[Book Review] “Wisdom of Insecurity” by Alan Watts

I’ll admit that book reviews are a bit foreign to me so bear with me if it doesn’t look like any other book reviews that you’ve read before.

Wisdom of Insecurity was written in 1951 and with the exception of that fact that cell phones and social media aren’t mentioned, this book could have been written yesterday.  I found pretty much everything in it to still be relevant today.  The forward was written by Deepak Chopra who’s forward was most definitely not in the original printing.

Deepak started out by writing a brief statement of what the book was about and then talked about how this book had a profound influence on him at a pivotal age in his life.  For anyone that knows Deepak Chopra, this is an impressive statement.

So once I started getting in to the book, Watts starts off by talking about science vs religion and the way they always talk about future or past events.  This is a perfect set up for where he starts getting in to the zen philosophy of living life now since you will never live in the future and the past is a fading memory, all you will ever have is the present.

I felt, like Chopra, that this philosophy was very profound.  Taking time to be aware of your surroundings and your immediate sensations is quite calming and almost euphoric at times.

From here, Watts goes deeper.  He describes the idea of being one with the universe and how your mind senses things and that when you are present and feeling these sensations then the objects that are being sensed become you.  For example, when you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin (something I really love), it is you because you are the one that feels it.

In my own life, I try to feel the air, smell the land and see the colors all around me.  It is a beautiful connection that is being made between you and all of God’s creations.  One could argue, as Watts does, that you are connecting with God and becoming closer to him.

With that said, the book ends with him speaking of religious matters.  I know from hearing Alan Watts’ speeches that he is not a fan of Christianity.  I am a Christian, myself, and will avoid getting preachy on this blog but I honestly feel that the tone of the book changed at that point.  Watts has said that we should not use the bible because it attempts to teach us everything about God when we should learn from experience.  He then quotes poets and Buddhist texts.  A double standard in my view but Watts is a wise man and is entitled to his opinions.  It didn’t detract from me enjoying the book, it gave me a different view from someone else.

I highly recommend this book to anyone.  Whether you’re a Christian or and Atheist, I would recommend you read with an open mind, follow some of his advice, and see how it can be applied to your own belief system.  Speaking of belief, Watts also talks about the need to take belief out of the equation and focus more on faith.

I have some other books to read but in December I plan on reading this one again if I reach my goal of 10 books in 2014 before that time.

Next up, “Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle

Be well, be positive.


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