Alan Watts. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)
Do you ever get stuck?
Do you ever feel like you can’t do right for doing wrong?
That nothing is straightforward?
There’s always a catch.
It seems there’s always a potential for problem with every success, and no matter what you do, choosing the right path is a very, very tricky dance indeed.
Let’s take a few examples.
You want to enjoy life as much as possible but you’re constantly told that you need a pension, which keeps you at the mill.
You want to help a homeless person but you worry that by giving money directly, you’re maintaining their dependency on the street.
Pizza and ice cream makes you smile now, but fat later.
These double-binding conundrums play out in the micro and in the macro eternally. On a very simple level, there’s no black without white, there’s no sound without silence and there’s no space without planets. So it goes to say that there’s no joy without pain, there’s no charity without consequence and there’s no pizza without love handle.
It’s almost like we’re in some sort of a game. A game where the rules constantly change and every victory self-defeating. No one is right. No one is wrong. All problems and opportunities are both limitless and torturously intertwined.
But what if we could show you a way to lift your spirit right now? No strings attached. What if we invited you to try some simple tricks to immediately make everything that little bit better? And nothing will get worse. We promise.
At your favourite men’s yoga clothing brand, we’ve been reading up on author, philosopher and pipe-smoking laughalot, Alan Watts. He claims to have inside information on the human condition. Without special tools and with no particular hard work, Watts imparts surefire ways to immediately reengage with the world with a new and shiny spirit. Get your sparkle on, gents.
Acquire, almost instantly, the virtue of humour
See the funny side. Engage with others with a Watts-esque ‘twinkle’in your eye. It’s not a radical change and it doesn’t require anyone else to do anything either. It recognizes the good in others, and if nothing else, Watts remarks, it creates, ‘an attitude and an atmosphere that cools off human conflict.’
Love your enemies as enemies
‘No game can be played without indispensable opposition,’ quips Watts. Just like night needs day and stars need the black of deep space to shine, we’re defined by those we oppose. When we recognise that we need our foes, we can enter into a new relationship with them. We might even empathize. Imagine.
Give less emphasis to practicality, results, progress and aggression
Play for the sake of playing. ‘And play that’s just to prepare yourself for work is not real play,’says Watts. We mean proper fun. Enter into situations of nonsense for the very sake of doing some of the nonsense. Find real joy without a target. Squibbley.
Ask, what do you see, hear, smell and taste now
Engage with the real world around you. What are your senses capturing? Before you know it you’ll be finding the music of the tube, magical light patterns in the morning sun and you’ll be oiling your old bike to pedal it out on the freshly cut grass. Watts says, ‘How is it possible that a being with jewels as the eyes…can experience itself as anything less than a god?’
Offer deep and unpatronizing compassion
‘Even a special kind of reverence and respect,’ asks Watts. Sponder is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and as complex as your own. But don’t stop there. Extend the same sensitivity and understanding to all of the universe’s myriad and wonderful expressions. Bees, flowers, even Ashtangis.
Live life as a game
The biggy! Watts concludes, ‘The universe is, at root, a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and there is no separate ‘you’ to get something out of it, as if like were a bank to be robbed.’ Get on with playing the great game.
This is it
and I am it
and You are it
and so is That
and He is it
and She is it
and It is it
and that is that!
So gather your shiniest twinkle. Love those foes that make you You. Dance for just the bloody dance. Feel everything in the present moment and roll the dice with all you can muster, bro’s.
Alan Watts invites us to enter the game of life.
Where did the world come from? Why did God make the universe? Where do people go when they die? What’s the best way to live?
Like deep conversations you have with your bezzies - looking up at the stars with a cold one - we’re nailing all the biggies here at So We Flow. Over 12 months we’re sharing 12 distinct philosophies for men. From Socrates to Chomsky and from Patanjali to Adyashanti, we delve into play, courage, non-duality, hope and more. Together, we’ll make total sense of this cosmic soup.
So stay present and stay tuned, brothers of the Flow.
For more check out
So We Flow Journal - Never Trust a Know-It-All
So We Flow Journal – Kayaking, Cliff Jumping and Snorkeling in Ibiza
The Book; On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, by Alan Watts
The Way of Zen, by Alan Watts
Alan Watts on Youtube – A Short, Funny Speech on Work and Play
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