One of my favorite themes that Alan Watts repeats often is the metaphor of life as a dance or as music.
We thought of life by analogy with a journey, a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end, and the thing was to get to that end, success or whatever it is, maybe heaven after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played. — Alan Watts
Watts observed that if the point were to get to the end of a musical piece the fastest, we would reduce a symphony to the final crashing chord.
We don’t dance to get somewhere. We don’t listen to music to get to the end of the music. The point of the dancing is to dance. The point of music is to sing, to listen, to play.
A Meditation Journey Milestone
Today I celebrate my 5-year anniversary of daily meditation practice. It’s a nice milestone, but my practice doesn’t stop there. The point was never to reach a certain milestone. It was, and remains, to create a practice of returning to presence.
When I create space for meditation I step out of the illusion of time and into the present, which is the only moment that actually exists.
Meditation is part of my dance.
It’s Not About Racing to the Finish
We are always in a hurry to get things finished and so the things that we finished weren’t worth finishing because they were done so fast. — Alan Watts
The cultural pressure to “wrap it up and move on” is strong. But that’s not how nature works. Look around the world. The pandemic isn’t ending when we turn the calendar. Nothing in life is miraculously disappearing as we move into a new calendar year.
As we “finish” this calendar year perhaps you have things in your life that remain unfinished. And perhaps that’s how it is intended. Because your life is not yet finished.
Be where you are. Step out of time. Savor the dance.