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The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness, Alan Watts

Pantheon Books, 1962

The feeling of self is no longer confined to the inside of the skin. Instead, my individual being seems to grow out from the rest of the universe like a hair from a head, or a limb from a body, so that my center is also a center of the whole.

I saw Alan Watts in the garden today. He was naked and golden. Brown-skinned and glowing. Beatific. Gleaming. Waking and dreaming. I saw Alan Watts in the garden today crawling out of the bushes and flowers. Out of the grasses and stones. Out of the moss and soil. Alan Watts was carrying a cup of green tea. Carrying a small piece of smooth driftwood in his hands.

I saw Alan Watts in the garden today. He was staring at the river. Staring at the sun. He was staring at the birds and soft summer creatures. Alan Watts was staring at the yellow daffodils and white daisies. Staring at the waves. The ripples. The ridges. The rills. Rising up one by one like rife, reeling echoes.

I saw Alan Watts in the garden today watching the clouds. Watching the clime. Watching the blueness of the sky. Alan Watts was watching the green of each blade of grass. They yellow of each summer lily. The red of every reeking rose. Alan Watts was watching the center inside. The center above. The center below. The center between. Deep. Dixie deep. As dew. Deep as drip. Drop. Dream. Dip. Delirious.

The landscape I am watching is also a state of myself.

I saw Alan Watts in the garden today. He spoke of isness and thusness. Beingness and nothingness. Hereness and nowness. Thisness and thatness. Elseness and everythingness. The holiness of the there. The thereness of the that. The thatness of these.

I saw Alan Watts in the garden today. Speaking of moons. Muscles. Maroons. Speaking of myth and merrymaking. Speaking of lost tongues and ancient alphabets. Eternity licking the moment of here and now. I saw Alan Watts speaking in the house of everywhere and nowhere. Nothing and nevermore. Always and naught. Blackened heart and gilded knot.

I saw Alan Watts in the garden today. Speaking of snow-capped mountains and cool desert pools. Speaking of ocean foam and wind-swept sand. Green rivers and crystal lands. The once-was and always-will-be. Peace pipe and ministry.

I am looking at what I would ordinarily call a confusion of bushes—a tangle of plants and weeds with branches and leaves going every which way. But now that the organizing, relational mind is uppermost I see that what is confusing is not the bushes but my clumsy method of thinking. Every twig is in its proper place, and the tangle has become an arabesque more delicately ordered than the fabulous doodles in the margins of Celtic manuscripts.

I saw Alan Watts in the garden today. Teacher. Preacher. Memphis redeemer. Teaching the joyousness of the cosmos. The boisterousness of osmosis. Mostness. Mustness. Moreness. Alan Watts teaching there is no difference between A to B. Only AB. The arrow is the same as the archer who shoots it, same as the air that it flies through. Same as the target who receives it. The sound of flowing water is the same as the sun that shines upon it. The rock is the same as that which moves over it. The broken leaf the same as that which floats under it. They are all one and same. Each and all. There is only the one.

I saw Alan Watts in the garden today. His fingers were boney and his hands wrinkled. Aching and urgent. Taut. Tight. Twisted. Alan Watts was pointing at me—or the center of what must have been me—or the middle of what appeared to might have been me. Pointing at that which perhaps might not be possibly but ultimately could be me. Pointing his finger like mad ceiling gods igniting spark from finger to finger, touch to touch, skin to skin, generation to generation, like wet winter frescoes peeling from chapel to chapel.

I saw Alan Watts in the garden today. He was friend and lover. Sister and brother. He was leader and preacher, devil, deceiver. Mother. Father. Uncle and cousin. He was there before and thereafter and always will be. Fighter. Drifter. Listener and seeker. Streetwalker. Warrior. Wanderer and courier. Martyr. Matriarch. Archetype and messenger. There is no future. There is no past. There is only garden.

Standing in the midst of Ella’s garden I feel with a peace so deep that it sings to be shared with all the world, that at last I belong, that I have returned to the home behind home, that I have come into the inheritance unknowingly bequeathed from all my ancestors since the beginning.

The minute. The microsecond. The microscopic. He was holy and hoary. He was hairy and heavy. Hallow. Honorable. The cave of yesteryear and beach of tomorrow. The Alan of Nala and nada and Adam and Aida all spelled backwards. The Watts of Sttaw and stellar and straw and star all spelled sideways. Always. Anyways. Mayonnaise. Alan Watts sitting in the garden kneeling towards the fish. Alan Watts in the garden in the heart and in the mind. Alan Watts here and now. The Watts of a which of a much of a world. The weariness, wanton and wild. The worn, wallow and wasted. Alan of the Allah and always. Alan of the Alley and highways. Alan of the Buddha. The Bedouin. The boxer of Belgium. Baghdad and Budapest. Brussels, Büren and Bucharest.

Alan in the garden watching the lavender. Alan in the garden watching the leaf vein. Alan in the garden watching the moon glow. The feather dew. The milk dust. The honey sap. The break seed. The thread ear. The flower crack. The pollen blow. The breeze hush. The glint on the glass at the tip of the crack of the top of the thus. This. The stalk and the green and the smallness on the grass. The mountain in the heart. The heart in the lake. The lake in the sea. The sea in the mountain and the mountain in me. The mountain in you. The me in the you. The you in the garden. We are all in the garden with Alan. Come Yee! Garden of rock, flower and the sea. The reef the river the sun the seed. The garden of the Watt. Alan in the heart. Today I saw Alan Watts in the garden.