10 Inspiring Alan Watts Quotes That You Can Apply to Everyday Life

The late Alan Watts was a well-known and well-respected British writer, speaker and philosopher. For most people today, he is known as being one of the driving forces in bringing Eastern philosophy to Western culture. He is also hailed by many as one of the masters of Zen, as he traveled to New York in the late 1930s to practice this ancient mindset.

Throughout his decades of acting as a speaker and writer, he managed to master the art form of taking deep and complex thoughts and transforming them into simpler and more digestible quotes that truly inspired you to look at the world differently.

While Watts is no longer around to bestow his words of wisdom on the world, there are still several inspiring and motivating Watts quotes that you can start applying to your everyday life, each and every day.

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

This is an important life lesson from Watts that is so applicable in most of our everyday lives. There are some things that simply cannot be forced, especially when you are dealing with tense or delicate situations. Many times, things will work out for the better if you take a step back just let them happen. Simply put, sometimes you need to just let it go and know when it’s time to let some muddy situations be.

“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.”

We all hold on to things and we all have issues letting go. However, it is important to be able to relax and let things go while having a certain amount of faith that things will work out. This is one of the only ways to really be able to move forward and make the most of life and it is a daily lesson that many of us could use a reminder on.

“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”

Don’t take yourself or the world too seriously. Plain and simple. There are so many people who work themselves up into debilitating states of stress and anxiety, only because they can’t control their tendency to overvalue and over analyze the world around them. Not everything in life has to be so serious, take a breath, relax and enjoy all of the wonderful, fun, happy things that life has to offer.

“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”

This is one quote that isn’t only true but one that highly depicts Eastern philosophy. It is also a reminder that everything in the world is always changing, and that we need to be able to change with it in order to make the most out of the life that has been laid out before us.

“Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live.”

Being able to live in the present is not only an important part of Eastern philosophy but it is a poignant lesson that many of us need to start applying to our lives today. In short of the cliché of being able to stop and smell the roses, this quote reminds us all that we can miss what is going on in our busy lives today if we are too busy about what is coming next.

“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 that you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things that you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”

This blunt, straightforward but applicable quote from Alan Watts is one that many of us could use a reminder on every day. Think of how many people you know in life that spend their lives working at a job that they don’t even like just because of the paycheck. Are these people truly happy and fulfilled? Probably not. Don’t let yourself fall into a trap of doing something just for the money, it will never make you happy.

Alan Watts zen

“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 are connected with everything.”

This quote is one that can help you understand the importance of finding mindfulness in your life. While Watts said it at a time when technology wasn’t as rampant in society as it is today, in our modern world, this quote could not be more applicable. You don’t have to be a hermit, but you can take the time to unplug from technology and actually find yourself connecting with the reality around you.

“The menu is not the meal.”

This is such a simple, yet classic Watts quote, and one that if you take a moment to think of can really start influencing the way that you see the world. Talk is cheap. Don’t let it fool you.

“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.”

This is such a deep quote about loving yourself for who you are and where your place is in the world. It is about letting go of the things you cannot change and accepting that you need to love yourself for what you are not. This is one of the cornerstones of self-acceptance and of finding inner peace, and the foundation of being able to love others.

“But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to the truth, what it might turn out to be.”

To conclude with a simple quote from Watts, faith is all about once again being able to let go and trust in a higher being.

While the list of relevant and motivational Alan Watts quotes could seemingly go on forever, these are just 10 of my favorite and most inspiring words of wisdom for one of history’s truly great orators and writers.

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