What is Alan Watts Known For

A Quick Overview of What Alan Watts is Known For

It is safe to say that Alan Watts could be referred to as the guru of meditation.  Alan Watts was an individual that devoted his life to studying the art of meditation.  Not only did he study meditation, but he thoroughly studied it to find out exactly how it worked and the best way to attain the full benefits of meditation.

What is Alan Watts know for? Alan Watts is best known for his writing, as well as the teaching he did to convey his learning about meditation to others.

If you have ever taken part in any meditative rituals, you know how relaxing it can be, but you also know how challenging it can be to get into a full meditative state.  Meditation is truly an art that was deeply explored by Alan Watts. In this article, you will learn who Alan Watts was as a person, as well as the deep-seated beliefs that propelled his research.

What is Alan Watts Know For?

Alan Watts is best known for his teaching and research surrounding meditation and Zen culture. During his lifetime, he wrote over 25 books to share his learning with others.  He was also well known for his many speaking engagements that took him around the world.

Before becoming a renowned expert in the field of meditation, Alan Watts spent a brief time as an Episcopal priest. The Library – Alan Watts details that during that time, he began a more in-depth exploration of eastern culture and ultimately turned his focus from Christianity to Buddhism. When he made this decision, he became a faculty member of The American Academy of Asian Studies. It was during this transitional time that Alan Watts began to grow in notoriety.

What Does Alan Watts Believe?

This question is not the easiest to answer, because Alan Watts was an incredibly unique individual.  By looking at his works, reading his philosophy, and listening to his meditations, you can tell Alan Watts was a complex individual with a simple belief system. According to The New York Times, he had a very firm belief that people need to make a connection and feel their true identity through the environment.

Francesca Forsythe explains the depth of Watts’ beliefs in her article 5 Profound Lessons Alan Watts’ Philosophy Teaches You About Life.  She shares that he believed people struggle to see themselves beyond what the world wants for them.  He determined that individuals need to learn to live in the moment and appreciate things as they are at present.  He felt individuals needed to refocus to improve their self-esteem, so it was based on what was real and wonderful, and not on what needed to be fixed.

What Religion Was Alan Watts?

Although Alan Watts was an Episcopal priest and studied Buddhism, there is no evidence that he claimed to associate with a religion.  In his studies and writing, he chose to focus on religious documents like the Bible as historical documents that deserved recognition, but he would not allow them to claim authority over him.

Did Alan Watts Meditate?

According to the article, The Story of Alan Watts, Meditation’s Most Influential Advocate, published by The National Digest, it is believed the art of meditation and yoga became popular in the United States because of Alan Watts.  There is no concrete evidence that Alan Watts practiced meditation, but it is assumed that he did because he was able to write and speak so eloquently about the purpose and benefits of the practice.

Was Alan Watts a Vegetarian?

Brittany Sinkler, the author of What do Famous Conscious Minded People Eat, explores the dietary choices of “spiritually awakened people.”  Alan Watts was one individual highlighted in this article. It is said that Alan Watts followed a vegetarian lifestyle; however, he was also known to speak out against veganism in his book titled Murder in The Kitchen

He wrote that people were vegetarians because they were more closely related to animals and felt a deeper connection to animals than plants.  He has also been quoted as saying, “I’m a vegetarian because cows scream louder than carrots.” 

Looking at these two differing comments, it is not crystal-clear which path Alan Watts chose to follow. So, while it is assumed that he followed a vegetarian lifestyle, there is no hard evidence to prove it as truth.

Was Alan Watts Married?

Now that you know a bit about the thoughts and works of Alan Watts, you may be wondering if he was married.  Alan Watts was married three times.  According to the Notable Names Database (NNDB), Alan Watts had quite a tumultuous love life. 

  • His first marriage was cut short after his wife (Elenor Everett), discovered he had an affair with the babysitter.
  • His second marriage was to the babysitter (Dorothy DeWitt), which ended after several years when he once again had an affair with another woman.
  • His third and final wife (Jane Yates King) remained his spouse for the rest of his life.

During his three marriages, he had a total of seven children.  Two of his children were from the first marriage, while the other five were from his second marriage.  There is minimal information about Alan Watts’ marriages.

What Did Alan Watts Die From?

Alan Watts lived a very fulfilled life; however, it came to an end when he was just 58 years old. It was reported that he died of congestive heart failure.  He was under treatment for the condition for many years before his passing.

How Has Alan Watts Shaped Culture?

Alan Watts has been revered for his fantastic work with meditation and his ability to share how to find inner peace.  Many people enjoy reading his works and listening to his lectures because they are tuned into his criticism of society.  He was very forward-thinking and made it a point never to let his life be shaped by societal norms.

In today’s culture, society is continually trying to shape everyone into who they think they should become, from style to entertainment to beliefs.  No matter where you look, society is trying to help you “find yourself.”  Alan Watts did not buy into the jargon and instead went on a meditative search for meaning. 

Many of the individuals that subscribe to Alan Watts’ methods of teaching feel he has allowed them to find a deeper form of meditation than they thought possible. In the article Best Ways to Start Your Journey With Alan Watts, Natasha Wanderly highlights the main issue Alan Watts determined to be problematic when people were trying to meditate. 

He felt that people were afraid to get away from silence. Yes, you are reading that correctly.  So often we think about getting away from noise but Alan Watts’ philosophy was about the burden of silence.  It is during silence that our thoughts tend to take over.

He tried to help people stop thinking.  When you hear that, it sounds rather ridiculous, but he found that the human mind was always thinking of things, even when the person was trying to be still and quiet.  He determined the best way to solve this problem was to turn your thinking off.  He spent much of his lifetime researching, practicing, and teaching this method. Although he is no longer living, his videos and books are still popular today.

How Can I Learn from Alan Watts?

If you are intrigued by this “Zen master,” you do not have to look far to learn about his well thought out and authentically eastern form of meditation.  He authored over 25 books, and there are several videos you can check out that include his lectures. 

Top Books for Meditation

If you are searching out books to learn more about the method presented by Watts, here are some to look at first:

If you aren’t a fan of reading an actual book or if you don’t have time to sit down to read a book, you can find most, if not all, of his works in an audio version.  In fact, if you are looking to use some of his meditation practices, the audio would be beneficial.

Alan Watts Lectures

Remember, Alan Watts was not only a fantastic author, but he was also a popular lecturer and teacher.  Although his practices were taught many years ago, there are still videos that you can find online to experience his lectures.  Here are links to some of the more popular videos:

Alan Watts: The Art of Meditation:  This video is a little over an hour long and guides you through the process of deep meditation. He explains precisely what meditation is in this video.

Knowing Myself by Letting Go: In this lecture, Alan Watts helps the listener determine how to truly get to know oneself, which allows a deeper level of meditation to occur.

Alan Watts: How to Master Meditation: This lecture provides the listener with the methods behind meditation and how to find the best meditative level for total relaxation.  He discusses how people often confuse what reality truly is.

Alan Watts: The Secrets of Your Mind: In this video, Alan Watts unlocks your mind so you can fully meditate.  He again helps the listener focus on themselves rather than the outside world that is powerfully shaping individuals.

As you can see, there are several ways for you to explore Alan Watts and his teachings.  Many people have found real comfort and peace in his teachings and what they have been able to do through listening to his guidance.

Final Thoughts

Alan Watts was a pioneer of his time when it came to bringing the eastern culture to meet the west.  He was the type of person that was either adored or chastised for his beliefs.  Many people were confused because he did not wholly identify with any set belief.  His teachings taught and continue to teach individuals to truly discover who they are, not who society wants them to be. 

When people have felt at their lowest and entirely out of control, the teachings of Alan Watts have provided them with the ability to center themselves and regain control of who they are and who they are meant to be. 

If you have ever thought meditation would be something that could benefit you as you plod through the day to day, perhaps you should take time to check out Alan Watts, the guru of meditation practices.