The Wisdom of Insecurity

Worry a lot?  To consider: The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts. You may know Alan Watts from oft-broadcast lectures–eager audience hanging on every wryly wise, British-accented utterance.  (Lectures can be sampled via this podcast or downloads around the net.)

In this short book, Watts takes on worry and anxiety–a.k.a. insecurity.  He argues that to live is to be insecure; all we be can certain about is the present moment.   He encourages awareness, mindfulness, acceptance–Buddhist principles all adopted as central tenets of many therapy approaches (ACT, DBT, MBSR…) since the book was penned in 1951.  Here’s a sample, about acceptance:

The human organism has the most wonderful powers of adaptation to both physical and psychological pain.  But these can only come into full play when the pain is not being constantly restimulated by this inner effort to get away from it, to separate the “I” from the feeling.  The effort creates a state of tension in which the pain thrives.  But when the tension ceases, mind and body begin to absorb the pain as water reacts to a blow or a cut.

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Posted by Will Baum, LCSW