145+ EXCLUSIVE Alan Watts Quotes To Blow Your Mind

With countless essays, over 25 books, and nearly 400 lectures, Alan Watts quotes will make you more aware of yourself and your world. There are a lot of topics such as the meaning of life, love, death, higher consciousness, the true nature of reality and the pursuit of happiness.

Who is Alan Watts?

Alan Wilson Watts (6 January 1915 – 16 November 1973) was a British-American philosopher, an author, a poet, a radical thinker, an ex-priest, a mystic, a teacher, and a critic of society. He interpreted and popularized Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.

If you’re searching for the best life quotes by wise people to share with the people you love (or just want to feel inspired yourself) … look no further! From deep Dr. Seuss Quotes, inspirational Maya Angelou Quotes, and Buddha Quotes, you will find top of greatest sayings.

Top 10 Alan Watts Quotes

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

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth. – Alan Watts

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

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

No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now. – Alan Watts

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

wisest and most inspirational quotes by Alan Watts

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes. – Alan Watts

You don’t look out there for God, something in the sky, you look in you. – Alan Watts

most famous alan watts quotes

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

But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be. – Alan Watts

Best Alan Watts Quotes

Iconic Alan Watts quotes will change your life. Also, Confucius quotes and Dalai Lama quotes will help you become more aware of yourself and your surroundings.

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

Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the Gods made for fun. – Alan Watts

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

Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. – Alan Watts

You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself. – Alan Watts

alan watts quotes waking up

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

A scholar tries to learn something everyday; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily. – 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

Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way. – Alan Watts

One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt. – Alan Watts

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

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

Words can be communicative only between those who share similar experiences. – 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

alan watts quotes life is not a journey

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

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

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

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

It is hard indeed to notice anything for which the languages available to us have no description. – 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

Society is our extended mind and body. – Alan Watts

We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain. – Alan Watts

Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal, for the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever…. – Alan Watts

alan watts quotes

There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering. – Alan Watts

Every individual is a unique manifestation of the Whole, as every branch is a particular outreaching of the tree. – Alan Watts

If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death. – Alan Watts

When you get free from certain fixed concepts of the way the world is, you find it is far more subtle, and far more miraculous, than you thought it was. – 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 art of living … is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive. – Alan Watts

There is always something taboo, something repressed, un-admitted, or just glimpsed quickly out of the corner of one’s eye because a direct look is too unsettling. Taboos lie within taboos, like the skin of an onion. – Alan Watts

alan watts quotes about zen

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

We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal 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. We do not realize 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 which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.

If you really understand Zen… you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because… the sound of the rain needs no translation. – 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

Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly. – Alan Watts

Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything. – Alan Watts

Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. – Alan Watts

The sense of wrong is simply failure to see where something fits into a pattern, to be confused as to the hierarchical level upon which an event belongs. – Alan Watts

alan watts quotes awakening

The answer to the problem of suffering is not away from the problem but in it. The inevitability of pain will not be met by deadening sensitivity but by increasing it, by exploring and feeling out the manner in which the natural organism itself wants to react and which its innate wisdom has provided. – Alan Watts

The only Zen you’ll find on mountain tops is the Zen you bring up there with you. – Alan Watts

You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here. – Alan Watts

Inspirational Alan Watts Quotes

Meaningful Alan Watts quotes will improve the quality of your own life. Also, Robin Williams quotes will open your eyes to new things and make you want to become the very best version of yourself.

To be free from convention is not to spurn it but not to be deceived by it. – Alan Watts

The more we struggle for life (as pleasure), the more we are actually killing what we love. – Alan Watts

Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself. – Alan Watts

Life and love generate effort, but effort will not generate them. Faith in life, in other people, and in oneself, is the attitude of allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time. – Alan Watts

alan watts quotes the meaning of life

Here is the vicious circle: if you feel separate from your organic life, you feel driven to survive; survival -going on living- thus becomes a duty and also a drag because you are not fully with it; because it does not quite come up to expectations, you continue to hope that it will, to crave for more time, to feel driven all the more to go on. – Alan Watts

Parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing, and as we figure the world out we become confused if we do not remember this all the time. – Alan Watts

What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself. – Alan Watts

There is no formula for generating the authentic warmth of love. It cannot be copied. – Alan Watts

alan watts quotes about yourself

The problem comes up because we ask the question in the wrong way. We supposed that solids were one thing and space quite another, or just nothing whatever. Then it appeared that space was no mere nothing, because solids couldn’t do without it. But the mistake in the beginning was to think of solids and space as two different things, instead of as two aspects of the same thing. The point is that they are different but inseparable, like the front end and the rear end of a cat. Cut them apart, and the cat dies. – Alan Watts

Total situations are, therefore, patterns in time as much as patterns in space. – Alan Watts

There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins. Look at my watch, which tells the time; it goes round, and so the world repeats itself again and again. – 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

To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. – Alan Watts

alan watts quotes about freedom and magic

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 things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. – 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

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

The menu is not the meal. – Alan Watts

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. – Alan Watts

alan watts quotes about attitude of faith

You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet. – Alan Watts

The greater part of human activity is designed to make permanent those experiences and joys which are only lovable because they are changing. – Alan Watts

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. – Alan Watts

Philosophy is man’s expression of curiosity about everything and his attempt to make sense of the world primarily through his intellect. – 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

greatest alan watts quotes

The sure foundation upon which I had sought to stand has turned out to be the center from which I seek. – Alan Watts

One solitary fact or thing cannot exist by itself, since it would be infinite—without delineating limits, without anything other. Now, this essential duality and multiplicity of facts should be the clearest evidence of their interdependence and inseparability. – Alan Watts

It is as necessary to have air, water, plants, insects, birds, fish, and mammals as it is to have brains, hearts, lungs, and stomachs. The former is our external organs in the same way that the latter are our internal organs. – Alan Watts

The physical world—clouds, mountains, humans—is wiggly. When you try to pick up a fish with your bare hands, it wiggles and slips out. What do you do? You use a net. And the net is the basic thing we have for getting hold of the wiggly world. And then somehow we think we understand when we have translated it into terms of straight lines and squares. But it doesn’t fit in nature. – Alan Watts

Solidity is a neurological invention, and, I wonder, can the nerves be solid to themselves? Where do we begin? Does the order of the brain create the order of the world, or the order of the world the brain? – Alan Watts

alan watts quotes about love

This is where the world begins. Only you’re not doing it by straining. A ‘you’ deeper than the ‘straining you’ is doing all of this. The same you that is growing your hair, coloring your eyes, and making your thumbprints. You don’t think about it. You don’t strain muscles to do it. But that is what is creating the world. – 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

Famous Alan Watts Quotes on Life And Happiness

Wise Alan Watts quotes can show you some of his most important philosophies regarding living a fulfilling, happy life.

You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game and that there is no separate you to get something out of it as if life were a bank to be robbed. The only real you is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For you is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new. – 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 morning glory which blooms for an hour differs not at heart from the giant pine, which lives for a thousand years. – Alan Watts

Stay in the center, and you will be ready to move in any direction. – Alan Watts

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

best of amazing alan watts quotes

For unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax. There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy. When your plans mature, you will still be living for some other future beyond. You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, ‘Now, I’ve arrived!’ Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now. – Alan Watts

The centipede was happy, quite, Until a toad in fun Said, Pray, which leg goes after which? This worked his mind to such a pitch, He lay distracted in a ditch, Considering how to run. – 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

I have no other self than the totality of things of which I am aware. – Alan Watts

For there is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one cannot live anywhere. – Alan Watts

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

For man seems to be unable to live without myth, without the belief that the routine and drudgery, the pain and fear of this life have some meaning and goal in the future. At once new myths come into being – political and economic myths with extravagant promises of the best of futures in the present world. These myths give the individual a certain sense of meaning by making him part of a vast social effort, in which he loses something of his own emptiness and loneliness. Yet the very violence of these political religions betrays the anxiety beneath them – for they are but men huddling together and shouting to give themselves courage in the dark. – Alan Watts

inspiring 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

You see, for all life is an act of faith and an act of gamble. The moment you take a step, you do so on an act of faith because you don’t really know that the floor’s not going to give under your feet. The moment you take a journey, what an act of faith. The moment that you enter into any kind of human undertaking in relationship, what an act of faith. – Alan Watts

What happens if you know that there is nothing you can do to be better? It’s kind of a relief, isn’t it? You say ‘Well, now what do I do?’ When you are freed from being out to improve yourself, your own nature will begin to take over. – Alan Watts

We can see that the eternal is the transient, for the changing panorama of sense experience is not just a sum of appearing and disappearing things; it is a stable pattern or relationship manifested as, and by, transient forms. – Alan Watts

inspirational alan watts quotes

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

Thought is a means of concealing the truth, despite the fact that it’s an extraordinarily useful faculty. – Alan Watts

When you know that you have to go with the river, suddenly you acquire—behind everything that you do—the power of the river. – Alan Watts

A proper exposition of Zen should ‘tease us out of thought, and leave the mind lie an open window instead of a panel of stained glass. – Alan Watts

You are all Vishnu playing that you’re in this mess, which is part of the cosmic dance. So, if that’s the case, dig it! You see? I mean, get with it! Be that! – Alan Watts

How can truth be known if it can never be defined? Zen would answer: by not trying to grasp or define it. – Alan Watts

When you get to a deep ethical problem—where there is no easy decision on way or the other—you must look at the problem from the point of view of an artist. Which way of doing this is, in some sense, greater? It may be better to go off with a bang than a whimper. – Alan Watts

Alan Watts Quotes On Death and The Universe

It’s one of the great wonders of life: What will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up? And if you think long enough about that, something will happen to you. You will find out, among other things, that it will pose the next question to you: What was it like to wake up after never having gone to sleep? That was when you were born. You see, you can’t have an experience of nothing. Nature abhors a vacuum. – Alan Watts

When you die, you don’t have to deal with everlasting nonexistence because that’s not an experience. – 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

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

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

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. – Alan Watts

We need to recognize the physical reality of the relationship between organisms as having as much ‘substance’ as the organisms themselves, if not more. – 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

Deep Alan Watts Quotes On love and Relationships

But this is the most powerful thing that can be done: surrender. See. And love is an act of surrender to another person. – 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

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

I found in personal relations of this kind a very wonderful rule: that you never, never show false emotions. You don’t have to tell people exactly what you think ‘in no uncertain terms,’ as they say. But to fake emotions is destructive, especially in family matters and between husbands and wives or between lovers. – Alan Watts

The consequences of fake love are almost invariably destructive, because they build up resentment on the part of the person who does the fake loving, as well as on the part of those who are its recipients. – Alan Watts

The essential point is to consider love as a spectrum. There is not, as it were just nice love and nasty love, spiritual love and material love, mature affection on the one hand and infatuation on the other. These are all forms of the same energy. And you have to take it and let it grow where you find it. – Alan Watts

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

One of the peculiar things we notice about people who have this astonishing universal love is that they are often apt to play it rather cool on sexual love. The reason is that for them an erotic relationship with the external world operates between that world and every single nerve ending. Their whole organism — physical, psychological, and spiritual — is an erogenous zone. Their flow of love is not channeled as exclusively in the genital system as is most other people’s. This is especially true in a culture such as ours, where for so many centuries that particular expression of love has been so marvelously repressed as to make it seem the most desirable. We have, as a result of two thousand years of repression. It’s not always the right place for it. – Alan Watts

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

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

To live, and to love, you have to take risks. There will be disappointments and failures and disasters as a result of taking these risks. But in the long run it will work out. – Alan Watts

People, of course, tend to distinguish between various kinds of love. There are ‘good’ kinds, such as divine charity, and there are allegedly ‘bad’ kinds, such as ‘animal lust.’ But they are all forms of the same thing. They relate in much the same way as the colors of the spectrum produced by the passing light through a prism. We might say that the red end of the spectrum of love is Dr. Freud’s libido, and the violet end of the spectrum of love is agape, the divine love or divine charity. In the middle, the various yellows, blues, and greens are as friendship, human endearment, and consideration. – Alan Watts

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

There are quotes by Marilyn Monroe, and Bob Marley quotes which will make you think and see everything in a new perspective.

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