All quotes from Alan Watts’

People go to the supermarket, and they get a whole cartload of goodies, and they drive it through, then the clerk fixes up the counter and this long tape comes out, and he’ll say “Thirty dollars, please,” and everybody feels depressed because they give away thirty dollars’ worth of paper. But they’ve got a cartload of goodies; they don’t think about that. They think they’ve just lost thirty dollars. But you’ve got the real wealth in the cart; all you’ve parted with was the paper. Because the paper—in our system—becomes more valuable than the wealth. It represents power; potentiality. Whereas the wealth—you think “Oh well, that’s just necessary.” You’ve got to eat. I mean, that’s to be really mixed up.

If you awaken from this illusion and you understand that black implies white, self implies other, life implies death—or shall I say, death implies life—you can feel yourself not as a stranger in the world, not as something here on probation, not as something that has arrived here by fluke, but you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental. What you are basically—deep, deep down, far, far in—is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.

What exists—reality itself—is gorgeous. It is the plenum, the fullness of total joy. Wowee! And all those stars—if you look out in the sky—is a firework display like you see on the fourth of July, which is a great occasion for celebration. The universe is a celebration. It is a fireworks show to celebrate that existence is. Wowee!

There’s no point just in sustaining bliss. Let’s suppose that you were able, every night, to dream any dream you wanted to dream. And that you could, for example, have the power within one night to dream 75 years of time, or any length of time you wanted to have. And you would—naturally, as you began on this adventure of dreams—you would fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure you could conceive. And after several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each, you would say “Well, that was pretty great! But now let’s have a surprise. Let’s have a dream which isn’t under control, where something is going to happen to me that I don’t know what it’s going to be.” And you would dig that, and come out of that and say “Wow, that was a close shave, wasn’t it?” And then you would get more and more adventurous, and you would make further and further-out gambles as to what you would dream. And finally, you would dream where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today. That would be within the infinite multiplicity of choices you would have. Of playing that you weren’t God. Because the whole nature of the godhead, according to this idea, is to play that he’s not.

Everybody is fundamentally the ultimate reality. Not “God” in a politically kingly sense, but “God” in the sense of being the Self, the deep-down basic whatever-there-is. And you’re all that, only you’re pretending you’re not.

There’s no point in going on living unless we make the assumption that the situation of life is optimal. That, really and truly, we’re all in a state of total bliss and delight, but we’re going to pretend we aren’t just for kicks. You play non-bliss in order to be able to experience bliss. And you can go as far out as non-bliss as you want to go. And when you wake up, it’ll be great.

There is the central self—you can call it God, you can call it anything you like—and it’s all of us. It’s playing all the parts of all beings whatsoever everywhere and anywhere. And it’s playing the game of hide-and-seek with itself. It gets lost, it gets involved in the farthest-out adventures, but in the end it always wakes up and comes back to itself. And when you’re ready to wake up, you’re going to wake up. And if you’re not ready, you’re going to stay pretending that you’re just “poor little me.”

Do you define yourself as a victim of the world, or as the world?

Your physical organism is one continuous process with everything else that’s going on. Just as the waves are continuous with the ocean, your body is continuous with the total energy system of the cosmos—and it’s all you.

Doesn’t it really astonish you that you are this fantastically complex thing, and that you’re doing all of this and you never had any education in how to do it?

Conscious attention is a designed function of the brain to scan the environment, like a radar does, and note for any troublemaking changes. But if you identify yourself with your troubleshooter, then naturally you define yourself as being in a perpetual state of anxiety.

You are looking right at the brilliant light now. That the experience you are having—which you call “ordinary everyday consciousness;” pretending you’re not it—that experience is exactly the same thing as it. There’s no difference at all. And when you find that out, you laugh yourself silly. That’s the great discovery.

It’s this little funny microbe—tiny thing, crawling on this little planet that’s way out somewhere—who has the ingenuity, by nature of this magnificent organic structure, to evoke the whole universe out of what would otherwise be mere quanta. There’s jazz going on. But, you see, this little ingenious organism is not merely some stranger in this. This little organism, on this little planet, is what the whole show is growing there, and so realizing its own presence.

The Buddha said, “We suffer because we desire. If you can give up desire, you won’t suffer.” But he didn’t say that as the last word; he said that as the opening step of a dialogue. Because if you say that to someone, they’re going to come back after a while and say, “Yes, but I’m now desiring not to desire.” And so the Buddha will answer, “Well! At last! You’re beginning to understand the point!” Because you can’t give up desire; why would you try to do that? It’s already desire. So in the same way you say, “You ought to be unselfish,” or to “give up your ego.” “Let go.” “Relax.” Why do you want to do that? Just because it’s another way of beating the game, isn’t it? The moment, you see, you hypothesize that you are different from the universe, you want to get one-up on it. But if you try to get one-up on the universe, and you’re in competition with it, it means you don’t understand you are it. You think there’s a real difference between self and other.

When you look for your own mind—that is to say, your own particularized center of being, which is separate from everything else—you won’t be able to find it. But the only way you’ll know it isn’t there is if you look for it hard enough to find out that it isn’t there. And so everybody says, “Alright, know yourself, look within, find out who you are.” Because the harder you look, you won’t be able to find it, and then you’ll realize that it isn’t there at all. There isn’t a separate you. Your mind is what there is; everything.

The relationship between the organism and the environment is transactional. The environment grows the organism, and in turn the organism creates the environment.

In a few years, it will be a matter of common sense to very many people that they are one with the universe. It’ll be so simple! And then—maybe, if that happens—we shall be in a position to handle our technology with more sense; with love instead of with hate for our environment.