.”
― Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“There was a young man who said though, it seems that I know that I know, but what I would like to see is the I that knows me when I know that I know that I know.”
― Alan Watts

“If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so. If this world is a vicious trap, so is its accuser, and the pot is calling the kettle black.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

“We feel that our actions are voluntary when they follow a decision and involuntary when they happen without decision. But if a decision itself were voluntary every decision would have to be preceded by a decision to decide – An infinite regression which fortunately does not occur. Oddly enough, if we had to decide, we would not be free to decide”
― Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

“Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command.”
― Alan Watts

“Like too much alcohol, self-consciousness makes us see ourselves double, and we make the double image for two selves – mental and material, controlling and controlled, reflective and spontaneous. Thus, instead of suffering we suffer about suffering, and suffer about suffering.”
― Alan Watts

“Suppressing the fear of death makes it all the stronger. The point is only to know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that “I” and all other “things” now present will vanish, until this knowledge compels you to release them – to know it now as surely as if you had just fallen off the rim of the Grand Canyon. Indeed, you were kicked off the edge of a precipice when you were born, and it’s no help to cling to the rocks falling with you. If you are afraid of death, be afraid. The point is to get with it, to let it take over – fear, ghosts, pains, transience, dissolution, and all. And then comes the hitherto unbelievable surprise; you don’t die because you were never born. You had just forgotten who you are.”
― Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“To look at life without words is not to lose the ability to form words- to think, remember, and plan. 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. One who talked incessantly, without stopping to look and listen, would repeat himself ad nauseam.
It is the same with thinking, which is really silent talking. It is not, by itself, open to the discovery of anything new, for its only novelties are simply arrangements of old words and ideas.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

 

Best Alan Watts Quotes

100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes

“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, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“But you cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it. Indeed, you cannot grasp it, just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket. If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed, for in the bucket the water does not run. To “have” running water you must let go of it and let it run.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity

“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

“I owe my solitude to other people.”
― Alan Watts

“Most of us assume as a matter of common sense that space is nothing, that it’s not important and has no energy. But as a matter of fact, space is the basis of existence. How could you have stars without space? Stars shine out of space and something comes out of nothing just in the same way as when you listen, in an unprejudiced way, you hear all sounds coming out of silence. It is amazing. Silence is the origin of sound just as space is the origin of stars, and woman is the origin of man. If you listen and pay close attention to what is, you will discover that there is no past, no future, and no one listening. You cannot hear yourself listening. You live in the eternal now and you are that. It is rally extremely simple, and that is the way it is.”
― Alan Watts

“Jesus was not the man he was as a result of making Jesus Christ his personal saviour.”
― Alan Watts

“Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.”
― Alan Watts

“Like love, the light or guidance of truth that influences us exists only in living form, not in principles or rules or expectations or advice, however widely circulated”
― Alan Watts

“The source of all light is in the eye.”
― Alan Watts

“a man does not really begin to be alive until he has lost himself until he has released the anxious grasp which he normally holds upon his life, his property, his reputation, and position.”
― Alan Watts, Become What You Are

 

Alan Watts Quotes On Death

100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes

“You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with great telescopes.”
― Alan Watts

“People become concerned with being more humble than other people.”
― Alan Watts, Still the Mind: An Introduction to Meditation

“In looking out upon the world, we forget that the world is looking at itself.”
― Alan Watts

“Our pleasures are not material pleasures, but symbols of pleasure – attractively packaged but inferior in content.”
― Alan Watts

“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 Watts

“The clash between science and religion has not shown that religion is false and science is true. It has shown that all systems of definition are relative to various purposes and that none of them actually “grasp” reality.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

“For there is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one cannot live anywhere.”
― Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

“The more we try to live in the world of words, the more we feel isolated and alone, the more all the joy and liveliness of things is exchanged for mere certainty and security. On the other hand, the more we are forced to admit that we actually live in the real world, the more we feel ignorant, uncertain, and insecure about everything.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

“It is hard indeed to notice anything for which the languages available to us have no description.”
― Alan Watts

“To remain stable is to refrain from trying to separate yourself from a pain because you know that you cannot. Running away from fear is fear, fighting pain is pain, trying to be brave is being scared. If the mind is in pain, the mind is pain. The thinker has no other form than his thought. There is no escape.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

 

Alan Watts Quotes On Happiness

100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes

“Just as money is not real, consumable wealth, books are not life. To idolize scriptures is like eating paper currency.”
― Alan Watts

“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, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning.”
― Alan Watts

“I find that the sensation of myself as an ego inside a bag of skin is really a hallucination.”
― Alan Watts

“We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.”
― 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, The Way of Zen

“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

“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.”
― Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.”
― Alan Watts

“But 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.”
― 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

 

Alan Watts Quotes On Change

100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes

“Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of 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.”
― Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

“The world is filled with love-play, from animal lust to sublime compassion.”
― Alan Watts

“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 Watts

“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, the Vishnu Lila, Lila meaning play. And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance — lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt”
― Alan Watts, Zen, and the Beat Way

“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 Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

“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

“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 Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

“So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.”
― Alan Watts

“Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery — the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets — is this: 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 Watts

 

Alan Watts Quotes On Dream

100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes

“Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries on and on, and misses everything. 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 Watts

“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 Watts

“…Words can be communicative only between those who share similar experiences.”
― Alan Watts,

“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.”
― Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“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.”
― Alan Watts, The Essential 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, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

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

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

“Instant coffee, for example, is a well–deserved punishment for being in a hurry to reach the future.”
― Alan Watts, Does It Matter?

“Nothing fails like success—because the self-imposed task of our
society and all its members is a contradiction: to force things to happen
which are acceptable only when they happen without force.”
― Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

 

Alan Watts Inspirational Quotes

100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes

“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

“Do not let the rapidity with which these thoughts can change deceive you into feeling that you think them all at once.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

“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

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

“The menu is not the meal.”
― 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

“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”
― 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

“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 Culture of Counter-Culture: Edited Transcripts

“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

 

Alan Watts Quotes On Time

100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes

“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.”
― Alan Watts

“The religious idea of God cannot do full duty for the metaphysical infinity.”
― Alan Watts

“We think that the world is limited and explained by its past. We tend to think that what happened in the past determines what is going to happen next, and we do not see that it is exactly the other way around! What is always the source of the world is the present; the past doesn’t explain a thing. The past trails behind the present like the wake of a ship and eventually disappears.”
― Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

“What we see as death,
empty space, or nothingness is only the trough between the crests of this
endlessly waving ocean. It is all part of the illusion that there should
seem to be something to be gained in the future, and that there is an
urgent necessity to go on and on until we get it. Yet just as there is no
time but the present, and no one except the all-and-everything, there is
never anything to be gained—through the zest of the game is to pretend
that there is.”
― Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“I have no other self than the totality of things of which I am aware.”
― Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

“Society is our extended mind and body.”
― Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“Human desire tends to be insatiable.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity

“To travel is to be alive, but to get somewhere is to be dead, for as our own proverb says, “To travel well is better than to arrive.”
― Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

“Belief clings, but faith lets go.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

“Naturally, for a person who finds his identity in something other than his full organism is less than half a man. He is cut off from complete participation in nature. Instead of being a body, he ‘has’ a body. Instead of living and loving he ‘has’ instincts for survival and copulation.”
― Alan Watts

 

100 Enlightening Alan Watts Quotes – Final thought

I hope you have enjoyed these Alan Watts Quotes – but more, that perhaps they can impact your life the way they’ve impacted mine. Is there any you would like to add? Please comment below.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years!

If you have any questions please reach out to me via adam@adam-lawrence.org. I would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

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100-Enlightening-Alan-Watts-Quotes


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