Alan Watts - Outwitting the Devil

Alan Watts elaborates on the dangers of trying to force things.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAGdinXZjSc


Let's suppose [...] you are assured that, once you've become victim of this habit, it's an extraordinarily difficult thing to get rid of it and it requires intense willpower. [...] That kills you right off.

– at 10m31s

If you're going to outwit the devil, it's terribly important that you don't give him any advance notice. [...] If you're gonna leave town and you owe lots of money, you mustn't announce that you're leaving.

– at 11m23s

The art of the sly man, is to make no contest, but simply to leave, without one word. In other words [...], not to force things.

– at 12m56s

If you were going to be an expert archer, you must shoot before you think. Otherwise it will be too late. You don't aim and then shoot. It's all one action.

– at 14m42s

You're always a moment too late, if you decide first. You have to act, and decide, simultaneously. [...] If you decide before you act [...] the devil will catch you.

– at 15m18s

Try as you may. You go on and on and on and on trying [...] to release the bowstring without thinking first to release it. But then, strangely enough, one day the thing happened. He did it.

– at 17m51s

And this is involved in our learning of almost all techniques: That we work and work to achieve that final point of perfection. And it doesn't come, it doesn't come. And then one day, it happens.

– at 18m11s

It is not that we have practiced it so often, that it suddenly becomes perfect. [...] What happens is, that we practiced so often, that we find out, we can't do it.

– at 18m41s

And it happens at the moment you know, you can't do it, when you reach a certain point of despair, when you know that you're the one weird child who will never be able to swim. At that moment you're swimming.

– at 19m0s

Because, the desperation and the total inability to do it at all, has brought you to a point, which we might call "don't care". You stopped trying. You stopped not trying (= trying to get it that way).

– at 19m18s

You just have arrived at the insight, that your decision, your will, doesn't have any part in the thing at all. [...] It can come only, when an attempt to act from the ego center, has been revealed to be completely futile.

– at 19m40s

There's just the process. And all that you are, is part of the process. [...] He simply sees, that all that he is [...], was something that the entire process was doing.

– at 24m28s