These are the top 5 most insightful, beautiful, thought-provoking and elegantly stated Alan Watts quotes. Alan Watts was a theologian who studied Zen Buddhism extensively and melded it, along with psychedelic insight, with traditional Christianity. Alan Watts was one of the most interesting philosophical and religious figures of the West, and gleaning insight from his quotes is highly worthwhile.
“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 Quotes
Alan Watts agreed with the conclusion that most major minds who have studied or directly experienced metaphysical phenomena come to: that we are one, that everything in the universe is connected, not abstractly, but literally, and we deny ourselves the bright future we have in our potential by giving into fear that leads to conflict, hate and cycles of trauma.
He, also, in line with Buddhist teachings, emphasizes looking within. The whole universe is within you, just as it is without.
“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 Quotes
So many people subscribe to rigidity and dogma. You may think of those as religious terms, but we see them every day in political ideologies, fandoms, human instinctual tribalism, and even bureaucracy. The state of the natural world is chaos and infinity; the human mind requires order for sanity, but in reality, the truth is far more bizarre and wondrous than you could ever imagine.
“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 Quotes
In the 21st century, we’re still repressed because we fear one another’s judgment and we fear political or social reprisal for revealing our true selves. In truth, we have nothing to be ashamed of by being ourselves and if we truly embraced radical honesty, we would find we’re not alone and those most inclined to judge are often the most insecure.
“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 Quotes
You come and go as a wave, a natural occurrence. Therefore you shouldn’t fear life, nor should you fear death. After all, the rain does not fear the sunshine, nor does summer fear spring. To understand your connectedness with all things is important; but also it is important to understand the nature of your own impermanence, and the natural beauty of your own lifespan, just as waves crashing along the shore.
“To be free from convention is not to spurn it but not to be deceived by it.” – Alan Watts Quotes
Try to imagine a period of history where conventional wisdom was not supremely and irredeemably flawed; also try to imagine a period of history where the public had the self-awareness to acknowledge their extraordinary capacity to be wrong. It can’t be done; and so, to, is it foolish to assume the conventional wisdom of today is correct.
We are surrounded by flaws: the cult of consumerism that teaches us that it is virtuous to own more things and to buy products; the doctrine of militarism that multilateral governments subscribe to in order to decide how to distribute resources, territory and influence; the arbitrary tribal affiliations that separate us into competing groups; the stunting of our evolution by pathologizing differences of thought and personality; the fledgling online justice system that calls back to archaic mobs and stonings. The list goes on and on. Even if we cannot yet change these things, we can start by seeing past them.
That about does it for the top 5 Alan Watts quotes. Be sure to check out the Philosophy & Spirituality Section for more articles like this.