Hey everyone I just finished reading Alan Watts' book titled Out Of Your Mind. It's one of his many books and a classic if there ever was one. I'm a huge fan of Alan Watts' philosophy and have listened to all his lectures and now have begun to dive into his literature which is more or less the same, but I wanted the 360 view of his work.
Now I would highly highly recommend you read this book or any of his, whether you are interested in learning more about eastern religion and philosophy or you're looking to learn more about life and discovering yourself, this book could be for you.
Some of the main principles are outlined on the back of the book which definitely is how I would summarize the book:
One of the more interesting things about the way Alan Watts writes and teaches is that he comes at it with the attitude that it's all a little weird and maybe a bit ridiculous from an outside perspective, yet profound enough that with the inside perspective you can still gain something from it and enjoy it.
One of my favorite parts of this is actually closer to the end where he talks about how when someone goes to a guru to look for answers or enlightenment that they play the trickster game in putting them further into their folly until they abandon all their fundamental beliefs in order to be liberated from. Beliefs, values, etc are what allow us to feel like an I with individual private experiences that we make up into our ego. The more we are able to peel away at our ego, the closer we feel to the true self that we all really are deep down.
The concepts of non-dualism in Hinduism are very interesting to me. I feel like it aligns with my general attitude towards life. I can never absolutely believe or affirm something 100% because it will exclude the other. The idea of non-dualism is more about allowing both sides to exist and enabling each other by doing so. Not none because none excludes some, not all because all excludes none.
There are so many gems in this book I can't begin to dive into all of them so I'd like to share one of my favorite paragraphs:
"The mind is represented as a mirror, because the mirror has no color in it, yet it's able to receive all the different colors. Thirteenth-century Christian mystic Meister Ekhart said 'In order to see color, my eye has to be free from color.' In the same way, in order to properly see, hear, think, and feel, you have to have an empty head. The reason why you're not ware of your brain cells is that they're void, and for that reason, you are able to experience."
This to me also points to the idea that meditation and sound mental practices are so much more important than I gave credit. In order to experience everything in the best way, you must be open and ready to experience it with an empty mind. Not a mind without thought, but rather a mind that doesn't have preconceived notions about something or biases.
The last thing I'd like to share was the one I found the most interesting. He talks about the way that everything is made up of patterns and waves. The waving of these patterns can be seen and even measured. The shortest and fastest waves we know are light, then sound, and it keeps going all the way through sleep cycles, seasons changing, planets rotating around the sun, birth and death of humans, plants, suns, galaxies, universes. It keeps going and everything is basically made up of waves and rhythms. When you can recognize this you may come to the realization that everything is cyclic and in a more philosophical and spiritual sense you need not worry about birth and death so much because it's apart of the pattern and the pattern doesn't stop. We can only appreciate the pattern though if it has intervals. For example, in music we hear the notes by the intervals and pauses in-between them that creates the rhythm.
That's all for now I genuinely give this book a 9.5/10 given I've never encountered a 10 and I'm fairly new to reviewing. Needless to say, if I were to read 100 books in life only, this would be one on the list.
Let me know if you've read this or any of his books and or if you plan to, cheers!