Studio: Alan Watts
What It Is
Recordings of lectures by Alan Watts, a philosopher/scholar of Eastern religions.
A new episode is up every Saturday. Each episode is between fifteen to twenty minutes in length. Each lecture, on the other hand, runs around an hour, so the episodes come in sets of four. Each month, it’s a new lecture, split up into four episodes. iTunes only carries the newest episode, so it’s particularly helpful to have a subscription to this one, in case you miss a week of going to iTunes to download the newest one. The show’s website has a complete archive, so there’s always that. You can purchase the lectures in both mp3 and CD format on the site.
What About It
This is my favorite spirituality podcast. It’s classed under philosophy on iTunes, which is correct, but I’d also consider it under spirituality. It’s about all kinds of religion. Watts is an engaging presence; he boils down complicated spiritual concepts so that a mass audience can understand it, but it never feels like he’s dumbing it down or being condescending. He’s decidedly brilliant; he can talk at great length and detail about practically every major religion in the world, as well most schools of philosophical thoughts and more modern methods of understanding humanity like sociology and psychology. I’m a Christian, but I’ve always felt that there’s much that can be gleaned from other religions to help my own spiritual journey. Watts is prone to compelling and fascinating insights and I’ve taken many of them to heart in my personal life. This is a podcast that has the potential to genuinely change your life; I know the wisdom dispensed has impacted my own life and the way I view life and myself. I haven’t been converted; I’m still a Christian. Watts never feels like he’s trying to convert you; he’s just trying to help you understand. But so many wonderful concepts and ideas really cross the religion barriers to become simply moving concepts that can be applied no matter your personal faith (or, I’d wager, even your lack thereof; even an atheist should try this one out).
You’re a spiritual seeker that is seeking constant self-improvement.
Avoid Like the Plague If
You don’t want to be challenged in your thinking.
Best Entry Point
I’m going to recommend several episodes here since it takes four episodes to complete a single lecture. I think I’d like to recommend two lectures, so that would be eight episodes total. The first lecture I want to recommend is Religion & Sexuality. The title basically says it all and it’s a genuinely fascinating exploration of the different ways that various religions consider sexuality. Sexuality is, of course, one of the very most significant parts of life and identity and Watts really pulls some fascinating things about it out. And then the second lecture that I absolutely love is Religion of No Religion; again, the title kind of tells it all. There are some really wonderful insights into what true devotion and faith boil down to in that one. Anyway, there’s two of the best that gives you a good place to start.
Next time, some humor and the podcast in question is specifically focused on movies, one of my passions. It’s also focused on another passion, a passion I don’t share at all, but still this is a favorite series of mine.