Actor Keith Hamilton Cobb website

Fair Weather Mysticism

Where to begin?

The fact is you’ve begun and there’s not a thing you can do about it.  Keep doing what you’re doing and try not to be a dick.


I am forever seated at the feet of The Master.  It is a perpetual circumstance.  Something like being mentally retarded and not possessing enough proper brain function to wonder, much less deduce why.  My supplication at The Master’s feet is not, as many of the bookstore adepts would suggest, an awe-inspiring journey of wonder and discovery.  In fact, the awe that it seems to inspire is most often a fascination with how endlessly uninspiring it all is.

The Master is The Master.  There is no taking one’s search for truth to another pagoda.  For all that you can ever hope to find there is some other human being’s version of what The Master knows and has no compulsion to impart to you any faster, or more completely than you are able to receive it, i.e., by micro-grains.  And even if you do find a swami of your own, you are both inevitably seated beneath the tree of wisdom without much of a clue respectively.  There are, I suspect, many junior partners in the enlightenment business.  This is not an indictment.  They are, many of them, better men and women than I if for no other reason than for having the sheer discipline to sit at those same feet and be still enough to learn something.  Then, after them, there are the street level awareness peddlers, who seem to have decided, in frustration perhaps over their own stalled efforts, or perhaps as typical fear-driven, body-bound consumers, that if they’re not actually going to gain any enlightenment in this lifetime, they might as well make some money pretending that they already have.

I imagine the leap from knowing nothing to knowing a little something is enormous.  On the scale of The Master’s secrets, The Buddha still hardly knows fuck all, and yet his little awareness leaves the other 99.99% of us feet-sitters among the ranks of spiritual idiocy, which begs the question, “Is there a point?”  But where are you going to go?

So here I sit, mostly by default really.  There’s not a lot of joy in knowing nothing, especially if you’re smart enough to know that you know nothing.  And The Master’s overwhelming detachment – it is infinite insouciance really – does not inspire confidence.  No question will be answered.  You can abandon that conceit.  Even most of the junior partners are far off on some mountain somewhere, or deep in some rainforest in meditative silence, so nominally concerned with the affairs of the Earth Plain as to be fairly incomprehensible if you do manage to get one of them to speak to you.  You too can embark upon a monkish journey of self-denial and austerity wherein you sit in silence for twenty-two out of the twenty-four hours in the day, and with the other two you chop wood, carry water, and eat raisins.  I personally would rather not, for I am a fair weather mystic.  The crux of my practice is an awkward arbitration between practicality, and a little too much awareness for my own good, and if life-long abstention from all forms of indulgence is the road to bliss I will suffer in separation for this lifetime and enjoy it, thank you.  Meanwhile, if you want answers, your recourse is to ask the awareness peddlers who, for a fee, will be more than thrilled to tell you anything you want to know.  In fact, for the sake of perceived authenticity, they will speak to you in hushed tones and say things that are intentionally obtuse and unworkably esoteric.  However, and so that no one thinks I am being intentionally pessimistic, if you happen to be seriously seeking (as opposed to learning over a lifetime of sheer default whether you want to or not), please know as well that these charlatans will always eventually show their asses, thereby informing you that they are, in fact, just that, charlatans, and that if you are looking, you would be best served by looking elsewhere.  Within, perhaps…

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