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5.0 out of 5 starsFull of Wisdom and Insight
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2016
I found this wise and insightful book to be the perfect antidote to much of what is wrong with Western spirituality these days. On the one hand, we have the Richard Dawkinses and Sam Harrises of this world who try to persuade us that it is all nonsense and that Godless humanism is the way of the future. At the other extreme, we have the Choo Thomases and Todd Burpos of this same world who remain stuck in a 2,000-year Biblical time warp, unable to see that it is time to move on to something that is more relevant to the here and now. Alan Watts may not have all the answers to our search for meaning in life, but it is clear that his view of spirituality is one well worth pondering. He takes us back to the earliest periods of time when mankind first stood up on two feet, stared up at the sky and began wondering what might be out there. He reminds us that then we were fully part of nature with no desire, as now, to fight and conquer it. Most refreshingly, in sharp contrast to the often complicated and opaque religious views of the founding fathers of Western philosophy (Locke, Leibniz and Hobbes, for example), his view of our place in the universe is compelling, simply because it is so clear and direct and, for that reason, highly believable. At a time when so many faiths exist side by side in our world, whose differences often serve to undermine their stated goals of universal peace and harmony, Watts provides a compelling way forward by proposing that we seek ultimate meaning within ourselves through meditation and cultivating the awareness that now is the only time there is.
Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2017
I've read lots of Alan Watts' books since my 91 year old Mom first introduced me to him via his Sunday morning radio programs in the 1960s. But this particular book (including Mark Watts' Introduction) may be my favorite because it is so experiential. I read it on a pretty much on-going basis and find that, after a passage or so, I can move quite easily into meditation for a bit and then return to reading if I wish. My thanks to Mark Watts for his wonderful work transcribing his Dad's very special talks.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe book is great. The audio book is also good
Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2017
The book is great. The audio book is also good. But they are NOT the same thing. The text and the recording are COMPLETELY different. Don't buy the audio format if what you're planning to do is listen while you read. The only thing they share is the same artwork on the cover.
The opening section to this book was a lot of waffle, it had a point but definetly felt like padding. The second and third parts were ok. This book was written before the advent of youtube, if you are looking for an in depth look at meditation and those sorts of spiritual practices, this isnt the book.
Despite being a small book, which I'm sure can be read in one sitting, this is a deeply contemplative and philosophical gem. You will want to read this book over and over again, it's depths will take you to the depths of your own self. Since reading this book I have begun to meditate, with awareness, in most aspects of my life - work, socialising and rest. I have never been so conscious of my breath and the breath of the universe that breathes within me. Enjoy, accept your being.