Tag Archives: Alan Watts

The wave doesn’t drive the ship


wattsatkingsschool“See, memory is an illusion – it’s all gone – so everything you know about, that makes an impression on you, is no longer there. That memory has got you hooked – it holds you to the past, and it holds you to death. But on the other hand, what is life, except there is a memory, except there is an echo. So, the course of time is really very much like the course of a ship in the ocean. It leaves behind it a wave, and that tells us where the ship has been, in just the same way as the past and our memory of the past tells us what we have done. Now the important thing to remember in this illustration is that the wave doesn’t drive the ship. So you see, if you insist on being determined by the past, that’s your game. But the fact of the matter is: it all starts right now.” – Alan Watts

The Dream of Life



If you awaken from this illusion
and you understand that black implies white
self implies other
life implies death
or shall I say death implies life
you can feel yourself.
Not as a stranger in the world.
Not as something here on probation.
Not as something that has arrived here by fluke.
But you can begin to feel your own existence
as absolutely fundamental.
I’m not trying to sell you on this idea
in the sense of converting you to it.
I want you to play with it.
I want you to think of its possiblities.
I’m not trying to prove it
I’m just putting it forward as a possibility of life to think about
So then…
Let’s suppose that you were able every night,
to dream any dream you wanted to dream.
And that you could for example have the power
within one night to dream seventy five years of time.
Or any length of time you wanted to have.
And you would naturally, as you began on this adventure of dreams,
you would fulfill all your wishes.
You would have every kind of pleasure.
And after several nights
of seventy five years of total pleasure each,
you would say “Well that was pretty great!”
But now let’s – let’s have a surprise”.
“Let’s have a dream which isn’t under control”.
“Where something is going to happen to me
but I don’t what it’s going to be.”

And you would dig that
And come out of that you’d say
“Wow that was a close shave wasn’t it?”
Then you would get more and more adventurous
and you would make further and further gambles
to what you would dream.
Finally you would dream where you are now.
You would dream the dream of living the life
that you are actually living today.
That would be within the infinite multiplicity
of choices that you would have.
Of playing that you weren’t God.
Because the whole nature of the God in you
according to this idea, is to play that he’s not.
So in this idea then, everybody is fundamentally
the ultimate reality, not God in a politically kingly sense,
but God in the sense of being the self.
The deep down basics, whatever there is.
And you’re all that.
Only your pretending your not.