Alan Watts on Living in the Present

Today’s quote is from Alan Watts. Born in England in 1915, he moved to the US in 1938. He lived in the San Francisco Bay area, around Berkeley. I would have loved to meet him but he passed away in 1973, full 10 years before I got to the SF Bay area.

The wiki says, “Watts wrote more than 25 books and articles on subjects important to Eastern and Western religion, introducing the then-burgeoning youth culture to The Way of Zen (1957), one of the first bestselling books on Buddhism. In Psychotherapy East and West (1961), Watts proposed that Buddhism could be thought of as a form of psychotherapy and not a religion. He also explored human consciousness, in the essay “The New Alchemy” (1958), and in the book The Joyous Cosmology (1962).” Here’s Alan Watts on the importance of living in the present.

If my happiness at this moment consists largely in reviewing happy memories and expectations, I am but dimly aware of this present. I shall still be dimly aware of the present when the good things that I have been expecting come to pass. For I shall have formed a habit of looking behind and ahead, making it difficult for me to attend to the here and now. 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.

Author: Atanu Dey


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