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To Awaken & Come to Your Senses, You Have To Go Out Of Your Mind

To Awaken & Come to Your Senses, You Have To Go Out Of Your Mind
To Awaken & Come to Your Senses, You Have To Go Out Of Your Mind
To Awaken & Come to Your Senses, You Have To Go Out Of Your Mind

“When one speaks of awakening, it means de-hypnotization – coming to your senses. But, of course, to do that, you have to go out of your mind.”

Perhaps more than any other teacher in the West, Alan Watts was responsible for igniting the passion of countless wisdom seekers to the spiritual and philosophical delights of Asia and India. Alan Watts wrote more than 25 books, including such classics as “The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are” and “This Is It: and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience.” Below is the transcript from “Out of Your Mind: Essential Listening from the Alan Watts Audio Archives” by Alan Watts

Session 3 recorded in the late 1960s – 

Alan Watts “Seeing Beyond Our Separateness”

We have been educated to use our minds in a certain way; a way that ignores or screens out the fact that every one of us is an aperture through which the whole Cosmos looks out. You see it’s as if you had a light covered with a black ball, and in this ball were pin holes, and each pinhole is an aperture through which the light comes out. So in that way everyone of us is actually a pinhole, through which the fundamental light, that is the existence itself looks out. Only the game we’re playing is not to know this. To be only that hole which we call, “me, my ego, my specific John Jones, or whatever.”

If however, you see, we can maintain at the same time, the sense of being this specific John Jones with his role in life or whatever, and know also underneath this that we are the whole works, you get a very marvelous and agreeable arrangement. This is a most remarkable harmoniousness. I mean it gives one’s life a great sense of joy and exuberance – if you can carry on these two things at once.

If you, in other words, you know that all the serious predicaments of life are a game. Now I want to put it two ways: I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, something to be condemned, to take your own individual life seriously in dead earnest and have all the problems that go with that.
Do you understand that being that way, that being a real mixed up human being, is a manifestation of nature that is something just like the patterns on the waves out here or like a seashell?
You know we pick up shells – I always keep one around, sort of an example for many things, and say, ‘My goodness, isn’t that gorgeous! There is not an aesthetic fault in it anywhere. It is absolutely perfect.’

Now I wonder if these fish look at each other’s shells and say “Don’t you think she’s kind of fat? Oh my, those markings aren’t really very well-spaced.” Because that’s what we do; see, we don’t realize that all of us in our various goings-on and behavior, are more marvelous, much more complicated, much more interesting.

All these gorgeous faces that I am looking at. You know every one of them some are supposedly pretty, some are supposedly not so pretty; but they are all absolutely gorgeous and everybody’s eyes is a piece of jewelry beyond compare. Beautiful!

But we have specialized in a certain kind of awareness that makes us neglectful of that. You see, we specialize in more or less briefly concentrated, pinpoint attention. We look at this and we look at that, and we select from all the things we might possibly be aware of only certain things. And as a result of that we leave out of our everyday consciousness, generally speaking two dimensions of experience; one, amazing beauty of experience that we never see all, and on the other hand the very deep thing, the sense of our basic identity, unity with, oneness with, the total process of being.
See, because we are staring, as it were, at certain features of the landscape, we don’t see the background, and because we get fascinated with – you know I could go into details of the shell as I said and put myself in the mind of a conch or whatever it is that lives in this thing, and to say “Hmmm. That’s not so hot that one.” It’s like that. And so I wouldn’t see the whole thing, but when I look at it like this – when anybody looks at it like that, we say, Oh my God, isn’t that gorgeous!”

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