Why this book?
Sometime last year I sumbled upon an old podcast with some lectures of Alan Watts. I listened to “The Mystery Of Time” and became inspired. I still have to listen to a lot of his lectures but these are the kind of stories you have to take your time to think about it. Lately I’ve been struggling with some anxiety – well this has been a demon for me for most of my life – and when I was searching Goodreads for some recommendations, this book popped up.
What did learn?
That the past and future are an illusion – there is only one reality and that is now. I cannot be certain about the future, nor can I be certain of what was – I can only be certain of what is. Right now. At this moment.
When you fail to realize this, you will constantly long for “something” in the future or mourn “something” that has already happened (and is gone forever). Doing so you will never be at peace, you will never enjoy the current present moment and will longing forever and forever be in unrest – so much that there will be no point in living at all.
That when the mind and body are out of sync, you will feel off. The head cannot live without its body – and trying to do so causes very severe internal termouil.
What was it’s impact?
This book has changed my life forever. While I am still learning – it already has lifted a bunch of anxiety. I consiously remind myself to really be aware of the present. Asking myself “is this ok?” Or “do you really want to do this now?” Or “how do you really feel”.
It made me feel more in control b/c I see now that the only thing I can control is this very moment. It doesn’t matter what the past was, it doesn’t matter how the future will be – the only thing that matters is right now. This very moment. You are reborn and die every minute of the day.
What was annoying?
The fact that Alan is a theologist and this book is a few decades old, results in quite a lot of “God” in it. It gets annoying – even if Alan defined “God” as in a “something we cannot explain and just is, something higher that cannot be defined” it still takes a while to get used to it.