Nonduality Talk with Charlie Engel


Charles (Charlie) Engel is a retired Teamster, having worked in trucking and package delivery for 35 years.

Charlie was born and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly his entire adult life. As a “four decade” resident of Walnut Creek, Charlie lived at the edge of a mystical wonderland, The Shell Ridge Open Space. His experiences and insights have been shared in several stories, some of them on facebook and a popular Teamster forum.

As a religious freedom advocate, Charlie assisted a dear friend, Bob Swanson, in addressing matters of concern on behalf of the Sikh community. Bob also inspired Charlie to address problems in the workplace through means that were seldom used and/or recognized by his coworkers . As a Union reformer, he and friends addressed several “problems” in organized labor, many of them National in scope. Charlie and friends have written and collected several thousand pages of documents relating to their endeavors, the majority of which have not been shared with the public.

Charlie is currently enjoying retirement in Fort Bragg, California. He has nearly completed building a Temple which will serve as a gateway to alternate realities including shamanic realms.

Charles Engel can be reached at:

Play or Download link:


0:00 – 2:30 Introduction. Temple he is building and intentions for it. Relation of his interests to the nondual realm.

2:30 – 3:49 Connecting with nature spirits. Steven Doyle.

3:49 – 4:50 Going with flow as far as creating the Temple as a dedicated sacred space. Other uses for the Temple. Spirit House as space for ACIM and other discussion groups.

4:40 – 9:38 What drives Charlie. Background as teamster and union reformer. His role in a lawsuit against UPS.

9:38 – 14:08 Introduction to Shell Ridge Open Space in Walnut Creek. Relation of his experience in the Open Space to building the Temple. More on development of the Temple and people interested in accessing it.

14:08 – 19:29 More on the Shell Ridge Open Space. Discussion about his late wife and parents. Relationship with his wife. The trees in the Open Space and how they speak to Charlie.

19:29 – 25:13 Nature of how Charlie’s life is unfolding. His nondual experiences. Some spiritual autobiography: Experimentation with psychedelics in the Sixties. Experience of the white light and love. Kundalini experience. Permanent change in perception. Remote viewing.

25:13 – 29:54 Desire to raise a family. Joined Mormon Church. White light/samadhi experience during a prayer for guidance and the associated nondual awareness. Amma mentioned. Nature of samadhi. Effect of nondual experiences.

29:54 – 32:40 Sikh friends into chasing miracles. Marian movement. Fear of miracles.

32:40 – 34:50 Entheogens. MAPS Conference. Usefulness and danger of entheogens.

34:50 – 37:58 Charlie is asked what his greatest strengths are at this point in his life. People finding healing, finding oneness with nature and self. Nature of nondual relationship as dualistic, nature of talking about nonduality.

37:58 – 40:15 Charlie talks about his mother and father in relation to his understanding of the nondual. View of western civilization regarding nonduality. His friends. Ron Nadeau and Spirit House.

40:15 – 43:14 Charlie is asked why he thinks northern California is a hotbed of nondual interest. Feeling blessed to live in that area.

43:14 – 48:21 Charlie is asked about the property he lives on. Talks about the power of his 70s style sound system for the Temple. Drum circle compared to a good amplifier. Ron Nadeau’s interest in sound healing and the Temple.

48:21 – 51:18 Charlie talks about his walks in the Shell Ridge Open Space and about the Space itself and how it reveals itself and how it saved his life.

51:18 – 53:16 Comparing life in the Open Space to life in the city. Charlie’s walks on the beach, now that he’s not living adjacent to the Open Space.

53:16 – 54:17 Charlie tells of an experience on Shell Ridge walking late at night. The moon.

54:17 – 55:20 An experience on Shell Ridge with fog.

55:20 – 57:23 The shaktipat experience with a coyote.

57:23 – 1:00:36 Drumming in the Open Space at sunset and what happened with coyotes.

1:00:36 – 1:02:52 With Steven Doyle and their drums, visiting the frog pond in the Open Space.

1:02:52 – 1:07:32 Crow stories. Comment on sychronicity.

1:07:32 – 1:11:46 Story of his bull mastiff Shaman and walking him through the Open Space late at night. Shooting star coincidences, including Amma The nature of these interviews.

1:11:46 – 1:20:47 The story of the Father Tree. The Dog Tree. The Slide. The impact on high school students taken into the Open Space.

1:20:47 – 1:26:19 Charlie talks about sharing experiences in the Open Space as well as at his developing Temple, Dragonfly Den. The attitude of openness. Resonating with the heart-mind. The themes of intimacy, peace, healing, the nondual. The unsettling nature of stumbling on the nondual.

1:26:19 – 1:31:54 Charlie’s interest in his ancestors in the sense that they are alive in his psyche in some way. Shamanic attitude of time as not existing. Discussion group he belongs to and its diverse interests and openness. Charlie’s activities and interests as essential to health in older age.

1:31:54 – 1:35:15 Not hiding from “the dark stuff” in the world. Concern for younger generations. The difficult times people are facing. Healing the community.

1:35:15 – 1:38:55 Discussion about Randall who works with light and designed a certain kind of projector, a portal of sorts to shamanic realms. Charlie’s work as a portal and not getting in the way of the process of how things are developing around his work. The meanings of words and assuming the other person understands your meanings. Believing vs recognizing.

Writings and stories by Charlie Engel:

Karma and a $87 Million Settlement on Behalf of Labor

The Hollow Hill Human Head and the Fallen Pine

Hiking Trip — By Sarah Laue
by Charlie Engel


Experiencing Oneness — A Testimony

Mother Speaks

A Parasitic Corporate Goliath

Encounters with Rattle Snakes and Coyotes While Drumming in the Open Space

The House of Weeping Statues

True Love Never Dies

Two Crows Dancing

3 thoughts on “Nonduality Talk with Charlie Engel

  1. Charlie Engel

    Index of Photos Appearing In The Interview

    0:00 / Charlie Engel Interviewed by Jerry Katz, January 31, 2013

    1:0l / Charlie and Spencer in a meadow on Mt. Tam.

    2:40 / Steven Doyle, Charlie and Spencer taking a break on the Mt. Diablo Trail in the Shell Ridge Open Space.

    4:35 / Charlie, Vaidahi and Teamster friends. Time to repair the fence surrounding Amma’s Rose Garden.

    6:29 / Marquel in his package car. Marquel spent countless hours studying in law libraries in order to assist his Teamster brothers and sisters.

    7:23 / Roses in Amma’s Rose Garden.

    10:04 / The Indian Creek Trail approaching the frog pond from the North. Spectacular, fern covered cliffs just out of view to the left.

    11:43 / Spring meadow above the frog pond.

    13:45 / Road to magic.

    16:03 / A fallen skeleton.

    18:12 / Spectacular view of Shell Ridge from Joaquin Ridge.

    19:52 / Vaidahi in Amma’s Bookstore with an Amma doll.

    21:47 / Lela’s dashboard.

    23:41 / Amma’s Sandals

    25:21 / Sacred faces.

    27:31 / An enchanting encounter with Great Horned Owl Feathers

    28:24 / Sikh Gurdwara, San Jose at sunset.

    30:26 / Harkirin Khalsa and Snatam Kaur.

    32:21 / Harkirin and Jogendra on a North Coast beach.

    33:53 / My wonderful friends.

    35:47 / Open hearts and roses at Life House care facility.

    37:19 / Amma’s youth group prepares to deliver roses at Life House.

    38:35 / Good cheer meeting new friends.

    40:30 / Roses for the nursing home.

    41:54 / The rose crew!

    44:04 / Roses in Amma’s Rose Garden.

    49:48 / Indian Creek

    51:20 / The Mt. Diablo Trail above Indian Creek.

    53:14 / Skeleton in the gully!

    55:47 / Shamanic Altar.

    58:04 / Medicine Drum on Altar.

    1:01:00 / Frog Pond. Bench is out of sight on left.

    1:02:02 / Spring time view of Frog Pond from bench.

    1:03:26 / Charlie having his palm read by Swami Mommy.

    1:05:05 / Charlie’s Café with Teamster, Matt Montalvo. Matt rehearsed and consulted with coworkers before representing himself in Federal Court.

    1:06:21 / Raven Satellite Totem on my Medicine Drum

    1:07:53 / Cliffs near the Secret Slide

    1:09:33 / Springtime meadow on the North side of Ginder Gap. “Linda’s Cherry Tree” is the last tree on the right, as the slope begins.

    1:10:57 / Dancing Trees on Indian Creek

    1:11:50 / The Father Tree

    1:14:08 / Shamans Face in Spirit Tree

    1:17:57 / Yeti on Secret Slide

    1:21:15 / Dragonfly Satellite Totem on my Medicine Drum

    1:23:40 / The Contrary Stick

    1:25:43 / Dancing Trees

    1:27:45 / Spencer on the trail.

    1:29:55 / A bounty of roses!

    1:31:57 / Back at the nursing home.

    1:33:44 / The source of our inspiration.

    1:35:24 / Thank you.


  2. Charlie Engel

    I don’t have any complaints. Thank you for putting together this presentation of my interview as well as the list of highlights and index to photos.

    I posted the following earlier tonight on facebook. It is relevant to the interview.

    It’s not customary to thank people for doing seva. Thank you anyway.


    Like many, I have collected hundreds of wonderful books over the span of several decades. I purchased some of my books back in the 60’s. I’ve barely scratched the surface as far as reading and, sigh, assimilating the wisdom, knowledge, humor and adventures that are contained in those thousands of pages.

    Sitting here, surrounded by my library, I feel inspired to share titles and insights that strike me as being relevant to the discussions taking place by my Internet friends.

    In glancing at the book shelves, for a minute or two, one book stood out as being inexplicably significant in forming my perceptions. The title is “THE EXPERIENCE OF NOTHINGNESS” by Michael Kovak. I can clearly remember reading this gem during the late night and early morning hours while I was waiting for diesel tractors at the United Parcel Service “feeder” fuel island.

    I didn’t interface well with the work crew at U.P.S. A decade before, I had received a shaktipat initiation by Swami Muktananda while visiting his ashram on the outskirts of Ganeshpuri. Ganeshpuri is located 70 miles from Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. It was built at the edge of the jungle and the base of a sacred mountain. Muktananda’s Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda, had established his ashram in Ganeshpuri years before. Bhagavan Nityananda on Wikipedia @

    I was a “closet yogi” trying to keep a low profile in a simple job. I would have retired as such had U.P.S. not attempted to fire me for violating a Company Policy that didn’t exist. That’s a story in itself, one that has been recorded on well over 4,000 pages of documents plus a few video tapes.

    Back to the books…

    I opened “THE EXPERIENCE OF NOTHINGNESS” to a paragraph that I couldn’t resist quoting. The following pertains to everything and nothing, which shouldn’t be surprising given the title.



    The Experience of Nothingness
    The Source of the Experience
    Page 40

    “Reporters and newscasters know that if they aim at objectivity, at presenting “the facts” without “editorializing,” they run the risk of giving dignity to nonsense, drivel, and outright lies. What really happened in an event is not, they know, discovered by some neutral observation machine, not even by a camera. Events are not events until they are interpreted by human beings. To present events “without interpretation” or “without editorial comment” is, in fact, to interpret them according to criteria that are not likely to shed light on what the events really were. To list statistics, or outwardly observable happenings, or quotations from witnesses, is to give a very narrow view of the human world. It is to offer interpretation and editorial comment of a very misleading sort. Reality does not come divided into “facts” and “interpretations.”


    The Experience of Nothingness
    A Review @

    In “The Experience of Nothingness, “Michael Novak has two objectives. First, he shows the paths by which the experience of nothingness is becoming common among all those who live in free societies. Second, he details the various experiences that lead to the nothingness point of view. Most discussions of these matters have been so implicated in the European experience that the term “nihilism” has a European ring. Novak, however, articulates this experience of formlessness in an American context.

    In his new introduction, the author lists four requirements that must be met by an individual in order for the experience of nothingness to emerge: a commitment to honesty, a commitment to courage, recognition of how widespread the experience of nothingness is, and a virtue of will. Novak writes that these principles are what guide self-described philosophical nihilists. But many people simply borrow the nihilistic conclusions without observing the moral commitments to them. For this reason Novak believes that nihilism is fraudulent as a theory intended to explain the experience of nothingness. Nihilism in practice, he maintains, often results in a form of intolerance. “The Experience of Nothingness “is a work that will cause many scholars to rethink their beliefs. It should be read by philosophers, theologians, sociologists, political theorists, and cultural historians.”


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