In the words of Alan Watts, music as an art form is essentially playful. We play the piano, we don’t work the piano. This idea extends beyond music to life itself. In our fast-paced, goal-oriented culture, we often forget the joy of the journey. We rush from point A to point B, missing the beauty of the path between.

Watts compares life to a musical composition. The point isn’t to rush to the end, but to enjoy the melody along the way. Imagine if we only valued the final chord of a song or the last step of a dance. We’d miss the entire experience! Life, like music, is about the play, the dance, the journey.

Sadly, many of us live as if life is a race to retirement, only to find ourselves too exhausted to enjoy it. We’ve cheated ourselves by not embracing the playful, musical nature of our existence. Life is not a serious pilgrimage with a final destination but a dance to be enjoyed in the moment.

Watts also speaks about the human tendency to worry about the future, which stems from our awareness of time. While this ability to predict can be useful, it also brings anxiety. We gain survival skills but lose peace of mind, forgetting to live in the present.

The essence of existence, according to Watts, is spontaneous and musical. Our bodies function without our conscious control, reminding us to let go and trust the natural flow of life. Just as we don’t force ourselves to sleep or digest food, we shouldn’t force life to happen. Instead, we should embrace the spontaneity and playfulness of our existence.

In conclusion, life is not a race to the finish line but a dance to be enjoyed. Let’s embrace the playful, musical nature of our existence and live in the moment. As Watts reminds us, “the whole point of the dancing is the dance.”

Quote: “Life is not a journey with a serious purpose at the end, but a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or dance while the music was being played.” – Alan Watts

Spiritual Reference: “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” – Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NIV)

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

Summary Points

  • Life is often treated as a serious journey with a focus on the destination.
  • Alan Watts believed life should be playful, experienced like music.
  • We get caught up in goals and striving, missing the enjoyment of the present.
  • Anxiety about the future fuels our desire to control and predict, leading to frustration.
  • Embracing the spontaneous, ever-changing nature of life is key to living more playfully.

Inspired Actions:

  • Practice mindfulness: Pay attention to the present moment without judgment. Notice your breath, your surroundings, and how you feel.
  • Find joy in the process: Instead of just aiming for an end goal, find fun and fulfillment in the journey itself, whatever you’re doing.
  • Make time for play: What activities spark a sense of joy and lightheartedness for you? Make it a priority to engage in them.
  • Let go of control: Accept that you can’t predict everything in life. Practice breathing and relaxing when you feel the urge to control situations.
  • Reflect: At the end of each day, think of a few playful moments you experienced. Celebrate those small wins!