Everyone has at one point or another asked themselves what the meaning to life is. Alan Watts, one of the most famous philosophers of the 20th century, addressed this question by making an analogy. To paraphrase, he compared life to a dance. A dancer doesn’t aim to reach a particular place on the floor; the dance is an end in itself. (you can listen to Alan Watts’ podcasts here)
It’s a very interesting analogy, and he also ties it in with the philosophy that believes the purpose of life is to enjoy yourself. Alan Watts often clarifies that he does not try to convert anyone to any religion or belief. Rather, he sees himself the same way he does a talented musician performing on stage. He declares himself as an entertainer. And in this particular lecture that he speaks about the meaning of life, this is just one of the few theories that he mentions. This particular idea of life as a dance struck a chord due to its practical nature. For example, if I think why I play sport, it isn’t really to get fit or be healthy- that’s just a bi-product. I play sport for the fun of it, the same reason I watch movies, and the same reason I read books.
He expands on this comparison between life and dancing by saying that if the point of an orchestra was to reach the end of the symphony, then the best orchestras would be the ones that play their piece the quickest. So in other words, they would walk on stage, all strike one note, bow, and then walk off. It is such a humorous thought, yet that’s how most of us live life. Most of the time we are rushing about and doing things to fulfill a certain purpose, and completely forgetting to enjoy the experience of doing what we’re doing in this moment.
I often worry about what I could be doing, or what I should be doing. But if I begin to practice living in such a way as to realize that this is all there is, then I would be less hung up about the future or the past. Alan Watts has also said before what an man once said about his attainment of enlightenment, that went something like this: “Everything is exactly the same- except two feet above the ground.”