The mind in cold water (short movie)

(This short movie was made in December on a froggy Sunday morning. The water temperature was 5 degrees. Voice: Alan Watts).

So then let’s consider first of all what is a mind in the grip of viscious circles. Well, one of the most obvious instances that we all know is the phenomenon of worry.

The doctor tells you that you have to have an operation and that has been set up so that autimatically everybody worries about it. But since worrying takes away your appetite and your sleep it’s not good for you. But you can’t stop worrying and therefore you get additionally worried that you are worrying. And then furthermore because that is quite absurd and you’re mad at yourself because you do it. You are worried because you worry because you worried… That is a viscious circle.

So now, can you allow your mind to be quiet? Isn’t it difficult, because the mind seems to be like a monkey jumping up and down and jabbering all the time? Once you’ve learned to think you can’t stop and an enormous number of people devote their lives to keeping their minds busy and feel extremely uncomfortable with silence. When you’re alone, nobody saying anything, there’s nothing to do… there’s this… this worry… this lack of distraction… I’m left alone with myself and I want to get away from myself, I’m always wanting to get away from myself is why I go to the movies, it’s why I read mysrery stories, that’s why I go after the girls or anything that you do or get drunk or whatever. I don’t wanna be with myself! I feel queer…

So, well why do you wanna run away from yourself. What’s so bad about it? Why’d you want to forget this? Why do you wanna become yourself? Because you are addicted to thoughts, it’s a drug and a dangerous one. Compulsive thinking and on, and on, and on at all time. It’s a habit.

So there’s a difficulty about stopping that activity and you’re really have to stop it if you want to be sane, because if I talk all the time, I don’t hear what anyone has to say, then I’ll end up in a situation that having nothing to talk about but my own talking. So in exactly the same way, if I think all the time, I won’t have anything to think about except thoughts. So in order to have something to think about, there are times when you simply must stop thinking. Well, how do you do that?

The first rule is don’t try to. Because if you do, you’ll be like someone trying to make rough water smooth with a flat iron and all that will do will stir it up. So in the same way as a muddy, turbulent pool quiets itself when left alone, you have to know how to leave your mind alone… it will quiet itself.



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