Excerpts from Alan Watts’ Still the Mind (An Introduction to Meditation)
We fail to distinguish between the way things are and the way they are described.
One’s actual organic being is inseparable from the universe.
I found out that unless one has something to give people, there is nothing one can do to help them. Just because I thought I ought to help, it didn’t mean that I had anything to give.
The whole energy of the universe is coming at you and through you, and you are that energy.
You can only know what you can compare with something else.
What we call the past is simply the traces, the fade-outs trailing away from the present.
What you did yesterday becomes what you noticed yesterday, and what you noticed yesterday was a very tiny part of what happened. It was only as much as you could record in some memory code, in words or in brief impressions.
We want more control over what happens, and this leads us through a progression of steps. We start of course by attempting to acquire power in a physical way, through the possession of material wealth, historically of cattle, of slaves, of land, of crops. Then to retain all that and keep command over people’s minds, we construct societies to dole out this material wealth.
Religion in its first phase, however, is what we call “simple magic” and is typified by the attempt to control the world not by the violence of arms and muscular strength, but by hypnotizing it and enchanting it.
You can make any human activity into meditation simply by being completely with it and doing it just to do it.
We have gone through all the levels of religion until we arrive at the religion of nonreligion, where we can see that it was all here anyway and there was nothing that had to be done.
The purpose of life is not in the future.
“I feel the way I feel, and I can’t really do much about it.” The “I” that is supposed to be separate from and controlling the feeling is only imaginary.
What you are is the totality of this present experience. #
Inner and outer are really so mixed up with each other that there is no difference.
The whole happening that is going on — that is you. […]If there are some things you can’t accept, and you are fighting them, that fighting is part of the happening, too.
There is no hurry, and no place else to be. #
You find yourself once again tending to put names, words, descriptions on everything that you experience, and that’s not necessary.
None of this is under your control, but it is all definitely you. #
Your wandering thoughts are just happening. The buzz in the head is just happening. […] It isn’t happening to you, it is you happening. Meet your real self.
Wanting to overcome the mess and not have it anymore is precisely the mess. […] There is nothing anyone can do to be anyone else than who they are, or to feel any other way than the way they feel at this moment. […] There is no way of transforming yourself. The “you” that you imagine to be capable of transforming yourself does not exist.
(Your personality, your ego) is your image of yourself, and it is composed of what people have told you about yourself. Out of all this an ego emerges that is a conceptual expression of who you think you are. It is your thoughts about yourself.
The sensation that corresponds to the feeling of “I” is a chronic muscular tension in the body, which has absolutely no function whatsoever.
You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at itself and exploring itself. Just as the eyes serve the whole body, you serve the entire universe. #
You needn’t feel guilty because you feel guilty.
If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, you watch. You simply watch what is going on.
You can listen to all experiences, because all experiences of any kind are vibrations coming at you. As a matter of fact, you are these vibrations, and if you really feel what is happening, the awareness you have of you and of everything else is all the same.
You will only think that something is desperately important if you are afraid of losing it.
There is no experiencer separate from experience, and there is no one to get anything out of life, or therefore to get anything out of meditation.
Preaching is a kind of moral violence that excites people’s sense of guilt.
Meditation is the act of allowing one’s thoughts to cease. […] If I am never silent in my head, I will find myself living in a world of total abstraction divorced from reality altogether. […] Reality is simply the present moment.