Alan Watts - Spiritual Authority

Alan Watts - Spiritual Authority Pt. I

I may take the liberty of beginning by saying something about myself and my role in talking to you about philosophical matters, because I wanted to be understood perfectly clearly that I’m not a guru. In other words, I talk about what we call these things and that comprises a multitude of interests concerning oriental philosophy, psychotherapy, religion, mysticism, etc. I talk about these things because I’m interested in them and because I enjoy talking about them. And every sensible person makes his living by doing what he enjoys doing, and that explains me.

However, I do want to point this out. What is the source of a guru’s authority? He can tell you that he can speak from experience. That he has experienced states of consciousness which have made him profoundly blissful or understanding or compassionate or whatever it may be. And you have his word for it. You have the word of other people who likewise agree with him. But each one of them and you in turn, agree with him out of your own opinion and by your own judgment. And so it is you that are the source of the teacher’s authority.

Well there are all sorts of ways of trying to escape from the human predicament of being a lonely, isolated consciousness in the midst of this enormous and wayward not-self. We can of course, try to beat the game on a material basis by becoming very wealthy or very powerful. We may resort to all kinds of technology to get rid of our sufferings, hunger, pain, sickness, and so forth. But it will be noticed that as we succeed in these enterprises, we’re not satisfied. In other words, if you feel at this moment that an increase in income would solve your problems, and you got an increase in income, this would give you a pleasant feeling for a few weeks.
But then, as you well know if that’s ever happened to you, the feeling wears off and you may stop worrying about paying your debts and start worrying about whether you will get sick. There is always something to worry about.

Alan Watts - Spiritual Authority Pt. II

Imagine for a moment that it was your privilege to have a brief interview with God, in the course of which you were allowed to ask one question. What would you ask? Now you would have to think this over very carefully, because this golden opportunity would come to you only once and you would have to be most careful that you didn’t ask a silly question.

So many people say in the course of there Zen training, I realized there was nothing to realize. It was all there from the beginning. Because you see standing up as to the realization that you can’t do anything about it. Equivalently that you can do nothing about it. Comes to costly awakening that the reason for that is there is no you separate from you. In other words, when you try to control your thoughts, or control your feelings there is no difference between the thoughts and the controller. Because what you call the thinker is simply your thought of yourself, the thinker is a sort of monks was and the feeler is a feeling a feeling among feelings. And trying to control thoughts the thoughts just like trying to bite your own teeth.

Karma is simply, that you don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.

If that is the case, that it’s all because you are doing. Why meditate? Why do anything of a so-called spiritual nature? People don’t understand really what meditation is. They take it up, like they take up psychotherapy or a course in weight reduction. In order to be better. But if you do that. You are not practicing what is called jnana or yoga or Zen. That’s not it at all. Meditation is the one human activity which has no purpose.

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