Not long ago, I saw this great video of Dick Van Dyke dancing up a storm at the age of 89. I was impressed and when I noticed the other night that he was going to be on the Tavis Smiley show, I tuned in. He’s currently promoting a new book, Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging.
During the interview, Van Dyke mentioned Alan Watts’ The Wisdom of Insecurity. Evidently, he learned a great deal from it.
After the program, I got out my copy of the book. I hadn’t looked through it for quite a while. Watts’ theme in this work is that the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are essentially the same thing. It is the desire to be secure that produces insecurity.
Here’s a passage from the first page I turned to,
We do not need action – yet. We need more light.
Light, here, means awareness – to be aware of life, of experience as it is this moment, without any ideas or judgments about it. In other words, you have to see and feel what you are experiencing as it is, and not as it is named. This very simple ‘opening of the eyes’ brings about the most extraordinary transformation of understanding and living, and shows that many of our most baffling problems are pure illusion. This may sound like an over-simplification because most people imagine themselves to be fully enough aware of the present already, but we shall see that this is far from true.”
At the end of the paragraph, a footnote: “The word ‘awareness’ is used in the sense given to it by J. Krishnamurti, whose writings discuss this theme with extraordinary perception.”
Someone asked Krishnamurti once what he meant by awareness. His long response began with these words, “I wonder if we really are aware of anger, sadness, happiness? Or are we aware of these things only when they are all over?”
In meditation, we try to be aware or mindful of the present moment. The most crucial moments, though, are the heated moments, the moments of anxiety, depression, or confusion. Often, we are most aware of ourselves in those moments. Or perhaps it is when these moments have passed. Then, there is a possibility for regrets. Some regrets might have a basis for foundation but others may stem from ideas and judgments we have made about ourselves.
No judgments. Before action, more light.