“If we can maintain at the same time, the sense of being this specific ‘John Jones’ with his role in life and know also underneath this that we are the whole works (universe), we get a very marvelous and agreeable arrangement. This is a most remarkable harmoniousness – it gives ones life a great sense of joy and exuberance – IF you can carry on these two things at once. If, in other words, you know that all the serious predicaments of life are a game.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, something to be condemned, to take your own individual life seriously – in dead earnest – and to have all of the problems that go with that… Do you understand that being that way, being a real mixed up human being, is a manifestation of nature, that is something just like the patterns on the waves or a sea shell? You know, we pick up shells – I always keep one around as sort of an example – for many things – and say, “My goodness isn’t that gorgeous, there’s not an aesthetic fault in it anywhere. It’s absolutely perfect.” Now I wonder if these fish look at each others shells and say, “Don’t you think she’s kind of fat?” “Oh my, those markings aren’t very well spaced.”
Cause that’s what we do.
We don’t realize that all of us, in our various goings on and behaviors and so on, are just as much or even more marvelous, much more complicated, much more interesting. All these gorgeous faces I’m looking at; you know some are supposedly pretty, some are supposedly not so pretty, but they’re all absolutely gorgeous. And everybody’s eyes is a piece of jewelry beyond compare.
– Alan Watts