Philosopher, writer and speaker Alan Watts could be considered as one of the greatest teachers when it comes to learning the importance of the present moment. Throughout his life, he extolled the virtues of appreciating ‘the now’ because, according to Watts, that is simply ‘all there is’.
Take a look at some of his most inspiring quotes and you’ll soon see why his words have provided comfort and enlightenment to so many throughout the decades.
We seldom realise, 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.
Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.
This is this 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, realise it is play.
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.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
We are living in a culture entirely hypnotised by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation.
I have realised that the past and the future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.
Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, or between well and badly arranged constellations.
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.
We do not realise that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world that actually is.
Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.
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. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.
Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new version of the world. Faith is, above all, openness – an act of trust in the unknown.
photo credit: april-mo <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/35541543@N08/30146386260″>Zen sunset-photomontage</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>