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The Collected Letters of Alan Watts

Alan Watts

Top 10 Best Quotes

“There is simply no problem of life; it is absolutely purposeless play; it doesn't have to continue; there is no reason whatever to explain it, for explanations are just another form of complexity, a new manifestation of life on top of life, gestures gesturing. If there is any problem at all it is to find out how people come to think there is a problem, whatever made them imagine that life is serious. Basically there is the gesture. Time, space, multiplicity are all complications of it. Pain and suffering are very far-out forms of play, and there just isn't anything at all to be afraid of. There isn't any ego. The ego is a kind of flip, knowing that you know — like being afraid of being afraid. It's a curlicue, an extra jazz to things, a sort of double take or reverberation, a dithering of consciousness which is the same as anxiety.”

“as Aldous Huxley says, “news items, mutually irrelevant bits of information, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but merely create a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas.”

“Recollection — or the practice of the presence of God. The ideal is to have this running constantly through the day. The point is not to try to feel God’s presence but to recollect that, like the present moment, you cannot get away from it even if you try.”

“if ultimate Reality is not a machine the only other thing it can be is a living Being.”

“You do not want to be God to the annihilation of your own individuality, for then there would be no “you” to enjoy being God.”

“To get rid of what is passed on to you, you have to develop a forgettory instead of a memory.”

“Thus a Buddhist text says, “If the accumulation of false imaginations is cleared away, Enlightenment will appear. But the strange thing is that when people gain Enlightenment they realize that without false imaginations there could be no Enlightenment.”

“Sometimes I get the queerest feeling that things going on in the world around one, are in some odd way reflections of things happening in the depths of one’s own mind. It is almost as if the world gets calm as you keep calm yourself, and vice versa.”

“Once upon a time there was a lunatic who used to pass the time by sitting in a corner and beating himself on the head with a brick. When asked the reason for this interesting behavior he replied, “Well, it feels so pleasant when I stop.”

“Nor do I want to tell her just what I think of it in so many blunt words, because this would be uncharitable, and it might be knocking away a valuable stepping-stone to something better.”

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Book Keywords:

suffering, time, fear, consciousness, pain, ego, play, anxiety

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