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Out of Your Mind: Tricksters, Interdependence, and the Cosmic Game of Hide and Seek

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,742 ratings  ·  170 reviews
In order to come to your senses, Alan Watts often said, you sometimes need to go out of your mind. Perhaps more than any other teacher in the West, this celebrated author, former Anglican priest, and self-described spiritual entertainer was responsible for igniting the passion of countless wisdom seekers to the spiritual and philosophical delights of India, China, and ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published March 1st 2017 by Sounds True (first published 1998)
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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 ·  1,742 ratings  ·  170 reviews


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Will
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Unhappy Westerners
Shelves: theoretical
Alan Watts is a pure delight. It's like meditation for the miserably Western! And don't worry! You can put your mindbrain at ease because Alan won't judge you for not being able to glint cosmic understanding from drum circles, patchouli, and tofu farts. Instead, he'll delve into etymological quandaries, expose and examine the problems of polarity, and tell you a couple of jokes along the way--all without saying "dude," "totally," or "dig it..." I can't say enough about this man's autodidactic ...more
Lindu Pindu
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This is one to listen to again and again. Watts has done a brilliant job of summing up Zen Buddhism mixing it up with Pantheism, and what sounds to me like a Jungian view of the Self and the Ego. I can’t understand why people accuse him of recycling other ideas he’s heard. Granted, but he showcases them in a way that’s both spiritual and fun. Nothing wrong with that. I’ll be revisiting this lecture series.
Ravi Raman
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don't pass along 5-star reviews lightly. This is the second Watts book (the other being "The Book") to garner a full rating. Watts is commonly referred to as a "spiritual entertainer" is steeped in Western and Eastern religious traditions. He was an Anglican Minister for a time, but also was one of the foremost Western experts on Zen. His knowledge of Vedanta (the basis of Hindu religion and culture) is also vast.

The premise of the book is that there is a bigger game being played around us.
...more
Bo
just absolutely vital, beautiful and liberating. i listened to these a lot when i was traveling alone and heartbroken in the caucasus mountains, and watts' voice, day in and day out, challenged my intellect and spirit, and gave me more perspective and peace of mind than i had ever known. he doesn't offer answers, in terms of religion or spirituality or metaphysics, but instead as a scholar on buddhism and the hindu faith, applies the core values and beliefs of each faith and challenges his ...more
Jeffrey Howard
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading Alan Watts is an experience in osmosis for me. The themes and approach in each of his books are similar, straightforward, in a way, but a bit tricky; each time I encounter one of his books—or lectures—I breathe in a new way of liberation, a little bit deeper. I walk away more aware, less rigid, more open.

Zen manifests in surprising ways. Insights can take years to uncover, if we're struggling too much with them, or they can be ever-present, mere moments away—once we stop seeking them.

...more
Robert
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was thinking back the other day to the year 2008. It was a time of great change for me and so many unsettling developments had got me questioning my sense of direction. During this time, I suppose I was trying to find stability even while everything that had supported my sense of stability, even my sense of identity, was being challenged. Made redundant from a good job and then running an unprofitable small business, I had called off an engagement, been forced to sell my house, and—on top of ...more
Alex
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-again
This dude Alan is insane in the membrane. He provides some humbling perspectives and interesting, if not always agreeable, insights. Worth a listen though far better off read slowly.

V2
Signal to noise ratio isn't the best in the industry. Still, he's got some of the same talent as McKenna for capturing the seemingly inexplicable. Also a knack for scholarly theistic criticism I can dig.
Aviva Shore
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every so often while listening to Allan watts I make the mistake of trying to understand what he's saying, which is possible, it just hurts my brain. Experiencing is the best way to go about absorbing this content.
Dawn
Alan Watts is just incredible.

Would highly recommend.

Sessions 10-12 were for me, the best.

His lectures are timeless, entertainingly conveyed, and extremely thought provoking.

Sam
Feb 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve come across Alan Watts quite a few times, in quotes and listened to parts of his talks on YouTube in the form of inspirational videos, and always found his words to be thought provoking. Yet I found these talks to be quite bland and repetitive, which makes me feel that Alan Watts was somewhat rehearsed in what he says, and this made his words feel less authentic. I also found it really odd the frequency at which he laughed at his own words, given they are rehearsed, and how the audience ...more
Nick Kroger
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to 10 hours straight of these lectures from Ohio to NYC. It’s addictive, creative, strange, lucid, and hilarious. Mr. Watts is—as he proclaims—“a spiritual entertainer”, and I would like to recommend these lectures in such a fashion: they’re entertainment. They shouldn’t be taken as a crutch.

As Watts would say: “when you get the message, hang up the phone”
Torgeir Andresen
Alan Watts, one of the greatest minds to walk this earth. So simple, yet so profound ...more
Peter
Oct 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've got 12 hours to kill, this will blow your mind all over the place. Alan Watts covers a pretty full spectrum of human experience in this one.
Michele
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this over the course of many months, which worked well for me. I have to be in a certain mood to fully appreciate Watts, and doing so at a leisurely pace gave me plenty of time to absorb. Though these lectures were recorded decades ago, their wisdom is as relevant as ever. Alan Watts deserves to be listened to. Hearing him in his own words, at his own pace, gives more dimension to his teaching than reading his words alone. Would highly recommend to anyone interested in a bit of ...more
Mack Hayden
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, philosophy
I could listen to this guy talk all day. Even if I don't agree with everything he says, he's the sort of thinker that undoubtedly expands your own worldview and increases your appreciation for life, the universe, and everything. Great overviews of Hindu, Vedantic, and Buddhist thought in here, all told with as much levity as depth.
Atul Pandey
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Philosophy is sometimes necessary in an individual's life in order to bring out the inside child for whom once the universe was wonder-filled but slowly while growing up it got used to the world and it became a habit. In order to keep this faculty of wonder, of being astonished seeing the world philosophy is necessary . It's like the magic trick of taking the Rabbit out of hat the how part is not important .... mystery that follows bewilderment is worth the show.
Blake Charlton
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a fascinating set of lectures that reflect as much, if not more, of mid 20th century anglo-american thought, as of the ancient far eastern spiritual practices they purport to. of interest also to bay area historians since watts's adopted home was the north bay.
Bod Adegboyega
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Watts was the man! Great stuff
Joshua Byrd
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not too bad. He's a bit dated I think.
Nate
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Out of your mind: awakening is an escape from illusory sensory experience into being fully present, absent-minded. Myths are images: beliefs of what the world is supposed to be like, and according to logic.

In genesis, we are made to believe we’re artifacts, “made” by the world, and can make the world in different ways. To “grow” is from the inside-out, and to be “made” is from the outside-in. Our physical image of the world is nothing more than a self-moving set of patterns: a dance of matter.
...more
Turki Al-Turki
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eye opening, mind widening , life changing.. what can I say?
Johannes Nilsson
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A perfect collection of Alan Watts' greatest teachings and lectures. I've listened to the lectures of "Out of Your Mind" from Sounds True before, but to be able to read and digest it through a whole different medium was beautiful. Robert Lee did a wonderful job condensing these talks into a very readable and enjoyable book.
Zarathustra Goertzel
Hard to review or rate this book. My first (and likely only) taste of Alan Watts. Maybe I'll listen to a rant of his sometime.

There are many poignant, almost beautiful passages.

The portrayal of life as a drama with all characters played by Brahman the one and same is nicely done.
As is the evocation of how life can equally be viewed as a trap or as play.
Some decent points about "attachment" (fixation) and illusion of control.

Watts' take on Zen and gurus is amusing: the guru merely wants to help
...more
Hans
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alan Watts brings a sharp and stunning clarity to mankind's most complicated spiritual concepts. I will always be in-debated to him for helping to expand my world view in a manner that works for me. Whenever I find myself suffering from existential angst I read Alan Watts and it calms me back down to the point where I can enjoy wherever I am in life.

So for anyone who finds themselves struggling with the spiritual or religious norms of their wider culture Alan Watts is for you. He will help
...more
Andy
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life-changers
Wow. I’ve learned so much.

My favourite and the most life giving thing I learned can be summed up in these three quotes:

“Work is something serious that you do for a purpose because you believe that you’ve got to go on living; you work to survive, because you think you have to survive.”
“Play is that which is done just for itself—for fun.”
“The world is play.”
Isaac
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A mix of Zen Buddhism, western psychology, and the hippie movement, delivered by a man who tickles himself to death. If you nod along with him you're hip and with it, if not, man, you're just a square.
Ross Cohen
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Vintage Watts, though nothing new.
Lup
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lent, owned
The illusion is there.
Now it's not.
Chad
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book seems to be compiled from transcriptions of lectures given by Alan Watts. While I suppose that's about the best you can do with an author who has been dead for about 45 years, it does leave a subtle feeling of emptiness when reading through it. There doesn't seem to be an overarching message of the book. There doesn't seem to be a structured progression from simple concepts to profound.

This is a great introduction to Buddhism. But the book never really explains that it's going to be an
...more
Patrick
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alan Watts' introductory lectures on Eastern philosophy. Wonderful to listen to, as the man himself tells us about "The Self" (tm) and how everything and everyone in the universe is connected, and how Zen Buddhists like to troll those who ask stupid questions.

There's a lot to be said for this kind of non-religious spirituality. One that doesn't rely on mind-numbing rituals or blind devotion, but instead requires needs you to realize something.
What that something is, is apparently easily
...more
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4,229 followers
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 ...more
“Everything is change. Nothing can be held on to. And if you go with the flux, you flow with it. However, if you resist the stream, it fights you. If you realize this, you swim with the flow—you go with it, and you’re at peace. This is particularly true when it comes to those moments when life really seems to be taking us away, and the stream of change is going to swallow us completely. And so at the moment of death, we withdraw and say, “No, no, no! Not that! Not yet!” But the whole problem is that we don’t realize that the only thing to do when that moment comes is to go over the waterfall—just as you go on from one day to the next, just as you go to sleep at night. When the moment comes, we should be absolutely willing to die.” 5 likes
“I’m a philosopher. If you don’t argue with me, I don’t know what to think. So if we argue, I have to say “thank you,” because owing to the courtesy of your taking a different point of view, I understand what I think and mean. So I can’t get rid of you.” 2 likes
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