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Alan Watts Quotes Celebrating Life, Love and Dreams

Searching for your very own way to zen? Let these Alan Watts quotes send you there!

These Alan Watts quotes will open your eyes to new things and make you want to become the very best version of yourself.

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!

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 its thing. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to leave it alone and not put any energy into it.

Alan Watts Quotes about Life

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 defining yourself

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!

Alan Watts Quotes on nature

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 society

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 distractions

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.

Alan Watts Quotes on money

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!

Alan Watts Quotes on faith

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.

Alan Watts Quotes on intellect

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.

Alan Watts Quotes on the secret of life

10. “The menu is not the meal.” – Alan Watts

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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!

Alan Watts Quotes on work

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 on change

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!

Alan Watts Quotes on the universe

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 the world

If you’re enjoying this article, you might also like our collection of famous poems to inspire you when you feel like giving up.

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 imagination

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.

Alan Watts Quotes on the stars

16. “A scholar tries to learn something everyday; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily.” – Alan Watts

Alan Watts Quotes on buddhism

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.

Alan Watts Quotes on dreams

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.

Alan Watts Quotes on 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.

Alan Watts Quotes on truth

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 on fear

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.

Alan Watts Quotes on self love

22. “Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command.” – Alan Watts

Alan Watts Quotes on self care

23. “Love is not something that is a sort of rare commodity, everybody has it.” – Alan Watts

Alan Watts Quotes on friends

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 frustrations

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

Alan Watts Quotes on balance

26. “You can only be on the in in relation to something that is out.” – Alan Watts

Alan Watts Quotes on perception

27. “The positive cannot exist without the negative.” – Alan Watts

Alan Watts Quotes on positivity

28. “We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.” – Alan Watts

Alan Watts Quotes on pleasure

29. “We notice only what we think noteworthy, and therefore our visions highly selective.” – Alan Watts

Alan Watts Quotes on pain

30. “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” ― Alan W. Watts

Alan Watts Quotes that will change the way you think

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. “Stay in the center, and you will be ready to move in any direction.” – 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

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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
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of waves quotes for surfers & beach lovers.

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

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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
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of listening quotes that express the importance of listening.

90. “Human desire tends to be insatiable.” – 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. “One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt.” – 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. “You can’t live at all unless you can live fully now.” – Alan Wilson Watts

96. “It is hard indeed to notice anything for which the languages available to us have no description.” – Alan Wilson Watts

97. “When you know that you have to go with the river, suddenly you acquire—behind everything that you do—the power of the river.”― Alan W. Watts

98. “Discord on one level is harmony on another.”― Alan Watts

99. “If we are to have intense pleasures, we must also be liable to intense pains.”― Alan W. Watts

100. “Thought is a means of concealing truth, despite the fact that it’s an extraordinarily useful faculty.”― Alan W. Watts

101. “The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”― Alan 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.

Norbert Juma, Lead Editor
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  1. Santosh Pandey

    September 21, 2019 at 8:47 PM

    Marvellous Indeed- No One Else Made me understand this Life and this world better than Alan Watts.

    Vow Thanks Universe For Creating The Magic called Alan Watts

    Love You Alan

    Thank You for Sharing my Friend

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