43 Best Alan Watts Quotes on Life

If you search “Alan Watts Quotes” anywhere online – whether on Google or Youtube – the results are endless, totaling millions upon millions of views, and there’s no accident in the numbers. These stats aren’t by chance or luck.

When you digest Alan Watts’s words, whether from a book, reading online, or watching his videos, you are left stunned and captivated by his views on life and the simplicity behind them, regardless of your academic background or job title.

Perhaps you are a teacher, accountant, high-flying entrepreneur, or lawyer; it doesn’t matter. Alan Watts quotes are beneficial and life-changing to all.

Simply put, Alan Watts quotes have helped improve the quality of life of tens of thousands of people and counting.

Watts was a British philosopher, speaker, and world-renowned author, known more so for interpreting the beliefs in the East with the lifestyle of the West.

Passing away in 1973, Watts left a legacy that will live on forever as his speeches are inspirational, logical, and often breathtaking.

The following Alan Watts quotes will leave you wanting more and learning how you indeed are to become the very best version of yourself.

Alan Watts Quotes

1. “This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged in what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it’s play.” Alan Watts

2. “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 Watts

3. “Your real self, the real you, is everything there is… but concentrated and expressing itself at the point called your physical organism.” Alan Watts

4. “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” Alan Watts

5. “Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” Alan Watts

6. “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

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

8. “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.” Alan Watts

9. “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

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

11. “No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen.” Alan Watts

12. “Before you were born, there was this same nothing-at-all-forever. And yet, you happened. And if you happened once, you can happen again.” Alan Watts

13. “The most dangerous risk of all: the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” Alan Watts

14. “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

15. “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

16. “When we attempt to exercise power or control over someone else, we cannot avoid giving that person the very same power and control over us.” Alan Watts

17. “One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt.” Alan Watts

18. “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

19. “The word ‘person’ comes from the latin word ‘persona’ which referred to the masks worn by actors in which sound would come through. The ‘person’ is the mask—the role you’re playing. And all of your friends and relations and teachers are busy telling you who you are and what your role in life is.” Alan Watts

20. “A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with reality, and lives in a world of illusion.” Alan Watts

21. “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

22. “There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering.” Alan Watts

23. “Words can only be communicative only between those who share similar experiences.” Alan Watts

24. “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 Watts

25. “Our pleasures are not material pleasures, but symbols of pleasure – attractively packaged but inferior in content.” Alan Watts

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

27. “Life is not a problem to be solved, but an experience to be had.” Alan Watts

28. “Hurrying and delaying are alike ways of trying to resist the present.” Alan Watts

29. “Everything that happens, everything that I have ever done, everything that anybody else has ever done is part of a harmonious design, that there is no error at all.” Alan Watts

30. “You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” Alan Watts

31. “The only Zen you’ll find on mountain tops is the Zen you bring up there with you.” Alan Watts

32. “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 managed constellations.” Alan Watts

33. “Nothing is permanent.” Alan Watts

34. “Nothing is more creative than death since it has the whole secret of life. It means that the past must be abandoned, that the unknown cannot be avoided, that ‘I’ cannot continue, and that nothing can be ultimately fixed. When a man knows this, he lives for the first time in his life. By holding his breath, he loses it. By letting go he finds it.” Alan Watts

35. “Your soul is not in your body; your body is in your soul.” Alan Watts

36. “There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins. Look at my watch, which tells the time; it goes round, and so the world repeats itself again and again.” Alan Watts

37. “You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.” Alan Watts

38. “Our image of ourselves is completely inaccurate and incomplete.” – Alan Watts

39. “What happens if you know that there is nothing you can do to be better? It’s kind of a relief, isn’t it? You say ‘Well, now what do I do?’ When you are freed from being out to improve yourself, your own nature will begin to take over.” Alan Watts

40. “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

41. “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

42. “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

43. “All that you see out in front of you is how you feel inside your head.” Alan Watts

Alan Watts Thought-Provoking Video

About the author

Chris Jones

I'm Chris. I have a vast interest in all things relating to health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition. I also love to improve my mindset and learn how to increase my productivity. If you'd like to say hello or ask me a question, please visit my contact page, and I'd be glad to hear from you. Alternatively, you can find me on Twitter (@liveliftlife).