This Is It and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience by Alan W. Watts

By Alan W. Watts

The six essays during this quantity all take care of the connection of mystical adventure to bland lifestyles. The identify essay on "cosmic awareness" contains the author's account of his personal ventures into this inward realm. "Instinct, Intelligence, and nervousness" is a learn of the paradoxes of self-consciousness; "Spiritually and Sensuality," a full of life dialogue of the fake competition of spirit and subject; and "The New Alchemy," a balanced account of states of realization reminiscent of religious adventure caused by way of the help of lysergic acid. the gathering additionally comprises the textual content of Watts' celebrated pamphlet, "Beat Zen, sq. Zen, and Zen."

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Sample text

But the disappearance of the effort to let go is precisely the disappearance of the separate thinker, of the egl> trying to watch the mind without interfering. not-accepting. For a second the thinker seems to be responding to the flow of thought with the im­ mediacy of a mirror image, and then suddenly it dawns that there is no mirror and no image. There is simply the flow of thought-one after another without inter­ ference-and the mind really knows itself. There is no separate mind which stands aside and looks at it.

I lIaw sometimes said that if we ... m. - What they mean Is that aU thJDgs ae in re1atfaD; and thus that-amsldered simply by .... nt, has any realit;y. There seem to be relatbely few people, even in the clvilfutions of Alla,' . for·wJaD JelatfoDshfp is an actual 1eDSItkm. 09W 'aDd­ above a mere idea. ciowI.. Wi1l with D&ture. both iB ad ..... unless it is a matter of clear sensation that as determined beings we are free, and that as free beings we are determined. For if we can feel this way. it will �ot appear that the use of will and intelligence is a conBict with our natural environ­ ment and endowment.

FUrthermore, it· seemS that living in a civilized, society calls for a wa y of thinking and acting entirely-dif­ ferent from the wap of animals, insects, and plants. ()r. dmarily this is called, rather vaguely, the way of intellf. -. over a� the way of instiDct. relwe -ta. T HIS IS IT is roughly that action by instinct is spontaneous, whereas action by intelligence involves a difficult process of anal­ ysis, prediction, and decision. , Both forms of action are astonishingly s'ki1Iful, though thus far it seems that the way of intelligence is the bet­ ter guarantor of survival-at least 1n so far as its appli­ cation in technology has increased our 'average life ex­ pectancy by some twenty years.

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