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Alan Watt’s Quote

if, for a change, we would allow our feelings and look upon their comings and goings as something as beautiful and as natural and necessary as changes in the weather, the going of night and day, and of the four seasons, we would be at peace with ourselves. Because what is problematic for Western man is not so much his struggles with other people and their needs and their problems, as his struggle with his own feelings, with what he will allow himself to feel, and what he won’t allow himself to feel. He’s ashamed to feel really, profoundly sad, so much so that he could cry. It is not manly to cry. He is ashamed to loathe somebody because you’re not supposed to hate people. He’s ashamed to be so overcome with the beauty of something—whether it be a natural landscape or a member of the opposite sex—that he goes out of his mind with this beauty. Because all that kind of thing is not being in control, old boy! Not—kind of—having your hand on the wheel!

But it is because, you see, we don’t go with that that we are not in control, that we try to pretend that our inner life is different. So I think this is the most releasing thing that anybody can possibly understand: that your inner feeling is never wrong. That’s to say, what you feel—it’s never wrong that you feel that way. It may not be a right guide to what you should do. In other words, if you feel that you hate someone intensely, it isn’t necessarily the right way of dealing with that feeling to go out and cut his throat. But it is right that you should have the feeling of hating, or of being sad, or frightened, terrified—whatever it is.

For, you see, when a person comes to himself, he comes to be one with his own feeling. And that is the only way of being in a position to control it. It is in exactly this way that the sailor always keeps the wind in his sails. Whether he wants to sail with the wind or whether he wants to sail against the wind, he always uses the wind. He never denies the wind. Well, it’s in exactly that same sense that a person has to keep going with his own feeling. Whether he wants to act as the feeling obviously suggests or act in a different way, he has to keep the feeling with him because that’s his own essential self. But when he attempts simply to sail against the wind, he’s lost himself. He’s become just a kind of empty mask which hasn’t got any real life behind it. And all its protestations of love and good will are hollow.

Alan Watts

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