Alan Watts has been a big influence in my evolution from a frightened, insecure humanoid to one who now feels connected to everyone and everything, including my life purpose.
Unlike many Zen Buddhists and philosophers, Watt’s had a rare ability to explain his wisdom simply and to cut through layers of delusion.
In this passage Watt’s talks about the common separation that is created by the thinking mind, and how this manifests in obsession of past and future, which means we all miss the whole point of life. The meaning of life is this very moment. Now…. And NOW…… and now…. and now.. This could get tedious.
Enjoy the episode!
Don’t like to listen? Read the passage below…
“So long as the mind is split, life is perpetual conflict, tension, frustration, and disillusion. Suffering is piled on suffering, fear on fear, and boredom on boredom. The more the fly struggles to get out of the honey, the faster he is stuck. Under the pressure of so much strain and futility, it is no wonder at all that men seek release in violence and sensationalism, and in the reckless exploitation of their bodies, their appetites, their material world, and their fellow men. What this must add to the necessary and unavoidable pains of existence is incalculable.
But the undivided mind is free from this tension of trying always to stand outside oneself and to be anywhere than here and now. Each moment is lived completely, and there is thus a sense of fulfillment and completeness. The divided mind comes to the dinner table and pecks at one dish after another, rushing on without digesting anything to find out better than the last. It finds nothing good, because there is nothing which it really tastes.
When, on the other hand, you realize that you live in, indeed are this moment now, and no other, that apart from this there is no past and no future, you must relax and taste to the full, whether it be pleasure or pain. At once it becomes obvious why this universe exists, why conscious beings have been produced, why sensitive organs, why space, time, and change. The whole problem of justifying nature, of trying to make life mean something in terms of its future, disappears utterly. Obviously, it all exists for this moment. It is a dance, and when you are dancing you are not intent on getting somewhere. You go round and round, but not under the illusion that you are pursuing something, or fleeing from the jaws of hell….
The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance. Like music, also, it is fulfilled in each moment of the course. You do not play a sonata in order to reach the final chord, and if the meaning of things were simply in ends, composers would write nothing but finales….
When each moment becomes an expectation life is deprived of fulfillment, and death is dreaded for it seems that here expectation must come to an end. While there is life there is hope — and if one lives on hope, death is indeed the end. But to the undivided mind, death is another moment, complete like every moment, and cannot yield its secret unless lived to the full.
Death is the epitome of the truth that in each moment we are thrust into the unknown. Here all clinging to security is compelled to cease, and wherever the past is dropped away and safety abandoned, life is renewed. Death is the unknown in which all of us lived before birth.
Nothing is more creative than death, since it is the whole secret of life. It means that the past must be abandoned, that the unknown cannot be avoided, that “I” cannot continue, and that nothing can be ultimately fixed. When a man knows this, he lives for the first time in his life. By holding his breath, he loses it. By letting it go he finds it.”
Let me know what you think of the passage in the comments below!