Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This Is It: and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience by Alan w Watts

My reading this book was perfect timing for when i read it. It was just what i needed at the time. It's a collection of essays. I did get sort of a theme of commentary on dualism; especially with the mystic/sensualist, spiritualist/materialist part. My interpretation is he is commenting on the paradox of being in a "spiritual" or "mystical" state and balancing with the material world we see and can enjoy all around us. Especially interesting to me is the idea of these school of camps trying to get you to prescribe to a way of being of their choosing and having to choose one extreme over another, how there doesn't seem the option, but possible to be balancing on a fence in between. There doesn't seem as much acceptance, at least at that time, for such thinking, but I think a lot of us do, whether we realize it or not. Although I get an impression from him sometimes that he struggles quite a bit and may not be as stable as his persona (whether created by him or outside) portrays, I think he really gives a good inner dialog I/you can relate with.
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The Way of Zen by Alan Watts

 I see the Way of Zen not so much as an exposition of a secularized version of Zen Buddhism (or Eastern thought more generally), explained in a manner easily understood by Westerners (which it is), but more as an accoutrement to Eastern spiritual practices like meditation and other numinous experiences derived from Eastern thought. This book is easily as good as anything I've read on spirituality, and probably the very best. It is important to read between the lines in this book if the full benefit of the spiritual practices of the East is to be had. Whenever I read this book I am overcome by a profound feeling of the numinous, comparable to, but not quite reaching the highest hights of, the most profound spiritual experiences of my life. The best work of Alan Watts I have read to date, this book is highly recommended for anybody interested in Eastern spirituality.
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Become What You Are by Alan W. Watts

"Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. For the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever. . . . You may believe yourself out of harmony with life and its eternal Now; but you cannot be, for you are life and exist Now."—from Become What You Are

In this collection of writings, including nine new chapters never before available in book form, Watts displays the intelligence, playfulness of thought, and simplicity of language that has made him so perennially popular as an interpreter of Eastern thought for Westerners. He draws on a variety of religious traditions, and covers topics such as the challenge of seeing one's life "just as it is," the Taoist approach to harmonious living, the limits of language in the face of ineffable spiritual truth, and the psychological symbolism of Christian thought.
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The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan W. Watts

Alan Watts is an ex Episcopal priest who converted to Zen Buddhism and then to Taoism, and then sort of moved beyond both in his own way. The Wisdom of Insecurity is a book that was for me life-changing. It argues, among other things, that insecurity, indeterminacy, is the truth of existence, and that to cling to particular things as if they were eternal is to waste your time and strength. He says it far more eloquently than I can. If you are the kind of person who asks questions, this is a book for you.
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Monday, May 17, 2010

The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

This is one of those books that goes deep into the essence of the PERSONAL EGO. The way we look at the world and why we look at it with squinting eyes. This book literally opened up my mind to some new thoughts and at solidified some of my own ideas that I had been dwelling on for years. 
Its funny at times. But, Read it with no distractions around. Its only enjoyable if you can literally digest what the man is saying.

Youll never look at the world the same once youve read this book, and I mean that in a good way. 

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