Tag Archives: alan wats

like the reflections of birds flying over water

The student of Zen is confronted by a master who has himself experienced awakening, and is in the best sense of the expression a completely natural man. For the adept in Zen is one who manages to be human with the same artless grace and absence of inner conflict with which a tree is a tree. Such a man is likened to a ball in mountain stream, which is to say that he cannot be blocked, stopped, or embarassed in any situation. He never wobbles or dithers in his mind, for though he may pause in overt action to think a problem out, the stream of his consciousness always moves straight ahead without being caught in the vicious¬†circles of anxiety or indecisive doubt, wherein thought whirls wildly around without issue. He is not precipitate or hurried in action, but simply continuous. This is what Zen means by being detached – not being without emotion or feeling, but being one in whom feeling is not sticky or blocked, and through whom the experiences of the world pass like the reflections of birds flying over water. Although possessed of complete inner freedom, he is not, like the libertine, in revolt against social standards, nor, like the self-rigtheous, trying to justify himself. He is all of a piece with himself and with the natural world, and in his presence you feel that without strain or artifice he is completely “all here” — sure of himself without the slightest trace of aggression. He is thus the grand seigneur, the spiritual aristrocrat comparable to the type of worldly aristocrat who is so sure of the position given to him by birth that he has no need to condescend or put on airs. – Alan Watts,¬†This is It

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