The Best Quote I’ve Ever Heard. (Ever.)

Via Jennifer S. White
on Jul 6, 2014
get elephant's newsletter

Alan Watts

Okay, I’ve heard a lot of great quotes that could be “the best.”

This Marianne Williamson quote is forever inspiring to me and many others, for example.

I also love this quote, not by Audrey Hepburn.

Yet the simple fact exists that the quote I’m about to share is the single most encouraging string of words that has crossed my path since my dear friend and yoga teacher recited it in class a few months ago.

It’s uplifting because it’s a reminder to take heart in our humanness and the sheer power of being, even and especially on our most ordinary of days.

And, personally, the entire point of much of my writing is to emphasize how every day can be an opportunity to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Every waking moment that I inhale a new breath and then let it back out is a chance to have the best day of my life.

So, today, a seemingly ordinary day, let me share this remembrance that we are great.

“As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being.  If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, “It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.” How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment—from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies—how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?”

~ Alan Watts, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

More Alan Watts:

Alan Watts on the Meaning of Life.

Zen – The Best Of Alan Watts

Check out Walk the Talk Show // Organize your life to uplift even more:

Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Editor: Cat Beekmans

Photo: Imgur


About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


31 Responses to “The Best Quote I’ve Ever Heard. (Ever.)”

  1. yoga freedom says:

    Love it! I am reading this book right now. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. bneal817 says:

    Love Alan Watts. "Nature, Man and Woman" is also a fantastic book, one of my favs. Thanks fof sharing this little gem.

    ~ Ben

  3. @RamdasO says:

    Fantastic! Definitely puts life in the correct perspective.

    Jai Bhagwan.

  4. @natehermes says:

    well alan's quote is quite nice, but i was much more impacted by this sentence of yours: Every waking moment that I inhale a new breath and then let it back out is a chance to have the best day of my life.

    Wow. Time to start the day!

  5. Monday says:

    Love Alan Watts, but this is by far not the most enchanting of his quotes. I think sometimes these headlines have one goal alone to get clicks.

  6. jannerobinson says:


  7. Paco Sanchez says:

    Not that impressive, sorry.
    I do like elephant journal, but please keep the headlines down to earth.

  8. Vanja says:

    I do love the quote for its truths about the wonders of the current moment. I however strongly suggest to come back to earth after experiencing ones own godliness. Alan Watts was a divorced man who didn't have much of a true partnership left in his life. No wonder he wanted to remain in space, connected to source and the everlasting spirit. But most of us want to live on earth, and develop truthful connections, including the one with our true essence.

  9. Max Cottrell says:

    Great quote. Alan Watts had deep insight into human experience. However, making use of such insight, and living on it's basis is another matter. How to do that?

    When he came across "The Knee of Listening" spiritual autobiography of Adi Da Samraj, Watts responded: "It is obvious, from all sorts of details that he knows what IT's all about… a rare being."

  10. Max Cottrell says:

    Watts later said of Adi Da Samraj: "I think we have an Avatar here. I have been waiting for such a one all my life."

  11. Person says:

    Not bad for an alcoholic.

  12. Rafal says:

    Not bad (imo) for a guy who single handily mis-translated indian theology through the eyes of a fetishised western Orientalist… and set course for what is now the west's predominant religion – 'the religion of no religion' The book of the same name is a great history of our postmodernist mishmash of the god idea. The impact of this guy combining the ideas of US post-war individualism i.e. Ralph Waldo Emerson and his interpretation of indian texts as 'spiritual' was the blueprint for our 60's 'new age of Aquarius'. Despite my criticisms or his historical personal life I think he is an important figure in history. The seeds he left in his words has contributed to the idea space of the 20th century with nearly as much consequence as Darwin or Freud! pax.

  13. Mikey says:

    Mr. Watts apparently never worked a job in retail… 😀

  14. chris says:

    everybody got something to hide cept for me and my monkey

  15. kandiyoti says:

    Wow. This is pure, simple, yet stupifying! All true.

  16. Jes says:

    Thank you for these nice quotes. I’ll keep them somewhere in my soul :)

  17. Stephen says:


  18. keenan says:

    WTF !! How about this…We are "sensory" beings that miss many present enjoyments of the moment. We are so eager for tomorrow and what life brings that we miss what it means to just…

Leave a Reply