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Most of you might not be aware of who Alan Watts is, but he is actually a notable philosophical figure of our time. He recently passed away, which comes as a blow to the philosophy community, but his teachings will always be remembered through books, various recordings, and lectures that were given by him on various accounts. Watts was a pioneer in teaching the western world about eastern religious practices and Buddhism.
Alan Watts taught philosophy to be vague because he was much more than a one subject man. Alan Watts covered multiple subjects from Zen Buddhism, teachings on life, why we are, why we think about what we do, and our own feelings about who we are in this world. He really put a perspective of having an open mind. Society can seem cruel, but it is, in fact, the outcome of our world. What separates Alan Watts from other philosophers is that he could paint a picture so vividly and describe emotions so precise. He studied for many years Chinese culture and spent time in the monasteries of monks and buddhists. This journey taught him many aspects of life that he goes on to teach in his lectures. Alan Watts was no ordinary man, better described as an," out of the box thinker." His videos are broadly cast on youtube and you can find subjects that cover many, many human emotions and feelings.
According to Wikipedia: Born in Chislehurst, England, he moved to the United States in 1938 and began Zen training in New York. Pursuing a career, he attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, where he received a master's degree in theology. Watts became an Episcopal priest in 1945, then left the ministry in 1950 and moved to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies.
This synopsis was pulled from Wikipedia.
Alan Watts served a purpose, which was to enlighten and broaden the horizon of the listener. Making practical statements with "presumptuous and capricious" statements according to Wikipedia. Watts would eventually do unpaid public broadcasts for Pacifica Radio station KPFA in Berkeley. There he would begin to lecture and promote his own teachings which grew a strong fan base. Alan Watts first caught my eye when I lived in San Francisco around 2010 with his strong voice and practical phrases that were applied using zen principles. I began to listen to his hour long lectures that were posted on YouTube, and from there I actually began to broaden my horizons. Taking another perspective which during the time was very healthy for me because I found it similar to Mental Health.
Thinking outside of the box gave me clarity and an understanding of the world around me. I began to do better with these teachings, based solely on the fact that I was actually listening to what he was lecturing about.
For example, in a lecture, Watts speaks about we do things the way we do because we were taught to do them that way, and those before us. Thus, the problem is not them but in what we can do to change these circumstances of our own life. To take control and believe in one-self in achieving desired goals is possible, its just up to us to break down barriers that hold us back. Barriers that society has built that we must understand first to move past. This is the fundamentals of Mental Health, teaching us about how we can perceive the world differently than from what we were taught.
In conclusion, Alan Watts stood as a pillar for me to begin to understand my own mental health. Asking the right questions can lead to unexpected results. Clearing your mind and focusing on what you truly want to happen takes practice and knowledge. Knowledge that I learned from listening to Alan Watts lectures that has changed my life forever.
Go check out some of Alan Watts work on YouTube,
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