Finding Inner Peace with Alan Watts: Understanding the Role of Gurus

Have you ever felt like something was missing in your life? This feeling can lead us on various paths, from picking up new hobbies to seeking spiritual guidance. Alan Watts, a renowned philosopher, sheds light on this inner journey, especially when it comes to the role of gurus.

Watts suggests that the challenges gurus present to their students are meant to show that enlightenment cannot be achieved through action alone. This might sound strange, but it’s actually freeing. It means that our constant efforts might be keeping us from seeing what’s already there. Like the Buddhist idea that we’re already enlightened from the start, Watts tells us we’re already complete.

So, if we can’t do anything to become enlightened, what’s the point? According to Watts, realizing this is a big step forward. It’s about stopping the endless search and living in the now, with life happening around us.

Gurus use various methods to teach this lesson. They give tasks that are both doable and impossible. The impossible ones keep us striving, but it’s all to make us see that we’re chasing something we already have. We’re like people looking for our heads, which we can’t see and therefore think we’ve lost.

Watts points out that this search is often fueled by a feeling of lack, influenced by others around us who are also searching. He challenges this by saying if you feel you must go to great lengths, like traveling far for wisdom, then do it. But remember, it’s not necessary unless you believe it is.

The key takeaway from Watts is profound yet simple: we are the happening. The present doesn’t come from the past; it emerges now. This realization can change how we see the world and ourselves. We’re not separate from the universe; we are the universe experiencing itself.

In essence, Watts invites us to see that enlightenment, God, or whatever we seek, isn’t something to find. It’s what we are. This doesn’t mean we stop living or learning. Instead, we live more fully, knowing we’re already complete.


“The journey towards enlightenment is not about acquiring something new, but recognizing what has always been within us.” – Inspired by Alan Watts

Spiritual Reference:

“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10. This verse echoes Watts’ sentiment about embracing the present moment and recognizing the inherent wholeness within us.