Alan Watts - The Smell of Burnt Almonds

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Alan Watts - The Smell of Burnt Almonds

Some time ago, I received a visit from a woman who as a result of listening to these talks, was wondering if I could help her to regain and experience what she had had while undergoing a surgical operation. As is generally known, anaesthetics sometimes induce, peculiarly vivid and unusual states of consciousness. And every now and then a person under anesthesia will undergo a specific and particular experience which is of the utmost fascination. It’s the kind of experience which I suppose we would ordinarily call mystical or spiritual, and which, while it lasts, carries the most powerful sensation of understanding with complete clarity and certainty what is the mystery and meaning of the world. This occurs sufficiently often to have been made a subject of experimentation.

Think back to school days. When with the utmost care your teacher explained over and over, the mysteries of percentage or sentence structure or Daylight Saving Time. And you consistently failed to see the point. And then suddenly something clicked in your mind. And the principle became clear. There is a Chinese poem as “Words do not make a man understand. It takes the man to understand the words.”

Alan Watts - The Smell of Burnt Almonds

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