|Dr. Robert Puff|
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Nondual Highlights: And now,
alive from Tucson, it's
Issue #2831, Saturday, June 2, 2007!
A refreshingly honest account of seeking and finding
and doubts about being realized. Worth rereading if
already done so. [from amigos site]
A tale told by an idiot
Charlie Hayes (68, California) is an openhearted and
colorful man. After our interview he is reminded of a
line from Amadeus (the film) in which Mozart says: 'I
am a vulgar man, but I assure you, my music is not'.
He states, 'I too have been a vulgar man. But
hopefully, my sharing is not.'
When it comes to searching, he knows all the tricks.
That is: 'I don't care how, if only I'll get to where
you can't get' (because I was already always there.
Talking to us about 'nothing' he thinks is great fun.
Charlie is a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer, and
does marketing sponsorship coaching for people who do
car racing, once his great passion (as a race driver
he used to be in the world top 10.)
To quote you, after your introductory lines of
Awakening To The Eternal (on your website): 'Lies!
Lies! Truth cannot be languaged. It is hopeless. It is
an impossible task. Only a fool like me would try'.
There are quite a few communicators who would, as we
Yes. They are all like me ... fakes. I've noticed that
authentic pointing usually includes a disclaimer of
some sort, to avoid the confusion, which I now include
for this apparent Charlie: Nothing I say is the truth.
And 'I' am not an enlightened person. That would be a
gross contradiction in terms, a true 'Oxymoron.'
(Emphasis on the Moron part.) I had a marvelous
conversation on New Years Day with my Beloved Friend
Tony Parsons. I said: 'First off, I have to tell you,
I am a fake.' Tony laughed and said, 'Me too!' (Tony
points constantly to the non-existence of a 'person;'
reiterating that the so-called person is a phantom, a
Remember our friend Lao Tsu? 'The Tao that can be told
is NOT the Eternal Tao.' Of course, he went on to
apparently 'tell' the Tao for another eighty plus
verses of beautiful, really sublime, poetic pointing
toward the Eternal.
All that is happening here is that there is a
body-mind called Charlie pecking away on a keyboard
with two fingers. What sees this going on? There is a
simple sense, I am, I exist. NOT the thought I am. The
thought 'I am' is NOT the I that I am. That I is
impersonal. It is you and the world and everything and
nothing. And This is all simply... happening, In the
Space of That I.
You have been on 'the pathless path' quite a while,
you spoke to many people, studied the sages. Can you
tell us about that ('knowing that you are not your
Ah yes. The story. We love our stories. The story of
ME. I am the star of my story. And it is SO
interesting, to me! To anyone else it is Boring. They
love THEIR story. In which THEY are the stars. Of
course, there really IS NO One so the whole exercise
is, as Shakespeare noted, 'A tale told by an idiot,
filled with sound and fury, signifying ...NOTHING, a
poor player who struts about on the stage and then is
heard from no more.
But OK, here it is anyway:
I appeared as Charles David Hayes Jr. on 14 December
1936. I have been a spoiled brat, a jazz musician, and
a professional racing driver once rated in the top ten
in the world. I raced for Ferrari in the 1960's and
later owned a Ferrari agency. I won a number of races,
which 'Made me feel whole and complete. For about an
hour.' I had many friends, amongst them movie stars,
Indy winners and Formula One racers. In 1968 I
appeared briefly in a major motion picture, 'Winning,'
with Paul Newman, who drove my then current Can-Am car
in the film.
Despite having wealth, fame, marvelous friends, a
loving family and huge successes, there was always
something missing. There was a deep fundamental sense
that 'something is wrong' and 'I am not a good
person.' And as my life unfolded there was a deep
feeling that 'I don't belong', and that 'I am on my
own in a hostile world.' Despite all the successes,
there was quiet (and sometimes quite LOUD)
desperation!' When I was not racing I drank and did
drugs to dull the pain.
I became intensely interested in spiritual disciplines
after the devastating loss of most of my possessions,
my business, my home and even my beloved wife. This
was accompanied by a complete 'nervous breakdown,' for
which I was hospitalized for a month in June 1974.
While I was in the hospital a sort of strange
awakening occurred (although I did not see it as such,
I just thought I was crazy.)
Sitting in a group, another patient began to speak and
I had the clear and unmistakable experience of being
not me any more but rather being HIM. Knocked me for a
loop. It was 'me' speaking through that body-mind
apparatus over there; I knew what he was about to say
a split second before the sound was heard. I had
disappeared and there was nothing, a space, in which
thinking arose and sound arose _ for no one!
I later learned that this was what was referred to in
the East as Jnana or pure knowing without a 'knower',
or in some Christian mystical literature, the
'Impersonal Life' at the heart of creation. After that
moment I saw quite often that what I had thought was
'me' was actually a machine, running on endlessly,
producing one furball of thought after another. Its
favorite thing to think up was this apparent 'me!'
But not having the least idea of what this might be I
dismissed it as a Looney Toons Moment and went right
back to being 'someone, a person, separate and alone',
a thing with no awareness of the Nothing I had
My Sweet Lord!
Then, while still in that mental ward, I found a
record by George Harrison singing this great 'Love
Song to God' it sent me straight into ecstasy! My
Sweet Lord!! That was another kind of awakening. It
was what I later learned was a taste of the
unconditional, pure love of God, or Oneness called
Bhakti in the East, Agape in the West. I listened to
it over and over.
At this point some new Energy surged up. I lost
weight, exercised, and quit smoking, much to the
amazement of the doctors and staff. They thought I was
Well, it did seem that way. But I was about to crash
big time from this 'enlightenment' after leaving the
cocoon of the hospital. After being discharged, while
still on heavy medication for depression, I was
exposed first to the book 'Be Here Now' by Ram Dass,
and then to the teachings of the Great Sage of India,
Sri Ramana Maharshi. Ramana's teaching germinated for
27 years, while I searched through many teachings,
seminars, gurus, books, tapes, meditations and other
'spiritual practices.' Gurumayi Chidvilasanda
initiated the life saving heart surgery I received in
the year 2000.
In 2001 I received initiation as a Reiki Master
Teacher. Becoming a Reiki Master was a breakthrough
into a healing, freedom and joy that I had sought
since 1974. But it seemed a piece was still missing.
Then in 2002 I met the Indian Saint Sri Sri Ravi
Shankar. We quickly became quite close and, there was
tremendous Love and profound 'Resonance' between us.
And lo and behold, Charlie-Ishan became 'enlightened.'
So he thought.
WOW! Bliss, at last...
I was in love with everything and everyone. I saw NO
lack or limitation and I saw that EVERYTHING was
perfect, just as it is. There was NOTHING wrong any
more, for me. ('For me.' Uh Oh!)
(Right now as this is being typed, there is the
thought, wow, this is FUN, accompanied by a feeling of
great joy and enthusiasm. I guess that is as good an
explanation of why this communication is happening as
any! If any explanation is wanted by a mind out there
this will do nicely!)
OK, Back to the Tale Told By The Idiot: After a few
weeks the apparent 'Oneness' began to fade of course,
and I got real worried! I can see now that there was a
deep and profound EXPERIENCE of oneness... but it was
for a 'me.' And as we know ALL experience is
temporary. After a few weeks it was (apparently) gone,
and that 'me' was left with the same endless despair
that I knew as my 'default state'. So, it seemed that
something was STILL 'wrong' with 'me.' A piece was
still missing. That missing piece turned out to be
authentic Non-Dual Spirituality, known as 'Advaita.'
The Non-Dual 'Teachings' point out that, as I
mentioned before, NO PERSON becomes enlightened! The
'one' who wants it is GONE when it 'happens.' There
are no enlightened body-mind machines! Something had
led me to the Sage Wayne Liquorman, and from 2002
through 2004 I finally became inalterably convinced
through the words of Wayne, Ramesh Balsekar,
Nisargadatta Maharaj and others that this
enlightenment that 'I' was seeking all those years is
utterly IMPERSONAL and is NOT something a 'person' can
'attain.' In a way this was VERY bad news. I realized
that for thirty years I had been looking under the
streetlight for a key that was lost by the door, but
you see, there was no light by the door so I kept
looking for 'it' where it WASN'T.
Then I tried a new meditation 'Practice' called the
Ishayas Ascension. That was quite profound. As I began
the second day of the three-day Course, suddenly there
was this very deep realization that The Eternal (also
called 'The Ascendant') was NOT some THING or 'State'
to 'Attain.' It was the absolute NATURAL
always-present Presence that is at the core of
everything. It is clean, clear and profound in its
timeless beauty. Seeing this over and over, as an
experience, rather than a 'dry' concept, was MOST
welcome! However, that was still an 'experience' for a
'me' at that stage.
Finally in late 2004 after a retreat in Sedona with
Wayne Liquorman I got fed up, frustrated, and
exhausted. In my despair, I got rude and nasty with my
friend Wayne, who is not one to suffer ignorant fools
and who summarily kicked me out of his Satsang. That
was PERFECT as it turned out because that led me to
Listening to Tony there was immediate and deep love.
It was amazing, palpable. In September 2004 I heard a
tape of a talk he gave in California that just left me
in awe. And now the light was seen as definitely NOT
the train. Tony was pointing toward Home from
EXPERIENCE, sharing that Experience with me. And the
message Tony was delivering was.. is _ delightfully,
utterly devoid of the usual spiritual concepts. Over
the next few weeks I heard many talks by Tony, which
resonated deeply. There was a beautiful unfolding of
that which had been missing. It is a Pure and Simple
IMPERSONAL Affinity, Friends sharing with Friends,
rather than some 'Sage' sitting in a big chair looking
down from his high attainment at some 'miserable
seekers.' 'There was No 'Enlightened person!' There
never was, is, or could be. This was the beginning of
Liberation For No One.
These insights led 'me' to read books by and/or chat
with other nice people like Leo Hartong, Nathan Gill,
Jan Kerschot, John Wheeler, 'Sailor' Bob Adamson, Joan
Tollifson, Wei Wu Wei and Gilbert Schultz. After an
intense period of interaction with John Wheeler,
spiced up by Leo, John Greven (John Wheeler's friend)
and Gilbert, there came a settling in that awareness
that is all there is, and there is no me except as an
appearance of thought in the space of that awareness.
And an appearance is a ghost, a fake. No more real
than the shadow of the tree is the tree.
And in the now there is no person. Just This. Typing
at a keyboard. Looking out of the window. Noticing
thought and feeling appearing in the Space that is the
I am. Drinking Coffee. Watching a crow fly across the
empty sky. Hearing the hum of the computer and the
clack of the keys. Noticing the thinking that there is
someone thinking, seeing through that ... aware of the
light that lights the mind like the light that shines
through the prism splitting itself apparently from One
'I saw the light at the end of the tunnel -and it
wasn't the train-', you mentioned that a few times.
I once thought that The Light that was seen was the
Source teasing me with glimpses of the experience of
the Self. Later I came to see (a seeing
occurred/occurs) that that too is nonsense. The
experience is NOT the Real. Not The Eternal. The
Eternal is absolutely nothing! No Thing. Neti Neti as
the Hindus say. Total negation. Not Not Not! And this
cannot be known or understood.
As I said only a fool would try to speak the
unspeakable. 'The Tao that can be told is NOT the
Eternal Tao.' The moment we think or speak there is
something thinking or speaking ABOUT That which can
NOT be represented in language. That can NOT be RE-
presented. IT is always present, shining right now as
the light of Awareness, a Naked Presence, BEFORE the
mind. A Priori.
Gilbert Schultz points to it simply as 'One moment
endlessly unfolding.' 'Sailor' Bob uses the concept
'Presence-Awareness, just this, nothing else. Full
stop.' All point endlessly to That which cannot be
pointed to. Because That does not exist AS AN OBJECT!
One-Without-A-Second means NO separation, doesn't it?
'What kept you going on exploring, was there an innate
More like an innate desperation. But truly, this is
not anything the seeker can control, nothing that
happens can be controlled by any appearing 'me. This
'Awakening' stuff is a bit like having a spin-out at
180 MPH in a race car. After the ride is over people
say, 'Wow, you did a great job controlling the car!'
Nope, 'I' was just along for the ride.
The shadow does not control that which casts the
shadow. The shadow appears real but in fact without
the Source, the shadow cannot exist at all. And even
further out, without the Light that shines as the
Source of the Source there could be no shadow.
What kept 'me' exploring was that there was no one
choosing. If there had been a 'me' to choose that me
would have stopped the seeking long ago! Seeking is
misery for the apparent seeker. Finding never happens,
it Never has for any 'one' and never will. It is a
hopeless case, chasing one's tail. Do you know the
play 'Waiting for Godot?' I don't know the whole text,
but I was struck by the premise, as I understand it:
'Waiting for Godot. It is horrible. He NEVER comes.
All there is is waiting.'
The whole idea of a 'me' seeking that can choose to
seek or not, to keep going or not, is straight out of
the ignorance of the split mind. As Wei Wu Wei points
out so elegantly, the whole problem is that we have
our attention on 'me' and there ISN'T one! You see
there is no one. It is not, there is no choice. There
is no chooser. Choosing appears and happens as a part
of a story of 'me.' But there is no such person as
'me.' Just a body-mind typing away this morning ...
this apparent entity I call myself is but an idea in
the split mind that thinks itself to be real and
believes itself to exist separately from all else that
So who can choose to continue exploring if there is no
We have a theme in this Amigo issue that is 'no
regrets'. Please comment.
I regret that I have no comment: --- Just kidding!
Regrets can arise. The difference is, that regret,
like happiness or any other emotion or thought, is
simply seen as a natural expression of Oneness arising
in the Space of that which we are ... the Eternal. I
had a conversation last night with someone that ended
'badly.' She was being stubbornly right about all that
she 'knew' about everything. Finally I ran out of
patience and said, you, my dear, are being both
arrogant and ignorant.' You can imagine how well THAT
went over! Mind you, in order to see that I had to
recognize that IN the 'me' that thinks it is a person.
So it was seen that, yes, that 'me' that thinks it is
who I am IS arrogant and ignorant! That is what's so
in the play.
But it is also, so what? So this morning there is
regret. I would prefer that there be affinity in all
my relationships. But there is no GUILT. Guilt can
only arise for a 'me' that thinks 'it' did 'something
wrong.' Nothing is right or wrong unless there is a
thinker thinking that there is something wrong or
right. And if you and I look for that 'Thinker' we
find beyond doubt that 'It' does not exist. As
'Sailor' Bob says: 'What's wrong with right now,
unless you think about it?' So regret can arise. As
can fear, anger, joy, peace, depression, happiness,
all of the spectrum. But it simply arises in the
space, the pure naked awareness, and then dissolves
back into that. And when this is seen by no one, it is
seen that the seeing, the seen and the apparent
process of seeing are NOT separate.
All there is is Consciousness. No thing. Happening.
Charlie's website: www.AwakeningToTheEternal.Net
PS Days after the ending of out email conversation we
received another e-mail from Charlie wherein he
communicates in all honesty:
[...] There is sometimes still a deep, abiding sadness
near the core of 'me' and a sense that I am not 'done'
... though I sometimes try to claim that I am. So the
unfolding into Light goes ... and the inquiry into
who, and what, that 'me' is, continues.
I have been deeply touched by a great many people who
have shared their experiences of 'awakening' on the
spiritual path on the Internet. And so I am moved to
share my process.[...]
- posted to AdvaitaToZen
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