The Charlie Lutes I Experienced by Jim Patterson

We would be excited to hear him speak of such things like God and Angels.
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Charlie F. Lutes conducted thousands of lectures in his lifetime and still managed to always have something new to share.

The Charlie Lutes I Experienced
by Jim Patterson

The thought of Charlie Lutes brings both a smile to my face and warmth in my heart. I can remember back to the 20+ years I came in contact with him starting in the early 1970's and progressing through several lecture halls and several Catalina courses. The following are several recollections I remember about Charlie.

My thoughts of the early 1970's go something like this. It was Friday and that meant another chance to go and see Charlie Lutes. We all met at a central point and then off we would go for the 90-mile trip to Santa Monica and the headquarters of SRM (Spiritual Regeneration Movement). We would drive in my Datsun pickup with a large camper shell on the back. Four would ride in the back and two of us upfront. We would call our trip the Cosmic Consciousness express (Or CC Express) as the group would spend their time meditating on the trip down. We would be excited to meet the “Enlightened Man” and hear him speak of such things like God and Angels and Prakriti.

As we entered the lecture hall, you could feel the energy. It was an energy of silence and peace but it was also coupled with dynamism and excitement. We would rush over to the back corner of the room and see what new items were available to purchase. The smell of Lakshmi Agar Incense filled the air. The table was filled with a few books by Maharishi along with some records and SRM pins as well as other items. There were always a few men in dark suits there to process your orders. In the other corner of the room we would see another group of people hovering around an elegant woman, Helen Lutes. Helen was always available to help others and give out advice and people stood by and listened to all of her pearls of wisdom.

As 8 o'clock approached, Charlie would enter from the back of the room, surrounded by a group of people. He would make his way slowly to the front of the room saying hello to everyone and smiling while everyone quickly took their seats. Charlie would start off with saying “We will start to Meditate” and then he would proceed to perform his abbreviated form of checking to lead us through the mediation. I can remember such statements such as “Let's Close the eyes”, “Feel the Silence”, “Be aware of the thoughts” etc. The room would settle down for a wonderful 15-minute meditation that would end with the characteristic “Jai Guru Dev”. As I slowly came out of mediation, Charlie was already at the podium and starting to talk. He would speak of the Path and of TM and of how fortunate we were to have this available to us. He would discuss over and over again the simple necessity of regularity in the practice. He would then proceed to take some aspect of life and tell us how through both TM and right action and thought, we could overcome anything. He would always finish his lecture with a few words from chapters 7-18 of the Bagavad Gita which would discuss the beauty of supreme experience of devotion with the Divine. We would end the evening with the shortest meditations I have ever had and a final sendoff of “Thanks and we will see you all next week”.

Once again, a group would rush up to the podium to ask Charlie questions. Many others like myself would gather around to hear what he would say. Charlie would show such patience in answering each person's question. We would also have a cookie in hand as well as a hot cup of Chamomile tea to sip on. As we left the building and got into the car, there was silence. Our drive home was filled with thoughts of what we had heard. We were all so grateful to have been in the presence of one who embodied both a simple humanness and a wonderful heart. It was a magical experience that I will always treasure.

Fast forward to around 1990. I was traveling a lot at that time and would try and fly into LAX airport on Friday afternoons. This would give me a chance to go see Charlie before I drove up the coast to home. I would arrive early around 5:30PM or so and sit in my car and meditate. Charlie would also arrive around that time and do the same thing. I would wait until Charlie left his car which was about 6PM on his way over to his favorite restaurant. We would meet up and I would treat him to dinner at a small cafe around the corner. For me, this was such a great opportunity to meet and talk with Charlie. We never talked about the movement or SRM or Angels or Gods. We would talk about politics, the weather, the economy and just life in general. Charlie was very humble to be around. He was a great listener too. He also had a very simple outlook and philosophy of life and that was to help others. He was always polite and cordial and I can recall the thanks and smiles he would give the waitress who would help us. He never pretended to know everything and sometimes in just talking with him, your problems or issues would just melt away because they usually weren't any big deal to begin with. Charlie was optimistic about life and appreciated all the gifts that had been bestowed upon him in his life. In speaking with Charlie, time stopped. You felt like you had his full attention and that he sincerely cared about you and your life.

These were very special times for me. The man who I thought about years ago as almost a God, I came to know as a wonderful man with a huge heart who lived the life of devotion to God and others. We would walk over to the lecture hall which was now at a Senior Center. Charlie would greet everyone as they came in and the lectures and meditations would be the same as before. The crowds were smaller and the Magic of the unknown had disappeared for myself, but it was replaced with a deep-seated appreciation that I had come to know someone who emulated God and Man at the same time and I was fortunate enough to meet him.

Jim Patterson

I really did not get to know Charlie as well as many others who saw him each week over many years. I cannot say that if he were alive today that he would readily recall who I am. And yet he is part of my consciousness and each time I think of Charlie, I am swept up in a wave of Love and appreciation for a truly great man. Thank you, Charlie, for the wonderful gifts you have given me in this life. I am so grateful for our time spent together and I send my heartfelt love to you now!!

Text for “The Charlie Lutes I Experienced” Copyright © 2008 Jim Patterson

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