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. Duh)

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 all know..?

Yes. They are all like me ... fakes. <smiling> 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 fake.)

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 story')?

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.

life strikes

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 glimpsed.

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 miraculously cured.

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 Tony Parsons.

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 into Many.

'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 confidence somehow?'

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 alla bitlike 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 is.

So who can choose to continue exploring if there is no one?

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.[...]