In ‘On Being God,’ Alan shares on therapy, religion, mystical experiences, & Jesus, before playing the hilarious and light-shedding role of a clinical patient who realizes they’re God.
Following in the fashion of the last episode (Zen Bones), Mark Watts introduces another big-hall presentation from Alan Watts which creatively and colorfully explores western therapy and religion in relationship to the eastern mystical or altered state experience.
This talk, aptly titled, ‘On Being God,’ was recorded in 1971 in New York City at a conference for western therapy and eastern religion, and features a unique experiment in which Alan positions himself as a clinical patient who believes themself to be God, giving way to lively, hilarious, and enlightening responses to a stream of audience questions.
Mystical Experiences // Humanity & Nature // Psychiatry & Religion
In this 1971 NYC big-hall talk, ‘On Being God,’ Alan lectures to a conference bridging western therapy and eastern religion. Adding into the mix the consciousness-changing context of the mystical experience, an exceptionally charismatic Watts offers perspective on the pitfalls and shortcomings of western psychology and religion, as well as the ever-bottle-necking relationship of humanity trying to control nature.
“The time has now dawned upon us all when our attempts to beat nature into submission are having alarming results because we see that it’s very dangerous to mess around with processes that we don’t understand, that have enormous numbers of variables, and we begin to wonder whether we hadn’t better let well enough alone.” – Alan Watts
Raghu opens into the ‘Full Ecology’ of the relationship between the natural world and human nature, on Ep. 382 of Mindrolling
Jesus & The Great Heresy // Democracy in the Kingdom of Heaven // Karma & Responsibility (23:23)
Alan offers an illuminating sermon on what Jesus represented, how he was “made irrelevant by pedestalization,” and why he “had to be kicked upstairs” due to the Great Heresy of the “Democratization of the Kingdom of Heaven” which he offered through the teaching of the indwelling cosmic consciousness and oneness available to all beings. From this lens, Alan describes how the conditioned viewpoint of separation leads to hostility and blame, rather than the responsibility of recognizing oneself as integral with nature.
“To know that you are God is another way of saying that you feel completely with this universe, you feel profoundly rooted in it and connected with it, you feel that the whole energy which expresses itself in the galaxies, is intimate. It is not something to which you are a stranger, but it is that with which you are intimately bound up, that in your seeing, your hearing, your talking, your thinking, your moving, you express that which it is that moves the sun and other stars.” – Alan Watts
Krishna Das explores Jesus, spirituality, and religion in relation to his Guru, Maharajji, on Ep. 35 of Pilgrim Heart
On Being God: Alan Watts Clinical Experience (38:38)
In hilarious and light-shedding whimsy, Alan takes on the imagined role of a clinical patient who has “gone mad” and thinks they are God. Answering a stream of audience questions from this playful perspective, Alan expounds on topics such as politics, satan, free will, technology, human desire, finding out what you want, boredom, creativity, yin and yang, rascality, heaven, hell, life, death, time, surprise, travel, myth, the present moment, learning to dance, fun, meditation, ego, witness, awareness, and nothingness.
“The universe is fundamentally a system which creeps up on itself and then says, ‘Boo!’ Then it laughs at itself for jumping. You see, every time it does it, it forgets that it did it before; so it never becomes a bore!” – Alan Watts