Alan Watts ….

Alan Watts, philosopher, writer and public speaker .

Alan Watts ….

Since my youth I have had a strong interest in both the nature that surrounds me and who I am within it, not in a flaky way I might add ! 😉  I’m not dancing in the streets shaking my tambourine just yet 🙂  but I have been strongly drawn to looking deeper into life than most . Over the years I’ve read books, listened to philosophies and even tried to experience various belief’s and religions and have built a strong association with Buddhism. I have even immersed myself in some of its teachings through several retreats at the Samye Ling centre near my home, every time thoroughly enjoying my stay. Am I a Buddhist ? unfortunately not, I am in no way a person pure enough of soul to restrict myself to the practices of Buddhism no matter how much I respect it as a way of life. My drive for knowledge is not about religion , it’s about wonderment of nature and the why of me , it’s a big picture I know 🙂

Contemplating the Universe ..

I have asked the following question many times; Is it because I am an outdoor sportsman that I wonder about the world or is because I wonder about the word that  I am an outdoor sportsman ? chicken and egg ? 🙂  I remember my early days as a climber sitting on tiny ledges  looking out at the vast topography below me, taking it all in and wondering, this wonder is probably what sets me apart as one of the people who take notice and look deeper into what is spinning around me, many doubt, some mock and most just aren’t interested in anything apart from the confines of their daily life, but for those interested enough to look there are beliefs and teachings out there that when you take the time to read or listen to may actually make more sense than what you actually have believed to be true before. laughing yet ? ask yourself a question, do you use a mantra to help your running , if the answer is yes …. Ever wondered why you use it and why it helps ? 😉 read on …….

A video titled “What if money was no object” seems to have captured everyone’s imagination in the outdoor sports community right now, probably because it helps justify spending time on our own desires, many of us giving priority to our love of our sport over financial gain or family commitments, an explanation on “living the dream”  it eventually hit my inbox or twitter feed and a name came up from my past,  Alan Watts , a British philosopher and writer who I had a real interest in during the 90s. Back then his books and transcripts had been a huge force in giving me answers and questions about myself, he ignited a lot of little sparks that still burn within me all these years later. So it was with great interest that I watched this little video go “viral” all these years later .  I have spent the last few days looking back into Alan’s work and decided to post a few of  his interesting videos for all to enjoy …..

 

Below is an exert from his website  http://www.alanwatts.org/

Alan Watts was born in London in 1915, at the start of the first World War. At a young age he became fascinated with the Far East, and at fourteen he began to write and was published in the Journal of the London Buddhist Lodge before writing his first booklet on Zen in 1932. He moved to New York in 1938 and then to Chicago, where he served as an Episcopal priest for six years before leaving the Church. In 1950, he moved to upstate New York before going on to San Francisco to teach at the Academy of Asian Studies. Among Alan Watts’ earliest influences were the novelist Sax Rohmer and Zen scholars D.T. Suzuki and Christmas Humpreys. In late 1950, he visited with Joseph Campbell and composer John Cage in NYC.

Worldview

Alan Watts was profoundly influenced by the East Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Buddhism, and by Taoist thought, which is reflected in Zen poetry and the arts of China and Japan. After leaving the Church, he never became a member of another organized religion, and although he wrote and spoke extensively about Zen Buddhism, he was criticized by American Buddhist practitioners for not sitting regularly in zazen. Alan Watts responded simply by saying, “A cat sits until it is done sitting, and then gets up, stretches, and walks away.”

1950’s and early ’60’s

After teaching at the Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco, he became Dean and began to give regular radio talks on KPFA, the Berkeley free radio station. In 1957, he published his best-selling Way of Zen, and in 1958 returned to Europe where he met with C.G. Jung. He was an early subject in pioneering psychedelic trials, and, after recording two seasons of the public television series Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life, travelled to Japan several times in the early sixties. By the late sixties, he had become a counter-culture celebrity, and travelled widely to speak at universities and growth centers across the US and Europe.

Later Years

By the early seventies, Alan Watts had become a foremost interpreter of Eastern thought for the West, and was widely published in periodicals including Earth, Elle, Playboy, and Redbook. He appeared on CBS television’s Camera Three in 1969, and in 1971 he recorded a pilot for a new show titled A Conversation with Myself for NET, the precursor to PBS. When the series was not produced, he recorded the shows with his son Mark and his long-time audio archivist Henry Jacobs in 1972. Overall, Alan Watts developed an extensive audio library of nearly 400 talks and wrote more than 25 books during his lifetime, including his final volume, Tao: The Watercourse Way. Alan Watts died in his sleep in November of 1973, after returning from an intensive international lecture tour.

Some of my favourite lectures .. 

 

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The Art of Meditation ….  a great explanation and guide to meditation
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Our Image of the World
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The Nature of conciousness
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The Web of Life
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There are many many more great lectures available on the web and they are well worth spending the time listening to  “some may say rubbish , some may say good and some may change for ever ”  Marko 2012 😉
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5 Responses to Alan Watts ….

  1. Alan Watts …. | http://www.runner786.com, was in fact a very good post
    title to give this blog post. Where exactly can I learn more with regards to this?

  2. Mark, fascinating stuff. I’ve been doing a bit of soul searching myself over the last couple of years and somewhat stumbled across meditation. I have it as another of my things that I need to devote more time too. Looking forward to catching up with you at the WHW race. Best of luck with your recuperation and subsequent training

  3. Russ Francis says:

    Mark, I have been noticing this lecture on the web more and more recently, what I am stuck with is trying to find the rest of the lecture because the video doesnt include the entire recording. Would you happen to know where I could possibly find the whole lecture or from what series it is from?

    Thanks!!

  4. Michael Metague says:

    Need an Alan Watts article published in “Playboy Magazine,” between May 1967 and July 1968. It’s title is something like “The Power, the Money, and the Greed.” Can you help me? Playboy Archives won’t.

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