Alan Watts may be one of the most quoted, most memed, and generally shared philosophers in recent history. In part, this is true because thankfully many of his talks have been preserved and digitized, yet even more so his wisdom is completely pure and continuously relevant. I’ve been slowly taking in his book, Become What You Are, a collection of his writings and in one piece entitled, Lightness of Touch, he speaks thoughtfully on the seriousness that can overtake us as adults. At the end of the piece he offers a reminder to what we sometimes lose sight of as we grow older.
For the world of form and illusion which the majority take to be the real world is none other than the play of the Spirit, or, as the Hindus have called it, the Dance of Shiva. He is enlightened who joins in this play knowing it as play, for man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun. Thus man only becomes man when he loses the gods’ sense of levity. For the gods (or buddhas, or what you will) are simply our innermost essence, and this could shatter the universe to nothingness in a moment if it willed. But it does not, and it keeps the worlds moving for the divine purpose of play, because like a musician, it is a creator and delights in the fashioning of a rhythm and a melody. To play with it is therefore, not a duty but a joy, and he who does not see it as a joy can neither do it nor understand it.
I do so wish only to dance in this play and play in this dance for it is a wonderful thing when I am not all that concerned for what my dance looks like or who is watching. To briefly continue, here’s a short video of Alan Watts speaking on the wisdom of children and how they always bring vitality to the world reminding us to keep our steps light and playful.
Wisdom of Youth – Alan Watts