Earth Porn Set To Brilliant Musings On Our Place In The Universe

According to Alan Watts, there's no secret to life. That shouldn't be cause for alarm, though. Ponder the implications of nothingness for a while and see if that doesn't make you feel better.

Transcript:
Show Transcript Hide Transcript

Alan Watts: So, if you really go the whole way and see how you feel at the prospect of vanishing forever, of all your efforts and all your achievements and all your attainments turning into dust and nothingness, what is the feeling? What happens to you?

It's a curious thing. The most real state is the state of nothing. That's what it's going to all come to, and for some reason or other, we're supposed to find this depressing. But if somebody is going to argue that the basic reality is nothingness, where does all this come from? Obviously, from nothingness. So cheer up, you see. This is what is meant in Buddhist philosophy by saying we are all basically nothing. The essence of your mind – that's how it is behind your eyes – is intrinsically pure. The "pure" doesn't mean a non-dirty story state of mind, as it is apt to mean in the word "Puritan." "Pure" means clear, void.

So, you know the story. When the Sixth Patriarch was given his office as successor because he was truly enlightened, there was a poetry contest. And the losing one wrote the idea that the mind, the consciousness, was like a mirror which had to be polished, and, constantly, I have to polish my mirror. I have to purify my mind, see, so that I am detached and calm and clear-headed, you know, Buddha.

But the one who won the contest said there is no mirror, and the nature of the mind is intrinsically void, so where is there anywhere for dust to collect? By seeing that nothingness is the fundamental reality, and you see it's your reality, then how can anything contaminate you? All the idea of your being scared and put out and worried, and so on, is just nothing. It's a dream, because you're really nothing.

But this is the most incredible nothing. If you think of this nothingness as mere blindness, and you hold onto the idea of blindness, and are kind of grisly about it, you haven't understood it. Nothingness is really like the nothingness of space, which contains the whole universe. All the sun and the stars and the mountains and rivers and the good men and the bad men and the animals and the insects, the whole bit, all are contained in void. So out of this void comes everything, and you are it.

And so what I am showing you is that all this hocus-pocus about the fear of nothingness is that, truly speaking, nothingness is what we want to talk about when we talk about the spiritual. Only, it's all been ignored. It's all been put down. You say, "Oh, nothingness. Blech! Heaven preserve us from that." But that's where the secret lies, and, obviously, the secret always lies in the place you'd never think of looking for it.

There may be small errors in this transcript.
About:

This nature highlight reel was created by David Martell and stars the voice and writing of the great Alan Watts.

Topics:

Next bit of Upworthiness:

Flash Video Embed

This video is not supported by your device. Continue browsing to find other stuff you'll love!

Hey, Internet Friend. Looks like you're using a crazy old web browser, which is no longer supported. Please consider upgrading to something more modern—for a better experience, and a safer time online. We only want the best for you.

Download Google Chrome, and try it for a week. Don't think about it, just do it. You'll thank us later.