When you want to improve the quality of your own life it’s often best to model yourself from a wise teacher, and quotes by Alan Watts are a terrific start! These Alan Watts quotes will open your eyes to new things and make you want to become the very best version of yourself.
Watts was a world-renowned author, speaker, and philosopher, well known for interpreting the beliefs of the East with the way we live in the West.
Alan wrote over 25 books and is best known for his bestselling classic, “The Way to Zen”.
These Alan Watts quotes represent some of his most important philosophies regarding living a successful, happy life. We recommend analyzing these quotes and absorbing their wisdom.
We recommend viewing some of his speeches and reading his books.
Simply type in “Alan Watts Youtube” in Google or “Alan Watts books.” He bridged the east and the west by informing people about some of the East’s best philosophies regarding living and has helped thousands of people improve the quality of their life.
When you read Alan Watts quotes, watch his videos or read his books you will be inspired by his views on essential truths about life.
For me, it’s so powerful how his work with so many ancient texts is still so relevant to today’s modern life. Whether you’re a teacher, lawyer, secretary or entrepreneur; we can benefit from the wise and powerful words of Alan Watts!
Don’t forget to also read our collection of C.S. Lewis quotes.
Alan Watts Quotes about Life, Human Nature & Love
1. “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” – Alan Watts
Sometimes we just have to let time do it’s thing. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to leave it alone and not put any energy into it.
2. “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.” – Alan Watts
Fire cannot burn fire. Water cannot get itself wet. The thing cannot define the thing. It will always be extremely difficult for us to define ourselves, since we are always changing, learning, experiencing and growing.
Alan Watts quotes on love
3. “What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.” – Alan Watts
All the systems of nature work perfectly. Nothing rushed, nothing judged…but yet, it all works perfectly. Every single time. You are nature and you work perfectly!
4. “We seldom realize, for example, that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.” – Alan Watts
Many of our thoughts, habits and behaviors are passed down from our family, society and culture. Before we take ownership of certain traits and thoughts, let’s be mindful of what is really ‘ours’.
Alan Watts quotes on life and nothingness
5. “But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.” – Alan Watts
When we turn off the TV, cell phone and other distractions; we can see, feel and hear all the natural life around us. We are a part of that life. It’s what we were born into.
Alan Watts quotes on time and money
6. “If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid.” – Alan Watts
Don’t be afraid to hop off the hamster wheel. If you love what you do and you earn a living with it – you are living the dream! If you hate your job and are just in it for the money, it might be time to reevaluate how you spend 40-60 hours of your life a week.
7. “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” – Alan Watts
Having faith doesn’t mean having control. Having faith means letting go and still believing it will all work out!
8. “Philosophy is man’s expression of curiosity about everything and his attempt to make sense of the world primarily through his intellect.” – Alan Watts
Without a guiding belief of how things work, it becomes difficult to put meaning to things. The meaning we put to things is much more important than the thing itself.
Also check out these insightful William Blake quotes for the creative soul.
Alan Watts quotes about play and time
9. “This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” – Alan Watts
When we engage deeply in our work, it is no longer work. When we have a singular focus on the present – everything is alive, everything is fun.
10. “The menu is not the meal.” – Alan Watts
We’ve all been to restaurants that have an outstanding menu and below average food. Talk is cheap. Don’t let your life fall into that trap!
11. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts
Stop trying to figure change out and just go with it! See where it takes you.
Alan Watts quotes about time
12. “You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.” – Alan Watts
I love this one. We are all a part of something much bigger than ourselves. Let’s live accordingly!
13. “The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.” – Alan Watts
Life is constant change. Life is full of ups and downs. Life is always moving. Anything else is dead.
Alan Watts quotes on dreams
14. “Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.” – Alan Watts
I really love this one, too! What would life be like if we were asleep, unconscious and a money chasing zombie the whole time? Now, what would life be like, to live consciously, awake…and stay that way!
Alan Watts quotes on love and the stars
15. “Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
Stop trying to label and judge. Peace is when we are able to accept (and find the beauty in) things the way they are.
16. “A scholar tries to learn something everyday; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily.” – Alan Watts
The way of Buddha is to let go.
Alan Watts quotes on life
17. Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.” – Alan Watts
The better the question, the better the answer.
18. “When we attempt to exercise power or control over someone else, we cannot avoid giving that person the very same power or control over us.” – Alan Watts
When we give someone all that time and energy, we also give them our power.
19. “But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.” – Alan Watts
Faith = the art of letting go.
20. “No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” – Alan Watts
Everything we want to do right, needs to come from a place of good intentions and close attention to the present.
Alan Watts quotes about love
21. “So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.” – Alan Watts
We can only love ourselves for who we are, when we love ourselves for who we are not.
22. “Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command.” – Alan Watts
23. “Love is not something that is a sort of rare commodity, everybody has it.” – Alan Watts
24. “Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself.” – Alan Watts
Alan Watts Quotes on balance, perception and the universe
25. “Everything that happens, everything that I have ever done, everything that anybody else have ever done is part of a harmonious design, that there is no error at all.” – Alan Watts
26. “You can only be on the in in relation to something that is out.” – Alan Watts
27. “The positive cannot exist without the negative.” – Alan Watts
28. “We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.” – Alan Watts
29. “We notice only what we think noteworthy, and therefore our visions highly selective.” – Alan Watts
30. “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” ― Alan W. Watts
31. “You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.” ― Alan W. Watts
More Inspirational Alan Watts Quotes
32. Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.– Alan Watts
33. “To be free from convention is not to spurn it but not to be deceived by it.” – Alan Watts
34. I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is. – Alan Watts
35. The problem is to overcome the ingrained disbelief in the power of winning nature by love, in the gentle (ju) way (do) of turning with the skid, of controlling ourselves by cooperating with ourselves. – Alan Watts
36. “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” – Alan W. Watts
37. “Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.” – Alan W. Watts
38. “What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.” – Alan Watts
39. “Much of the secret of life consists in knowing how to laugh, and also how to breathe.”- Alan W. Watts
40. “Words can be communicative only between those who share similar experiences.” – Alan W. Watts
41. If you cannot trust yourself, you cannot even trust your mistrust of yourself – so that without this underlying trust in the whole system of nature you are simply paralyzed. – Alan W. Watts
Alan Watts quotes that will open your mind
42. “How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.” – Alan W. Watts
43. “Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe. – Alan W. Watts
44. “In the more intimate sphere of personal life, the problem is the pain of trying to avoid suffering and the fear of trying not to be afraid.” – Alan W. Watts
45. “Our pleasures are not material pleasures, but symbols of pleasure – attractively packaged but inferior in content.” – Alan W. Watts
46. “People who exude love are apt to give things away. They are in every way like rivers; they stream. And so when they collect possessions and things they like, they are apt to give them to other people. Because, have you ever noticed that when you start giving things away, you keep getting more?” – Alan W. Watts
47. “Your soul is not in your body; your body is in your soul.” – Alan W. Watts
48. “Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.” – Alan Watts
49. “We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.” ― – Alan W. Watts
50. “Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything.” – Alan W. Watts
Thought-provoking Alan Watts quotes
51. “One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt.” – Alan W. Watts
52. “Money is an abstraction. It cannot, of itself, buy any pleasureAlan Watts Boatwhatsoever. Because all pleasures involve skill and love.” – Alan W. Watts
53. “There is nothing at all that can be talked about adequately, and the whole art of poetry is to say what can’t be said.” – Alan W. Watts
54. “When you look out of your eyes, at nature happening out there, you’re looking at you. That’s the real you. The you that goes on of itself.” – Alan W. Watts
55. “What we have to discover is that there is no safety, that seeking is painful, and that when we imagine that we have found it, we don’t like it.” – Alan W. Watts
56. “To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath.” – Alan Watts
57. “We’re living in a fluid universe, in which the art of faith is not in taking one’s stand, but in learning to swim.” – Alan Watts
58. “Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge
of oneself.” – Alan Watts
59. “Your skin does not separate you from the world. It’s a bridge through which the external world flows into you. And you flow into it.” – Alan Watts
60. “If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so. If this world is a vicious trap, so is its accuser, and the pot is calling the kettle black.” – Alan Watts
61. “The source of all light is in the eye.” – Alan Watts
Alan Watts quotes that will change how you think
62. “If you want to get the plain truth, Be not concerned with right and wrong. The conflict between right and wrong Is the sickness of the mind.”― Alan Watts
63. “A world which increasingly consists of destinations without journeys between them, a world which values only “getting somewhere” as fast as possible, becomes a world without substance.”― Alan Watts
64. “For the trouble with our rich and powerful people is not so much that they are wicked, but that they do not enjoy themselves.”― Alan Watts
65. “If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death.”― Alan Watts
66. “For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.”― Alan Watts
67. “All belief is fervent hope, and thus a cover-up for doubt and uncertainty.”― Alan Watts
68. “Part of man’s frustration is that he has become accustomed to expect language and thought to offer explanations which they cannot give.”― Alan Watts
69. “Without birth and death, and without the perpetual transmutation of all the forms of life, the world would be static, rhythm-less, undancing, mummified.”― Alan Watts
70. “Life seems to be a system that eats itself to death, and in which victory equals defeat.”― Alan Watts
71. “Life and love generate effort, but effort will not generate them.”― Alan Watts
72. “Logic, intelligence, and reason are satisfied, but the heart goes hungry.”― Alan Watts
73. “Money alone cannot buy pleasure, though it can help. For enjoyment is an art and a skill for which we have little talent or energy.”― Alan Watts
74. “Most of us believe in order to feel secure, in order to make our individual lives seem valuable and meaningful.”― Alan Watts
75. “Once the mind has seen through all fear and all hope, it finds peace within itself, in a state of awareness beyond thought.”― Alan Watts
Alan Watts quotes that will make you think
76. “Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” – Alan Watts
77. “If you are ready to wake up, you are going to wake up. If you’re not you are going to stay pretending that you are just a poor little me.” – Alan Watts
78. “People sometimes fail to live because they are always preparing to live.” – Alan Watts
79. “We see what we believe rather than what we see.” – Alan Watts
80. “The destination of life is this eternal moment.” – Alan Watts
81. “You are the universe experiencing itself.” – Alan Watts
82. “Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.” – Alan Watts
83. “All that you see out in front of you is how you feel inside your head.” –Alan Watts
84. “Hurrying and delaying are alike ways of trying to resist the present.” –Alan Watts
85. “Insecurity is the result of trying to be secure.” – Alan Watts
86. “The best way to convince someone is by making him realize that what you speak came from his own mind.” – Alan Watts
We also have a selection of Edgar Allan Poe quotes that will expand your mind. Be sure to read that as well.
More Alan Watts quotes
87. “Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” – Alan Wilson Watts
88. “The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.” – Alan Wilson Watts
89. “Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.” – Alan Watts
90. “Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.” – Alan Watts
91. “You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” – Alan Watts
92. “If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.” – Alan Wilson Watts
93. “The world is filled with love-play, from animal lust to sublime compassion.” – Alan Watts
94. “Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, openness – an act of trust in the unknown.” – Alan Wilson Watts
95. “If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.” – Alan Wilson Watts
96. “Real travel requires a maximum of unscheduled wandering, for there is no other way of discovering surprises and marvels, which, as I see it, is the only good reason for not staying at home.” – Alan Wilson Watts
Which Alan Watts quotes were your favorite?
Alan Watts works have helped thousands of people improve the quality of their lives. His wise and powerful words are still relevant to today’s modern world and they inspire us to live a successful and happy life.
Hopefully, these Alan Watts quotes have awoken your dreams and altered your viewpoint of the world.
What other quotes by Alan Watts would you add to the list? Tell us in the comment section below. Also, take a minute to share and inspire your friends and followers as well.