I recently read Alan Watt’s autobiography ‘In My Own Way’, a fine book. Alan was a man who walked his path and took a large part of a generation along with him. Whilst reading the book in public, in a series of random places, several people approached me and commented on how much they appreciate Alan’s interpretations and teachings. I have never been so popular when reading a book! Most of these people were in their 50′s and beyond, but his message and the way he chose to live is very relevant today. Be free and enjoy, revel in the mystery and very importantly, simply ‘go with the flow’.
Here is a short passage I’d like to share, it really struck a chord. Alan is describing the blossoming of a love affair with his last wife lost in the hills of California, living a time of beauty and love. Alan was a man who enjoyed the finer things in life and conveyed them in such a poetic way:
…..it was the embodiment of something I had been looking for all down the ages to be chief travelling companion-to be whisked off to a shack overlooking the Pacific, where we would sit on foggy nights by a log fire and talk over a bottle of red wine. Which was just what happened.
We had a hill cottage in Fairafx, an out-of–the-way village to the north of Tamalapais which, in times past, has often served as a congenial retreat for out-of-the-way-people.
In this sanctuary, known only to close friends, I compiled poetry and The Joyous Cosmology. Here, where Elsa had left a garden on the hill, and where the northern sky across the valley glowed green at twilight, the world woke up for me. Jano has a capacity for aesthetic absorption which reaches into pure ecstasy-in the convolutions of a leaf, the light in a drop of water, the shadows of a glass in the sun, patterns of smoke, grain in wood, mottle in polished stone. Together in this cottage we slowed down time. We watched the sun blazing from a glass of white wine and watered the garden at sunset, when the slanting light turns flowers and leaves into bloodstone and jade. We studied the forms of ferns and shells, crystals and teasels, water-flow, galaxies, radiolarian, and each other’s eyes, and looked down through those jewels to the god and the goddess that may be seen within even when the doubting expression on the face is saying “What, me?” Shankar taking hold of the primordial sound of the universe and rippling it with his fingers into all shapes, patterns, and rhythms of nature.
We found a lonely road across the mountain……..a road along lakes, through forests, and over high grassy slopes from which one could look across the Pacific, where we would stop and listen to the loneliness and the meadowlarks.
Alan W. Watts – In My Own Way, 1964
If this interests you, here’s part of an Alan lecture: