37 Alan Watts Quotes To Inspire Your Life

Sometimes also referred to as American scholar of Zen, Alan Watts was born on 6th January 1915.  He had written over 25 books in his life and was a well-known lecturer and a creative writer. Alan Watts quotes have become a quick piece of advice for many of the budding writers. At a very early age, he started to learn more about Buddhism and was mostly inclined towards writings by D.T.Suzuki. Just at the young age of 15 he rejected Christianity and declared to follow Buddhism. A lot of his work revolved around Christianity, Zen, Psychotherapy, and religion in general.

Alan Watts was able to make a significant impact in the Westerners with his writing on Zen spirituality. Alan Watts has always encouraged social ethics over personal ones. He had even criticized writers in his book for not devoting to Zen practice. He died at the age of 58 on his return from a European lecture tour. He was taking treatment for his heart condition, and he died in his sleep. Here are the best Alan Watts quotes to inspire your life.

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

2. 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

3. 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

4. And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words… As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning. – Alan Watts

5. 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

6. To travel is to be alive, but to get somewhere is to be dead, for as our own proverb says, “To travel well is better than to arrive. – Alan Watts

7. 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

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

9. 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

10. Society is our extended mind and body. – Alan Watts quotes

11. 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

12. Man aspires to govern nature, but the more one studies ecology, the more absurd it seems to speak of any one feature of an organism, or of an organism/environment field, as governing or ruling others. – Alan Watts

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

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

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

16. Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery — the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets — is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together. – Alan Watts

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

18. 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

19. Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself. – Alan Watts

20. Indeed, one of the highest pleasures is to be more or less unconscious of one’s own existence, to be absorbed in interesting sights, sounds, places, and people. Conversely, one of the greatest pains is to be self-conscious, to feel unabsorbed and cut off from the community and the surrounding world. – Alan Watts

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

22. The more we try to live in the world of words, the more we feel isolated and alone, the more all the joy and liveliness of things is exchanged for mere certainty and security. On the other hand, the more we are forced to admit that we actually live in the real world, the more we feel ignorant, uncertain, and insecure about everything. – Alan Watts

23. A priest once quoted to me the Roman saying that a religion is dead when the priests laugh at each other across the altar. I always laugh at the altar, be it Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist, because real religion is the transformation of anxiety into laughter. – Alan Watts

24. 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. – Alan Watts

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

26. 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

27. 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

28. Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present. – Alan Watts

29. The morning glory which blooms for an hour differs not at heart from the giant pine, which lives for a thousand years. – Alan Watts

30. 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

31. 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

32. 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

33. 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. – Allan Watts

34. 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. 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

35. 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

36. 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

37. I find that the sensation of myself as an ego inside a bag of skin is really a hallucination. – Alan Watts

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Nakul Grover

Nakul Grover, author of Superhuman In You and the one who runs this blog. He has been writing on self-improvement since 2014. Featured on various websites, his works have helped thousands of people to live an extraordinary life. He loves spending his leisure hours in reading books and learning new skills.