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Still the Mind: An Introduction to Meditation

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  733 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Mark Watts compiled this book from his father’s extensive journals and audiotapes of famous lectures he delivered across the country. In three parts, Alan Watts -- the author of The Way of Zen and The Joyous Cosmology -- explains the basic philosophy of meditation, how individuals can practice a variety of meditations, and how inner wisdom grows naturally.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 22nd 2002 by New World Library (first published 2000)
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Jan 23, 2008 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people interested in buddhism/meditation, tortla
Shelves: favorites, own, fix-me
Very enjoyable and lighthearted and insightful/deep at the same time. Alan Watts sounds like he was a great guy. I wanted to quote a lot of this book, but it seriously would have been like every line in the book. I think my lilbro would like this.
Matt Vandegriff
Oct 20, 2013 Matt Vandegriff rated it liked it
I love Alan Watts. This book is more of an edited collection of bits of lectures and writing compiled not by Alan. As such it's not as focused and doesn't have the thorough digestion of topic that his other true books possess which explains my average rating. I would suggest, for a Watts newcomer, to start with Wisdom of Insecurity or The Book on the Taboo of Knowing Who You Are.
Bryan Duffy
Sep 28, 2007 Bryan Duffy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People intersted in Meditation
This book was the first Alan Watts book I read. Its more like a daily reminder book. Its bits and pieces of his lectures put into a book. Its good to carry around with you if you are having a confusing day. Something to go to and just get lost in.

Its not really a HOW TO book per say, but it is A HOW TO HOW TO Book.

Thats the best way I can describe it.

Read other books by him first.

Once again,
Positive Reading.
Excellent read. Alan Watts has incredible talent presenting his ideas with great lucidity. I am a big fan. Enjoy how he can take difficult concepts, especially for the western mind, and make them seem if not obvious at least intelligible.
Jan 28, 2013 Nisha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, buddhism
A lovely and amusing lecture by Mr. Watts, but I don't know why this is titled as an introduction to meditation. I doubt a beginner would find much useful here, but it's an enjoyable deconstruction of self and effort.
Dec 06, 2010 Ben rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An excellent, non-methodical, musing on the essence of meditation itself, and a great introduction into the mind and teachings of Alan Watts. Playful yet deep, simple yet transforming, this is a short book with endless meaning.
Sep 05, 2010 Teddy rated it really liked it
Good introduction to meditation. Ironically, it gave me a lot to think about not thinking.
Quentin Crisp
Jul 07, 2016 Quentin Crisp rated it really liked it
There are some things on which I agree with Watts and others on which I don't. But perhaps the biggest question I have is, since what Watts is advocating seems to be a kind of radical non-interference, does it make any difference to anything? Is it meant to? One might even be forgiven for thinking you could summarise Watts's entire oeuvre as, "Keep calm and carry on. Or don't. It's up to you, really. And, by you, I mean, the universe."

But we are in the realm of paradox here. As the title sugges
Jul 15, 2015 Catie rated it really liked it
"The whole energy of the universe is coming at you and through you, and you are that energy."

"We may think we will become nothing, but what we don't realize is that nothing, in its own way, is as important as something."

"People become concerned with being more humble than other people."

After all, to be human you have to have within you a touch of rascality."

"A person who is looking for peace is obviously in turmoil."

"If you want to see something clearly, you relax, and instead of making an effor
Aug 20, 2011 James rated it it was ok
Shelves: buddhism
I don't think it is overstating that the biggest challenge to robust Christian commitment in America today is its fascination with Eastern religion, often morphing on American soil. Alan Watts was a popularizer of Zen Buddhism in the 60's and 70's. This book is a compilation of lectures that Watts delivered on the topic of meditation. As you would expect, there is a great deal of practical wisdom and social critique. The non-striving, non-manipulating approach to meditation is instructive for Ch ...more
Sep 26, 2007 Eric rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: meditators, philosophers

Not for everyone, it's more of Watts' personal take on letting go and living in the 'Eternal Now' than a practical guide on exactly what to do in order to meditate. I find it an interesting take on why a person would engage in meditation, but if you're like me you'll also want a guidebook with specific instruction on how to sit, breathe, etc., exactly what to do. It's interesting but limited in its usefulness, at least it was for me.
Teo 2050
53min @ 1.5x. Brief contents:
(view spoiler)
Nov 29, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it
While this is a transcription of talks Alan Watts gave, the material is great. Like the Jon Kabat-Zinn book I just finished, Watts puts the focus on just being with each moment - including all the noise in one's head - to acknowledge it happening as it happens and become centered.
Jun 21, 2014 Daniel rated it it was amazing
An enjoyable perspective on Zen, existence, wholeness, the illusion of separateness, mindfulness, and enjoyment. Oh he good.
Feb 17, 2010 Omri rated it it was amazing
A wonderful introduction to the philosophy of Alan Watts, which seamlessly brings Eastern ideas to a Western audience.

"Alan Watts is able to use words to take us beyond them."
4 "i"
Jun 25, 2008 4 "i" rated it it was amazing
This is a great read for those trying to grasp meditation and it's value to the human experience.
Joshua Mitchell
Jan 14, 2014 Joshua Mitchell rated it it was amazing
I love his work. Very interesting and straight forward. Very easy to read!
Ross Cohen
Apr 05, 2016 Ross Cohen rated it it was amazing
Unpretentious and illuminating.
Ankur Banerjee
Feb 14, 2013 Ankur Banerjee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy and simple in words and quite enlightening, without going too much into terminology. Many one-liners that sum up Zen concepts succinctly.
Oct 21, 2015 Jilles rated it really liked it
Beautiful and very insightful book about meditation.
Cody Cummings
May 21, 2015 Cody Cummings rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. The perfect guide to any kind of meaningful meditation practice.
Casey Lange
Jul 28, 2016 Casey Lange rated it really liked it
This book is a wonderful collection of thoughts and ideas by Alan Watts, though it felt a bit disorganized. I’m a big fan of the guy, and my wife and I are currently making our way through his lecture “Out of Your Mind,” which we are finding to be quite the enlightening journey. But this book just seems a bit chaotic. It reminds me of a book I read about a month ago about Lao Tzu, in that they were both full of colourful analogies and concepts, but the presentation was a bit off.

The things I li
Charles Zardo
Dec 06, 2016 Charles Zardo rated it really liked it
I picked up a used copy of Still the Mind while on a bike tour with the intention of ditching it once I was done. However, now after reading it I think it'll serve as a good resource to check in with from time to time. Not everything made perfect sense but maybe it will someday or maybe it just doesn't really matter. On a similar note, I've struggled with the breathing technique Alan Watts describes near the end. I've practiced breathing techniques in the past and, like any good meditator, have ...more
Rioza Ki
Oct 28, 2016 Rioza Ki rated it did not like it
this book is full of nonsense and reading it is a complete waste of time
one of those nonsensical points is when he mentioned that he doesn’t take the universe(life) seriously because taking life seriously is what makes troubles?!
if life is not serious what is, just imagine what would people do if they all think that this is not serious and that actions doesn’t have consequences? this is the definition of trouble.
also, what will happen when we die is irrelevant? Let’s discuss that after we all di
Jan 19, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
This is a book where the forest is greater than the trees. At times, the book is impossible to figure out but if you stick with it, the while philosophical outlook, which combines a kind of positive existentialism with Buddhism, becomes more clear. It's one of those books that says things like you are nothing and your are all, which sounds like it makes no sense but Watts eventually elaborates such that it starts to make some sense. This is not a trendy self help book at all.
Dec 08, 2008 Andrew rated it liked it
Read in 2003 (2 stars) as well as 2016 (3 stars). I found slightly more value in this book the second time through- but much of it I still find too circular in style. The author mentions he is writing for his own amusement which makes it somewhat understandable, but no more intelligible. The Way of Zen is definitely better.
A great introduction to meditation, and its benefits.

"We are aware of these changes only because of the contrast within them. Of course you would not know something was on if it did not occasionally go off, and you would not know it was off if it did not sometimes go on. So I have often asked the question “How would you know you are alive unless you had once been dead?”"
Oct 09, 2015 Min rated it liked it
The majority of the book, the first two chapters, is about slipping one into a Zen perspective of reality and the meaning of 'I'. The last two chapters give a grounding for someone new to the very idea of meditation. Watts is articulate expressing Buddhist ideas to Westerns. I hoped the book would focus more on meditation itself. That was far too brief a section.
Karson Gibson
Jan 21, 2017 Karson Gibson rated it it was amazing
Alan watts constructs words in such a way where you don't feel knowledge being learned or understood but rather a form of movement, or a dance, with experience itself. Takes you deeper into your mind and forces a sense of liberation for all who seek it.
Aug 19, 2016 Lynne rated it it was ok
Oh boy...checked this out on recommendation from a friend. So weird. Now...I did the audio version...and, honestly, it sounded like something that escaped from Guyana from the Jim Jones days. While, I'm totally down with meditation...maybe this was a bit too remedial, and woo-woo for me?
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Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer and speaker, who held both a Master's in Theology and a Doctorate of Divinity. Famous for his research on comparative religion, he was best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Asian philosophies for a Western audience. He wrote over 25 books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, higher con ...more
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“People become concerned with being more humble than other people.” 54 likes
“when somebody plays music, you listen. you just follow those sounds, and eventually you understand the music. the point can't be explained in words because music is not words, but after listening for a while, you understand the point of it, and that point is the music itself. in exactly the same way, you can listen to all experiences.” 28 likes
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