Alan Watts: Life is, or could be, music!

I remember being astonished, back in 1973, as I sat in the small audience at New College of California, to witness our speaker, Alan Watts, compose complex musical sentences out of thin air.

His being felt calm, still, centered. So different from my striving, righteous, polarizing 30-year-old self. I had just been hired to teach philosophy at that young, small, experimental college. My attitude got me fired after only one year —thank the gods! — and hurtled me into a massive psychological and spiritual crisis/opportunity. (New College closed in 2008.)

Even more amazing, I listened in awe as Watts spinned his spontaneous remarks out with the same grace and elegance as his words appeared on paper. Clearly, this man was whole, and he lived what he taught.

Here are a few quotes, followed by a video.

“You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”

“This is the 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.”

“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.”

And finally, my favorite, which speaks to the division that I was experiencing at that time:

“To know that you are God is another way of saying that you feel completely with this universe. You feel profoundly rooted in it and connected with it.

“You feel, in other words, that the whole energy, which expresses itself in the galaxies, is intimate. It is not something to which you are a stranger, but it is that with which you, whatever that is, are intimately bound up. That in your seeing your hearing your talking your thinking your moving, you express that which it is that moves the sun and other stars.

And if you don’t know that,

if you don’t feel that,

well naturally you feel alien,

you feel a stranger in the world.

“And if you feel a stranger you feel hostile, and therefore you start to bulldoze things about, to beat it up and to try to make the world submit to your will, and you become a real troublemaker.”



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