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Still the Mind: An Introduction to Meditation

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,579 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Mark Watts compiled this book from his father's extensive journals and audiotapes of famous lectures he delivered in his later years across the country. In three parts, Alan Watts explains the basic philosophy of meditation, how individuals can practice a variety of meditations, and how inner wisdom grows naturally. ...more
Kindle Edition, 130 pages
Published March 15th 2010 by New World Library (first published 2000)
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 ·  1,579 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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"You must understand that in meditation, we are concerned only with what is, with reality, nothing else. The past is a memory. The future, an expectation. Neither past nor future actually exist. There is simply eternal now. So don't seek or expect a result from what you are doing. That wouldn't be true meditation. There is no hurry. Just now you're not going anywhere. Simply be here. Live in the world of sound. Let it play. That's all."

Oddly enough, I can distinctly hear the rustling of trees ou
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in buddhism/meditation, tortla
Shelves: own, favorites, 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.
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt Vandegriff
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. ...more
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.
Quentin Crisp
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bryan Duffy
Sep 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Jeremy Cox
This has been one of the few audiobooks where I get to the end and I really have no clue what the book is about. I remember there being some interesting comments, but they were fairly disconnected from other comments.
Feb 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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."
Ankur Banerjee
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Easy and simple in words and quite enlightening, without going too much into terminology. Many one-liners that sum up Zen concepts succinctly.
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable perspective on Zen, existence, wholeness, the illusion of separateness, mindfulness, and enjoyment. Oh he good.
Ross Cohen
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unpretentious and illuminating.
Anju Mai
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book! It was very slow to read for me. I started reading it more than a month ago even though the book was only 120 pages or so. I think I want to make a YouTube video about this book.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great audiobook experience, and great insights about meditation.
Jon Barr
I liked his introduction to breathing. Just notice, don't modify. ...more
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, overdrive-audio
I intend to listen to this again.
Francesca Scotti-Goetz
To think this man was born in 1915. To think Zen Buddhism began in the year 500. read watts if you want to give up reality while keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground. I feel more lost and more present than ever
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Teo 2050


Watts A (2000) (01:18) Still the Mind - An Introduction to Meditation

Publisher’s Preface
Introduction by Mark Watts

Part I: The Essential Process of the World

1. Who We Are in the Universe
2. Meet Your Real Self

Part II: The Essential Process of Meditation

3. The Philosophy of Meditation
4. The Practice of Meditation

Part III: Still the Mind

5. Contemplative Ritual

About the Author
Recommended Reading
Jim Thomas
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
As usual, Watts make the most complex of virtually any philosophy simple for the layman and, fo me, always helpful as far as any kind of spiritual seeking or growth. It can be Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or Toasist for Watts was better able to pull virtually all beliefs and Non beliefs together in an understandable way. There is something for everyone except the close minded in his writings and talks. This particular book is probably the simplist wat to understand and begin meditation.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
This posthumous collection of lectures was compiled by the philosopher's son, and we can hear his sycophantic students/adherents laughing and moving around in the lecture hall throughout the recording. There are many excellent books on the benefits of meditation, including Mathieu Ricard's Happiness and the Dalai Lama's The Art of Happiness, but this is not one of them. I would've given it one star except that I enjoyed the guided meditation near the end. ...more
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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? ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was my second attempt to appreciate Watts. This one was like listening to a beatnik professor ramble on in front of a class of college freshman. Not a lot of rubber hitting the road here, which is fine if that is your thing.
Chetan Narang
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This right here is Meditation 101. I'd highly recommend hearing the audiobook version rather than reading the book itself; Alan Watts is undoubtedly a delighful orator.

"You cannot really do that very well, and worry! Or be serious about anything."
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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.” 56 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.” 46 likes
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