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The Intriguing Thought-Provoking Insights Of The Legend: Alan Watts

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I am coming out of the closet. I’m a Wattsist. A what-ist? A Wattsist. After Alan Watts, the British-American philosopher, spiritual entertainer, and author. Alan Watts was a treasure to his generation and to ours, as his words continue to provide solace, humour, and understanding. His podcasts are increasingly well-known and his books seem to be experiencing a resurgence in popularity. His son, Mark Watts, has released a new documentary about his dad, so we can expect Alan’s popularity to keep rising even though it has been many decades since his death in 1973.

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I’ve been sufficiently inspired by Watts’ work that I am writing a new biography of this great man. It’s been an interesting journey because I’m learning, as one must when traveling from the realm of pure concepts to details of a person’s life, that Watts was no angel. His wisdom is beautiful and profound, but he wasn’t a very good father and he wasn’t a very good husband, at least not to his first two wives (he had three and died while living with his third wife). We shouldn’t, however, expect perfection from our spiritual leaders, particularly when the leader in question (Watts) was fond of talking about his own and all spiritual leaders’ “irreducible rascality.”

Watts was a British expat who spent most of his life in the U.S., with his later years in Marin County and the Bay Area. He died in 1973, apparently of natural causes, but no autopsy was completed. He was well-known to be an alcohol abuser later in his life so it is possible that alcohol had some role in his death.

He wrote a number of books, including The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are; The Way of Zen; The Meaning of Happiness; Cloud Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown: A Mountain Journal; In My Own Way (an autobiography), and many others. A good selection of wonderful Alan Watts podcasts are available on iTunes – recordings of the many talks he gave, which are free and present 15 minutes of profound wisdom with wit and grace.

Watts’ worldview and spiritual views were shaped largely by Eastern traditions, in particular Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and Vedanta Hinduism, but also by his Christian upbringing and training. He was an Episcopal priest for six years, serving at Northwestern University in Illinois, until he left the church after he and his first wife messily separated. Watts states in his autobiography: “If I am asked to define my personal tastes in religion I must say that they lie between Mahayana Buddhism [of which Zen is a type] and Taoism, with a certain leaning toward Vedanta and Catholicism, or rather the Orthodox Church of Eastern Europe.”

The constant themes in his talks and books are the perils of language tricking us into mistaken views about ourselves and reality, that mind is pervasive in all of reality, and – most importantly – knowing that we are, each of us, none other than God. Not “a” God, but “the” God. I’ll explore some of Watts’ key ideas further below.

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The World Is God Playing Hide & Seek With Itself

There is no better way to describe Watts’ view of God and the universe than to quote him from his profound little book, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Really Are:

[T]here are times when the world is, and times when it isn’t, for if the world went on and on without rest for ever and ever, it would get horribly tired of itself. It comes and it goes. Now you see it; now you don’t. So because it doesn’t get tired of itself, it always comes back again after it disappears. It’s like your breath: it goes in and out, in and out, and if you try to hold it in all the time you feel terrible.

It’s also like the game of hide-and-seek, because it’s always fun to find new ways of hiding, and to seek for someone who doesn’t always hide in the same place. God also likes to play hide- and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself.

In Fact, You Are God

So the universe is, to echo the comedian and philosopher Bill Hicks, just a big amusement ride. We can’t take ourselves too seriously in this grand game. At the same time, Watts time and time again returns to the theme of who we really are. Who am I really? Who are you really? Well, Watts makes the extraordinary case, rather convincingly, that you, yes, little old you, are none other than God. Not “a” God, but “the” God. You’re the boss. In fact, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Really Are, is all about this idea. This book was written for Watts’ children and all children who struggle to find their identity.

Mark Watts, Alan’s oldest child, was fourteen when his father sent him The Book. Mark told me over lunch at the Aroma Cafe in San Rafael in Marin County, that Alan had told him that he was thinking of Mark when he wrote the first chapter (Mark was living with his mother across the country from Alan at the time). While the book is accessible to teen readers, its wisdom is relevant and very enjoyable to adults too, including philosophically-sophisticated adults.

Watts states in The Book:

[B]ecause there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars.

In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear.

Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that’s the whole fun of it—just what he wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self—the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.

We Can’t Change Anything

Is there anything with which I might quibble about when it comes to Watts’ thinking? Surely. One issue in particular, however, may rise above the level of a mere quibble to an actual disagreement: the degree to which we, as conscious beings, should “go with the flow” or work actively to change things.

In his last book, Tao: The Watercourse Way, published shortly after his death, Watts presents his take on Taoist thinking. Taoism is one of two major strains of Chinese indigenous philosophy and spirituality (the other is Confucianism). Taoism is thought to have begun with Lao Tzu in the 4th Century BCE.

tambookThe Chinese term Tao may be translated many different ways but is generally translated as the “way.” By understanding the Tao and not working in opposition to the Tao we literally go with the flow that is the entire universe. The Tao may also be thought of as the ground or ocean of being, the substrate from which all stuff grows. How could we possibly act in opposition to the very ground of being and the flow that is the universe? Why would we want to? This is the case that Watts makes in his book and in some of his talks.

Well, many people might want to change things, for various reasons, including desires for social justice, environmental improvement, spiritual growth, political improvement, etc. Where I think we may improve upon Taoism and Watts’ own thinking is by recognizing first that the Tao itself may indeed change over time, and, second, that the manifest universe and the Tao itself is nothing but (literally) the sum total of all individual desires and actions. While the Tao is indeed eternal, it doesn’t have to be unchanging, and it is in fact very likely not unchanging. Rather, we, as part of the Tao (of course we are part of the Tao because we are part of the universe and, in a very real sense, we are, each of us, the entire universe, as discussed above) are helping the universe to evolve over time.

What does this mean? To me, it means that every choice we make, every thought and every action, has repercussions in the entire actual universe as well as the Tao from which it grows. While the actual universe will likely grow in complexity for many trillions of years to come, it will eventually perish into complete stillness with the passage of additional trillions of years. But the Tao will not and cannot perish. Rather, it will continue to proceed blissfully and joyously for all eternity, birthing new universes, new games of hide and seek, forever and ever. The Tao, the ocean of being, contains the reverberations, the echoes, of each cycle of the actual universe within its calm depths, even as each actual universe dissipates back into the Tao from whence it came. And we are, each of us, part of that unimaginably long process.

In closing, I have been tremendously appreciative of Watts’ wisdom and wit and I hope that many others will take the time to learn more about this underappreciated philosopher and sage. His website, run by Mark Watts, is www.alanwatts.com and many of his books are still widely available. Read, listen, enjoy! Who knows, maybe you’ll become a Wattsist too.

As I mentioned above, I’m working on a new biography of Watts and I am looking to talk with people who knew Watts. If you or someone you know knew him well and are interested in discussing your experiences, please let me know (I can be reached at tam dot hunt at gmail).

Tam Hunt is a lawyer and writer based in Santa Barbara, California, and Hilo, Hawaii.

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Awareness

Why Vegan and not Vegetarian? Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh Answers The Question

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh explains why he chooses not to consume any meat or dairy products, and points towards the overwhelmingly cruel food industry.

  • Reflect On:

    What gives us the right to torture animals, steal their babies, abuse them simply for our consumption? Where is our compassion, morality and empathy? Have we been made and brainwashed to believe that it's ok?

The most heartbreaking thing to see and to witness is an innocent benevolent being getting tortured and suffering. This is the realty of eating animal products today. Billions of animals are raised for slaughter every single year, and the overwhelmingly large majority of them go through horrific and terrifying experiences. It’s hard to imagine how anybody could eat or wear the clothes of diseased animals knowing what they went through. It’s also hard to believe that anybody who does eat or purchase products that have used animals in their manufacturing process would do that kind of “labour” themselves.

The truth is that many people still don’t know what these beings are going through. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, immoral, and unethical. Morality, empathy, and love are all emotions that need to return to planet Earth, and as long as we have multiple industries exploiting animals, that can’t happen.

If you’re unaware of what these animals are going through on a daily basis, a recent PETA investigation on two of the world’s top cashmere exporters revealed extreme cruelty, including the violent killing of cashmere goats. You can read more about it and see some footage of that here, if you’re interested.

You can view more examples of graphic footage in the trailer of “The Buddha Bowl,” a documentary in the making featuring personalities and some of the most influential and renowned spiritual leaders from all over the world sharing their perspectives on veganism. These include viewpoints from Buddha himself and from spiritual leaders from the past and present, totalling about 30 interviews on animal rights, environmental issues and health.

One of the people in that documentary is Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who is recognized as a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist. The video below is not part of the documentary listed above, but from an interview taken a few years ago at a conference.

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Are We Even Designed To Eat Meat?

There is no doubt our world is becoming more awake, aware, and compassionate. Millions of people around the world have transitioned towards a plant-based diet. This represents the kind of compassion and empathy our world needs more of, and this diet can do nothing but benefit human health, the planet, and the animals.

It’s no secret that eating meat and animal products is destroying the Earth, as clearing land for animal grazing and slaughter is one of the leading causes of deforestation, and factory farms are an environmental disaster.

More people are also starting to become aware of plant-based diets and their health benefits.

A recent study conducted by researchers in California and France found that meat protein is associated with a very sharp increased risk of heart disease, while protein from nuts and seeds is actually beneficial for the human heart. The study is titled “Patterns of plant and animal protein intake are strongly associated with cardiovascular mortality: The Adventist Health Study-2 cohort,”

It’s one of many studies that’ve emerged over the years showing the benefits of plant-based diets and their ability to reverse diseases. On the other hand, many studies published have shown how the consumption of meat has the exact opposite effect.

Below is a clip from a recent CETV episode where CE founder Joe Martino and I go into the discussion a little deeper, with a specific focus on plant-based protein compared to meat protein. If interested, you can watch the full episode here by signing up for your free trial. CETV is a platform that we created to combat the censorship we’ve experienced over the past couple of years.

I also go into this type of discussion, if you’re interested in reading about it, in an article I recently published: “Another Study Suggests Humans Are Not Designed To Eat Meat.”

The Takeaway

Human beings are born with compassion and empathy. What we are doing to animals on our planet today, and how many continue to ignore it and be unaffected by it, is simply as a result of mass brainwashing and marketing by big food corporations. The truth is that we’ve been taught to ignore it, we’ve been taught to believe that it’s OK and it’s our right to do this to others who share the planet with us. No child would ever stand for such a thing unless they were taught to do so. It’s the same thing as racism, we are not born with it, we are taught it. I urge all those who are reading this to do their research into where the vast majority of our food and clothes are coming from, watch what these animals are going through, look into their eyes and and feel what they are feeling.

The ability to feel and understand the emotions of others, animal or human, is a HUGE and VITAL step towards creating a better world and a better overall human experience.

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Alternative News

Marianne Williamson Admits “The System Is More Corrupt Than I Knew”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Marianne Williamson stated in an interview on Fox and Friends that she did not realize the political system was as corrupt as it is.

  • Reflect On:

    This is an important revelation of how leaders often don't quite see the full truth of our system at hand. Through them and their experience, we can learn a lot about what is truly going on. Is it time to let go of the systems we have?

About a week ago Marianne Williamson told the New Yorker, I know this sounds naïve, but I didn’t think the left was so mean. I didn’t think the left lied like this.” In a segment I did on CETV, I discussed the fact that Williamson is doing a great job of bringing a bit more of a conscious conversation into the mix here, which is very important, but seems to not quite understand what politics is really about and how things function in our world.

In my article about this statement I stated:

Some have suggested that Marianne already knows these truths, and she may, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she is only uncovering these things now. I say this as I belong to a group that communicates regularly that contains many high profile conscious industry leaders like Williamson and other big authors, speakers etc. Many of them are great with spirituality but seem to struggle to see how politics truly functions. I have witnessed this first hand and this is why I’m so passionate about what I do as I feel bringing together both personal transformation and hard truth is imperative.

Some felt that my analysis was off and that Williamson is just ‘playing naive,’ but to me, this did not feel true nor did it seem to be the case. While some might view this as an unimportant detail, it’s very important as for society to truly begin to shift we must not only personally transform but also realize the true nature of the world we live in.

As outlined in the CE Protocol, the formula I built to help awaken and shift the masses, the very first step is Breaking The Illusion about our programmed reality and understand what’s truly going on. From there, personal transformation becomes key.

Williamson Admits She Was Unaware

Here we are a week later and Williamson has stated what I observed in my previous segment, she did not quite realize how corrupt our political system truly is. In an interview on Fox and Friends Williamson stated:

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“I would say that I feel that I’ve learned that the system is even more corrupt than I knew and people are even more wonderful than I hoped,

I want to state this isn’t about picking on anyone as much as it is about understanding the importance behind seeing the full picture of the change that needs to take place here. For 10 years now I have built CE to include both personal transformation and truth seeking for the reason that either one of those topics on their own doesn’t create the change we all know is possible in our hearts.

I’ve seen many ‘spiritual leaders’ still deeply support the dysfunctional nature of our systems because they believe there is truth to them when in reality they belong to a consciousness we are shifting away from.

Our political system is built and exists within a system designed for a very limited state of consciousness, some call this 3D consciousness. The goal isn’t to shift our political system, it’s to let it go. Collectively we are shifting and the new state of consciousness emerging doesn’t support the political system at hand. Hence why the chaos around it is increasing, because it’s acting as a mirror for us to see how it doesn’t resonate with our emerging consciousness.

It’s like trying to install Windows on a Mac or vice versa, the systems aren’t designed for the operating system. Humanity is faced with a challenge of ‘letting go of the old,’ not trying to fix the old.

In a brand new segment of The CE Show I did on YouTube and CETV, I discuss Marianne’s latest comments and what I feel we all must realize as we move forward in this journey of shifting ourselves and our world.

The CE Show airs multiple times per week on CETV. Membership proceeds from CETV go towards supporting our journalism and future broadcasts. You can start a free 7 day trial here.

The Takeaway

I feel that we have become addicted to the systems of a state of consciousness that we are moving away from. The choice is up to us, we stop resisting and holding onto things of the old, move through the process of watching these old systems fall away, or we continue to fight tooth and nail under the belief that we must hold up the old systems, and suffer along the way.

Ask yourself within, do you truly feel that this is about changing our current political system to be more open and evolved? Or is it about letting go of the rigidity of our current systems and creating new ones that are birthed from a  new state of consciousness, not one that is centuries old…

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Pisces: Navigating Ideals

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We are having a Full Moon in Pisces which will be exact at 4:33am Universal Time on September 14th 2019. It will appear the fullest on the night of the 13th for most of the world and on the night of the 14th for the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand.

This is the peak of the Lunar cycle which began two weeks prior with a New Moon in Virgo. The energies of it build up as the Moon increases its light and are strongest in the days before and after. However, it will still be a part of the backdrop over the following two weeks.

Full Moon’s are a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Pisces and Sun in Virgo. It can reflect either a conflict or integration of both signs. We can feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Virgo side and others expressing the Pisces side.

Pisces is associated with sensitivity, compassion, creativity, and oneness. It is spiritually conductive, mystical, energy oriented, dreamy, flowy, imaginative, idealistic, and empathic. Negatively, it can be delusional, lazy, intoxicated, deceptive, confused/confusing, elusive, flaky, and lack critical thinking. Pisces energy is the least compatible with the mundane world and is associated with escapism in its many forms.

Virgo is about productivity, duties, service, physical health, cleanliness, and purity. It is organized, conscientious, skillful, diligent, efficient, analytical, detailed, and practical. Negatively, Virgo energy can also be overly critical, too cautious, fault-finding, irritable, discriminating, and overly perfectionist.

Full Moon Aligned with Neptune in T-Square with Jupiter and Mars

This Full Moon is close to Neptune which has many of the same qualities of Pisces that were mentioned above. It is viewed as a modern ruler of that sign and it amplifies its energies even more so during this period. Neptune is also associated with glamour, romance, and addiction. It has a dissolving, flooding, and watery energy that doesn’t comprehend boundaries.

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Neptune is completing its last of three squares with Jupiter in Sagittarius which will be exact on September 21st and will be strong into the following week. It began last January and peaked again this past June. At best, this can be an expansive period in a spiritual, creative, or compassionate way.

However, it can also be a time of confusion or lack of discernment around beliefs, ideologies, education, and teachers. It can also be a time in which we become aware of us being like that previously. We can be more excessive when it comes to how we express Piscean/Neptunian energies mentioned above.

At the time of the Full Moon, Mars in Virgo is also involved in this configuration along with the opposition of the Sun and Moon, forming a T-square aspect. This can be good for asserting ourselves towards our ideals or with a different Jupiter-Neptune approach (mentioned above). However this can also make our actions scattered, less assertive/direct, and make it harder to apply ourselves with practicality.

Full Moon Sextile Pluto Near Saturn and South Node, Saturn Going Direct

This Full Moon is in a tight sextile with Pluto which is near Saturn and the South Node. This could trigger some of the themes of the previous Lunar Eclipse (that is still reflecting this period) in a more harmonious way. Purging aspects of our past that are getting in the way of us moving forward. This can help to facilitate empowerment through some sort of release or transformation.

Saturn will be finishing its retrograde on September 18th and will move towards its final conjunction with the South Node which will peak at the end of the month and early October. This energy was also strong in mid Spring and part of it in early Summer.

Saturnian themes get amplified and we can be dealing with limitations, obstacles, restrictions, or perhaps issues around boundaries. We may feel a need to make changes around responsibilities, commitments, career, and structures in our lives. Similarly to the last Lunar Eclipse, there can be a sort of ending playing out around how an area of our lives is being expressed.

Full Moon Opposing Mercury and Venus Conjunction As They Change Signs

At the time of this Full Moon, Mercury and Venus are in a conjunction at the very end of Virgo, (Mercury’s sign). They will then be moving into Libra (Venus’ sign) in the hours following with the Full Moon triggering after it begins to wane.

This can be a time of heightened interactions, catching up with friends and other relationships. While it is in Virgo it could lean more towards its themes connected to work, service, fault finding, etc. For some people there can be a feeling of some sort of urgency.

After this conjunction moves into Libra, especially a day after the Full Moon,  it becomes more pleasant, social, and creative. Our interactions can be more harmonious, diplomatic, and less critical. We can more easily see both sides to something, find balance, and a great time to discuss relationship matters.

As a result of both of these planets transitioning near the same time, some people may experience some sort of significant shift in other areas of their lives within a few days following the Full Moon.

Things To Consider During This Period

How can you better balance the mundane aspects of life with your ideals, creativity, or spirituality? How have your beliefs been impacted this year and what is the conclusion to your experiences? Is it possible that you may have been confused about some aspects of newly or previously acquired perspectives?

What themes are coming up for you now that have been playing out since last April? What do you need to release? What changes do you need to make when it comes to your work, responsibilities, commitments, structures, or boundaries?
These are just some examples of what could come up during this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out. If you wish to do any sort of intentional release connected to what has come up at this Full Moon, it is best to do so anytime after the peak of the Full Moon when it begins to wane until the next New Moon in two weeks. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on September 14th at 4:33am Universal Time. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology related content.

astrology, astrology readings, carmen di luccio

Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

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