45 Alan Watts Quotes

“A myth is an image in terms of which we try to make sense of the world.”

“And 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.”

“And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on.”

“Buddhism has in it no idea of there being a moral law laid down by some kind of cosmic lawgiver.”

“At any rate, the point is that God is what nobody admits to being, and everybody really is.”

“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.”

“The attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.”

“To me nothing – the negative, the empty – is exceedingly powerful.”

“But we try to pretend, you see, that the external world exists altogether independently of us.”

“Faith is a state of openness or trust.”

“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.”

“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.”

“I owe my solitude to other people.”

“If you study the writings of the mystics, you will always find things in them that appear to be paradoxes, as in Zen, particularly.”

“In known history, nobody has had such capacity for altering the universe than the people of the United States of America. And nobody has gone about it in such an aggressive way.”

“In other words, 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.”

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

“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”

“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.”

“Omnipotence is not knowing how everything is done; it’s just doing it.”

“Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.”

“Religion is not a department of life; it is something that enters into the whole of it.”

“Saints need sinners.”

“So the bodhisattva saves all beings, not by preaching sermons to them, but by showing them that they are delivered, they are liberated, by the act of not being able to stop changing.”

“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.”

“So what is discord at one level of your being is harmony at another level.”

“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.”

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

“The difficulty for most of us in the modern world is that the old-fashioned idea of God has become incredible or implausible.”

“The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“The reason we want to go on and on is because we live in an impoverished present.”

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

“The style of God venerated in the church, mosque, or synagogue seems completely different from the style of the natural universe.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“Wars based on principle are far more destructive… the attacker will not destroy that which he is after.”

“We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.”

“We identify in our experience a differentiation between what we do and what happens to us.”

“What the devil is the point of surviving, going on living, when it’s a drag? But you see, that’s what people do.”

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

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

“You don’t look out there for God, something in the sky, you look in you.”

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”

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