Alan Watts: You are not a Noun.

Via on Jun 11, 2011
Painting by Alex Grey

“Allowing thought to be a reflection of change is sanity.”

Alan Watts use to compare life to music. The point of music is music. People enjoy listening to music for the rhythm, the stream of melody. No one is listening to music to hear it end. If they were, then, as Watts suggested, their favorite songs would be the ones that ended immediately, with one single uproar of noise. Life is the same way. The point of Life is Life, to participate in the melody or live. The only way to participate is through simple awareness.

The problem is, we see ourselves as some permanent thing apart from the music, so we are all the time trying to pause the song so that we can relate with it. We are far too busy conjuring up fantasies, and trying to impregnate reality with them, to experience “one-ment” with the music, to actually hear the song.

The ego is nothing more than a concept, a mental formation. In-&-of itself, this concept has no meaning; it is just a collection of thoughts swirling around an empty center. This empty center is the space that thought percieves as threatning.

The ego derives a sense of purpose or direction from its interactions with “other.” It seeks to ignore the empty center by stuffing it full of expired experiences. It is the ultimate hoarder! The ego constructs meaning or identity through its associations with “everything else.” So the ego is not only a concept, it is a concept which is defined by things that are other than ego…

The ego is dependent upon relationship or entertainment, which is dependent upon separation. So, the ego has to experience itself as distinct and separate from life. As a result, we are discontented or feel lifeless.

Upholding this segregationist stance is necessary if any sort of relationship or interaction with life is to be possible. It is through this relationship with “everything else” that the “ego” receives a receipt, a proof of purchase so to speak. Based on the vouchers ego has managed to stockpile throughout its many lives, a type of identity is formed. It is this relationship with the “everything else” category that defines the ego, but in order to have this relationship there must be some-thing other than ego, and therefore distance or space between the two. The ego’s very existence is dependent upon freezing or preserving this contrived unit of separation.

We have to accept the fact that we cannot wrestle happiness out of this world simply by putting life in a head-lock, and forcing it to play with us. We have to see that life is change, change is life; that they are one in the same thing. Furthermore, we are not somehow other than this change, we are Life. Life is a process, and we are a dimension of this process. The point of life is to flow, to live. In order to flow, we must remain empty. In doing so, we rediscover sanity. Then, we are revealed to be an expression of the intelligence embedded in the present moment.

Allowing thought to be a reflection of change is sanity. From this point of view, thought is always fresh because, life is always changing. This is original thought.

~From Life as Meaning and Life Is Verbing by Benjamin Riggs

Alan Watts use to compare life to music…

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About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist & Christian spirituality and politics for The Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, The Web of Enlightenment, and is the editor & chief for Henry Harbor--an online magazine concerned with art, culture, spirituality, & politics in the deep South. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter. Looking for a real bio? Click here to read my story....

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