Dancing With Alan Watts

It seems sometimes, in a Judaeo-Christian society, that we are a constantly being scrutinized by a rather harsh all-knowing God who rewards getting the faith-words accurately correct, to the letter, and the faith-based actions perfect, without a single mistake. And He punishes missteps of word or deed with pain and suffering and the potential of an eternity in Sheol or Hell. And that is a tough God to live with. He is like a teacher who uses his or her God-like powers to reward or punish to lead his students all down an exacting, narrow path to a destination that does not have room for everyone when they arrive.

It doesn’t take long in childhood for a highly intelligent person to realize before childhood is over that this cosmology is actually a load of horse pucky. It didn’t even take long for somebody as semi-stupid as me.

What I like about listening on YouTube to the wisdom of Alan Watts is that he gives us an alternative way of seeing the universe and ourselves. This he can offer through his studies of Eastern and Buddhist philosophies. Everything appealing in John Lennon’s signature song “Imagine” comes from Lennon’s love of listening to the lectures of Alan Watts. He is obviously a wise-guy.

Alan Watts teaches us the pathways that lead to finding yourself, who you truly are, and how you fit into the universe as a whole. When Carl Sagan says that we are all made of star-stuff, he is not only telling us what is literally true, as the elements our bodies were formed from were literally made in the nuclear forges at the centers of stars that later exploded in nova-bursts to scatter the elements across the skies of everywhere. He is also telling us that what Alan Watts says is metaphorically true, that everything in the universe is part of the same thing and we are all one in this way.

There is plenty to worry about in my little life. I could easily drop dead at any time from any one of my six incurable diseases or even the return of the skin cancer I beat in 1983. I suffer from the consequences of disease daily, as I have for many years now. My sins are many. I broke my promise the other day to never show you the horrors of my naked body on this blog. I constantly eat the wrong thing and continue to do things that I know are bad for the environment and the health of my body. I am prejudiced against racists, stupidity, and the actions of dedicated Trump-lovers. In many ways I deserve God’s wrath and brutal correction. I have come to truly believe that climate change is going to end life on Earth. I am horrible.

But I have learned from Alan Watts that all of those concerns mean nothing. I don’t believe in Heaven or an afterlife. But I do not fear death. I am one with the universe. And the universe goes on even if I do not. And I will always be a part of it, even after I am no longer alive. The universe has a mind and is intelligent And I take part in that because one small part of that intelligence is me, and lives in my head.

There is comfort to be found in the words of Alan Watts. And living in pain as I do, I really need that comfort most of the time. That is why I have attempted to share a bit of that comfort with you.

7 Comments

Filed under artists I admire, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, finding love, foolishness, healing, health, humor, Paffooney, philosophy

7 responses to “Dancing With Alan Watts

  1. I’ll have to look at some of the videos later… But I pretty much agree with your description of how he/you see it. The funny thing is that I think that it lends evidentiary proof both for and against the main stream beliefs in the main stream religions. The universe is an intelligence in and of itself… God or Allah, anyone? Call it an afterlife or whatever, but we continue to exist in some form after we “die”. If our soul/intellect does transfer back to a higher consciousness, then Heaven or Hell are artifacts of the shape our intellect was in at the time of departure.
    Now all the stuff about worship and living a certain way is just that… stuff. I’ve always considered church and worship a human-invented thing. I never have understood how a benevolent all-caring god would have a problem with someone who doesn’t go to church or pray five times a day.
    Don’t get me wrong. I see no real problem with such rituals. It is a means for the average “Joe” to achieve some level of comfort about how he fits into the grand scheme of things. If those rituals and ways of thinking helps him to feel good about life and live a decent life, then more power to him. I just don’t perceive it as a requirement to be accepted by that which is more than us.
    The death thing and fear… I don’t think I fear death, either. I have a survival instinct, and I want to live as long as possible. If I have a fear per se, it’s a fear of the unkown, I suppose. I have always questioned things… even my own beliefs. I think that is because they are just that… beliefs… not facts. I don’t discount the supernatural or the spiritual. But I question it. So, my inability to observe and comprehend the “greater meaning” creates a bit of doubt. And doubt begets a bit of fear, I suppose. That unknown quantity/fact that seals the deal, if you will. I think that is not a bad thing, so long as it does not prevent a continued search for answers and willingness to accept things on faith… to some degree.
    Good post.

    • Thank you. I don’t usually write about spiritual things because my blog is intended to be humorous and I am not comfortable making fun of religions. Like you I am tolerant of the beliefs so many need to cling to. That is their thing, not mine. I have reached the point in life that I am much closer to the last chapter than I am to the first. I have never feared the ending of a good book.

  2. I love AW and listen to his lectures to soothe me often. Ive learnt so much over the years and hope this finds its way into my work – enjoy life for its duality and love always

  3. I assume you have read Desiderata?

    https://www.desiderata.com/desiderata.html

    I am rather partial to Deteriorata myself.

    • Yes. I both love and live Desiderata
      But I like the satire too. Any religious belief that can’t withstand a little comedic commentary can’t be in any way worthwhile. Alan Watts’s sense of humor is the best thing about his teachings.

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