Treat Meditation Like Music You Can Dance To

These words of wisdom from the great Alan Watts teach us to treat meditation like music you can dance to. Almost all of us like music and, if you are like me, you love to dance.

Alan_WattsWe could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.

Alan Watts

When I was a little boy, I admired the girls who took ballet and tap. But of course, I had two left feet and couldn’t compete.

When I was a teenager, I loved the music of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and rock and roll. I also was part of a Native American dance group.

When I was in college, I learned to appreciate classical music. This gave me lots of solace when my heart was broken by my first girl friend.

Like everyone else in graduate school, I love the music of the Beatles, Joan Baez, and especially, Judy Collins.

When I was 27, I discovered Indian music, kirtan (Indian spiritual music) and chanting.

When I spent the summers with Father Eli, a shaman in the Ozark Mountains, I learned that music and dance were actually two points of the five pointed star. The other points represented (natural) agriculture, natural medicine, and astrology. I also learned some traditional Celtic dances.

During my first trip to India, I spent my mornings doing Chaotic Meditation and Nataraj Meditation at the Rajneesh Ashram in Pune. Both of these were wonderful dance meditations.

When I returned from India, I met Gabrielle Roth and joined her Moving Center (the precursor to the 5 Rhythms) for more than a year before Micah had cancer and Gabrielle moved to New York.

When I had cancer, I joined Anna Halprin‘s cancer group and we danced and drew our pain and suffering away each week.

Now my favorites are to dance on the tennis courts and listen to Tibetan singing bowls and binaural beats.

What role have music and dance played in your life?

The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

Alan Watts

A witty attack on the illusion that the self is a separate ego that confronts a universe of alien physical objects…. [Read More…]


Books by Alan Watts

Connect with Meditation Practices

Connect with

Or enter your name and email address below.