“To the Taoist mentality, the aimless, empty life does not suggest anything depressing. On the contrary, it suggests the freedom of clouds and mountain streams, wandering nowhere, of flowers in impenetrable canyons, beautiful for no one to see, and of the ocean surf forever washing the sand, no end.” ~Alan Watts
— Photo by Mohamed Nohassi
Perhaps I’ve mentioned before that Alan Watts helped to westernize Eastern philosophies in the 1960’s and 70’s. Never dull and often controversial, he became a clarion voice for spiritual awakening among eager young-adult seekers.
He’s always worth a listen on YouTube as his post-hummus fan base seems to grow larger by the day which amazes me in one sense. But in another, people now seem more needy of his jocular, tell-it-straight version of how to find yourself and your purpose in life, which for him to sum it up in minimal words would have been: “Shut up. Open your eyes and your mind, and just breathe into life.”
I like his quote above because it soothes my inner restlessness when I feel like I’m not ‘doing enough’ or ‘making a difference for others,’ or whenever I just plain feel purposeless at the moment.
An “…aimless, empty life does not suggest anything depressing. On the contrary, it suggests the freedom of clouds and mountain streams, wandering nowhere, of flowers in impenetrable canyons, beautiful for no one to see, and of the ocean surf forever washing the sand, no end.”
When you take the ‘ego’ out of this world—the narcissistic ‘ME-ness’ out of life’s equation, you realize that the tree does fall in the forest whether anyone hears it or not, but it matters only to egoic us that we DO hear it.
In truth the clouds and mountain streams still meander wherever they wish, whether we are there or not to witness it; and wildflowers still bloom in places we may never see, while the rolling surf endlessly slips in and out of the shoreline oblivious to human observation. They have as much ‘purpose’ in the overall life process as we will ever have, but they don’t question why they are doing what they are—they just do it.
So as Watts might advise: Just BE. Just breathe. Just appreciate the moment. You are here.
Isn’t that enough?