Monday, June 3, 2013

Alan Watts and The Trap of Seeking

Have you ever listened to someone speak or watch something and the experience in the subtlest of ways shakes you to the core?

I suppose you could say I am having one of those moments as an actor when my frustrations are getting the best of me. Keeping positive in the face of bills, audition rejections, and sheer stress is not always easy for me. I will say I am for the most part positive in all aspects of my life, but there are days when it is all just a bit much.  

Life is so amazingly complex and ultimately simple. It is our interpretation of it that mucks it all up, don't you think? There is no "real" manual for living. You are tasked with figuring it out as you go. What is the point of it all? Are we ever getting it right? Can you get it right? In the end is it not all about finding a way of making it through each day with an emphasis on being happy?

I have chosen to pursue the life of an actor. I could have stayed with my old 9 to 5 job. People do it everyday. They work at a job to make a living to do what they want with the rest of their time. Other people choose a particular career or simply fall into one. Whatever choice you make is the choice you make. What I have discovered is that regardless of what you do, you have to choice to be happy. By this I don't mean find your happiness in your career but in the simple act of being alive. This may seem unquestionably obvious, however, I realized, lately, that regardless of what you "do" if your state of mind is not on simply celebrating the joy of the day for whatever it brings, good or bad, the alternative is to get sucked into the mire of stressing about the continuous bombardment of civilization and all of its facets telling you you are missing something in your life if you don't have this gadget or this car or this new home or what have you. We then become a world of "seekers" doing this or that to find success or happiness. Unfortunately, when you actually get it, you discover you've been dooped. You are no more happy or successful after achieving this goal or purchasing that brand of cellphone. Is an I-Phone 5 anymore relevant than a Galaxy whatever to my state of personal fulfillment?

I know...I am rambling but, that is okay. I am in the process of figuring out some new ways of thinking about my journey, as an actor and as a human/spiritual being as I wake up each day tasked with living.

It has been a challenging month. Perhaps, impacted by the fact my birthday is in May and birthdays always spur on a period of self-reflection on my part. I found myself having to say out loud, "What is the point of life?" Is life nothing more than striving to achieve something or earn money?" "Will my student loan debt define my choices forever?"

My answer to all these questions was to delve deeper into my spiritual beliefs. They have been my homemade manual for life, so to speak. I am not particularly religious, yet I find my spiritual belief system a source of strength. However, recently, as I strive to get a grip on the "meditation thing", I hit a wall. It simply was not working for me. My efforts to clear my mind led to unending mental chatter and mounting annoyance.

It took my random wandering around YouTube to find Alan Watts clips and a wealth of information on which to reflect. I slowly noticed that I have been so stuck in the trap of seeking answers to how to succeed in acting, in living, in even being spiritual that I was missing a fundamental point.


Everything else is an act of faith.        

I may succeed as an actor. I may not. God may exist. God may not exist.

Either way, if I focus on celebrating the sheer act of being alive and choosing happiness for the sake of being happy, than the need to wrestle with  frustration diminishes.

All the rest of what life sends my way will be whatever it is going to be. 

.All this self-made frustration is exhausting. I plan on enjoying further listening to the words of Alan Watts and figure out how to just BE.

This is a work in progress but an avenue definitely worth exploring.


  1. `...They work at a job to make a living to do what they want with the rest of their time...'

    I'm quite sure many of those people are extremely unhappy for much of the time Kevin; but lack the courage to try & change things. Life is short.

    For those that are really happy doing what they do, all & good.
    Cheers, ic

  2. I agree Life is short. Ya gotta grab happiness wherever you can.