Monday, April 03, 2006

Alan Watts

I've been listening to lectures by Alan Watts as of late. Absolutely fantastic stuff. Here's a segment from some of his writings [This will be sure to rile a few of you up (wink)]:

God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, He has no one but himself to play with. But He gets over this difficulty by pretending that He is not Himself. This is His way of hiding from Himself. He pretends that He is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way He has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when He wakes up they will disappear.

Now when God plays hide and pretends that He is you and I, He does it so well that it takes Him a long time to remember where and how He hid Himself. But that’s the whole fun of it-just what He wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find Himself out too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be Himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self-the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.

God is the Self of the world, but you can’t see God for the same reason that, without a mirror, you can’t see your own eyes, and you certainly can’t bite your own teeth or look inside your head. Your self is that cleverly hidden because it is God hiding.

You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that He isn’t really doing this to anyone but Himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad. It’s the same as when we play cards. At the beginning of the game we shuffle them all into a mess, which is like the bad things in the world, but the point of the game is to put the mess into good order, and the one who does it best is the winner. Then we shuffle the cards once more and play again, and so it goes with the world.


Dan Price said...

Dude, I don't want to be cynical here, but I really don't like this passage. It basically frees man from any responsibility. It means Hitler wasn't hurting anyone, only playing with himself. It means Bush is doing the same. Honestly, how far can this go? Do you just accept someone who hurts your wife or kid or whomever is just God hiding from himself? Do we now have freedom to act "as God" and do whatever the hell we want because we aren't really hurting anyone? That's a dangerous teaching in my opinion.

Much love though bro!

kev said...

yeah, man, me too - what the hell is up with that mother theresa character? i mean, she's a chick! how can she be God???


so, i reaaally think it's another in an extremely long line of ideas of how to make it understandable. of course, like all the others, it's part of the whole idea, with many, many, many, many, many loopholes; which, incidentally, is what makes us all countless levels of blind. know what? i'm good with that - let me take in the wonder of everything as if i were a goldfish seeing the castle for the millionth first time, and all will be well.

if we can't figure it all out, sure, let's keep trying, but let us also remember not to get caught up thinking, "this is IT!" ;)

isaiah said...


Great post, thanks for taking the time to add this to your blog. You know I subscribe to Alan Watts "hide and seek" it has been past down through the ages in various scriptures and elaborated on by many a mystic and saint.

Dan asks some really tough questions here...and there aren't any good answers that I've discovered except the words of Paramahansa Yogananda and Jesus.

Paramahansa wrote that we are so caught up in the "movie" of our lives that we can't see beyond the antagonist and protagonist to realize the light and shadow of our being...the 'hide and seek' (my words) of our thoughts coming and going until we realize, one day, that we are free to walk out of the theatre- and into the Light.

Jesus offers us words of supreme comfort that should be enough for us to permanently fall into the arms of Love, and rest our thoughts for all times. Jesus says 'don't be concerned with this world- or what happens in this world'...simply love and do unto others as we would have done unto us.

I started "thinking" yesterday about Iran, Iraq, nukes and terrorism...and said to myself..."Stop." "Why are you doing this to yourself." I do it because it feels so incredibly blissful to return to the arms of Love and collapse there. No matter how many times I stray. I am welcomed back...and no matter how many times I experience the bliss of surrendering- I still cannot get my fix.

So I forget...and remember, forget and remember...and probably will until the day I transition. But I always know I am welcome in the house of my Father to dwell with my Lord...anytime I choose.

anonymous julie said...

I think I only understand this in part, but there's something to it... thank you for something else to ponder!

Andrew said...


In college I was exposed to all the traditional Christian apologetics for “the problem of evil,” and all of them left me dissatisfied.

I like this passage because it’s unsettling: it calls into question all platitudes and givens. For that reason I sense it may contain a lot of truth, although it’s the kind of truth you just have to sit and be present with rather than the kind that lends itself to tidy explanations.

So, thanks for posting. And great blog, by the way.


anonymous julie said...

If we really are one with the Father and the only difference is in perception, then through our experiences of percieving nearness and farness, of course God is playing hide and seek with himself.

jbmoore said...


It's just a different way of looking at the Divine Game, Lela. And it's really all about perception, just seeing what is hidden underneath the surface. As far as good and evil, consider a fire ant colony attacking a harvester ant colony - is either side evil, yet they are at war so to speak. It's just a dance or drama. I like to see everything as a dance or song. Another way to look at it is waves lapping on the shore of Infinity. For all we know, God is outside of time and therefore, just comes here to visit and "play". But, to experience the Intelligence of the World is an awesome experience.