In 1981, I was 26 and dating another man in Houston, Texas where I had moved after leaving a yoga ashram in California.
I was still a part-time yoga teacher in Houston and had just finished teaching a wonderful class. The Sivananda Yoga teachings always begin and end the class with a prayer -- that the Guru may remove your own mistakes in teaching, that both teacher and student may benefit from the teaching itself. When I would finish a class, I always felt a great calmness and sense of gratitude for being a part of that teaching. Perhaps that helped me an hour or two later.
The man I was seeing met me at class and we just sat in my parked car on a quiet, residential street and talked -- about many things -- for nearly an hour. We were just enjoying each other's company and the quiet of a late spring day with the windows rolled down. About an hour afterward, I noticed out my rear-view mirror a white car turning from an adjacent block and coming up behind us. Immediately I got a sensation of something being very wrong, although I could not put my finger on what I was feeling. The car drove slowly past us and continued ahead and turned right and I thought no more about it.
We continued talking for at least another hour. Other cars passed, the afternoon passed. I then noticed exactly the same white car I had seen earlier make the same turn onto our road behind me and proceed down toward us. I had an immediate sense of great danger. Something was very wrong. I had a sense that it would somehow involve me. Sure enough, this time, the car stopped beside us. I did not look out my window, but two men were in the front seat. I heard the passenger say "do you wanna die, faggot?" I turned and looked. He had perhaps half his body outside his window, holding a gun with both hands pointed at my face.
At exactly this moment, something else took over inside me. I can only describe it as a force, a voice, a presence ffrom outside, though it used my thoughts (or I felt it did). Everything seemed to suddenly go dark -- I saw only the gun, but in my mind a vision of broken glass and blood formed. It (we, I) then spoke directly to this man, though I never opened my mouth. "Don't you realize that if you kill me, I will simply go directly to my Father?" the voice said. I have never felt a thought so clear in my entire life. "But you -- you will one day have to answer for your actions, for killing someone who posed no threat of any kind to you." That's all that was said. As these words formed, I was aware of their power, the simple truth that was being stated. I had no fear whatever, none. That was simply not a thought at the time.
I suddenly became acutely aware of the fear emanating from this man. He had either intended to frighten me (or perhaps kill me, I don't know) and had not planned for this moment when I showed no fear. I suddenly felt his fear -- real terror, almost panic -- and realized he had no idea how to get out of this situation. He froze, still both hands on the gun. Suddenly the driver of the car just grabbed him and yanked him back into it, saying "let's get the f---- out of here!" The car took off just like in the cartoons, tires squealing, like a bat out of hell, lurched to the right in the next block and disappeared.
Both of us in my car just watched them go. I turned to my friend and we both had seen a vision of broken glass and blood on the dashboard. Suddenly, I realized my knees were knocking uncontrollably! I literally laughed out loud and looked at my knees, rebuking them, recalling Alice Through the Looking-Glass when the White Queen screams before pricking her finger with a sewing needle. 'Why are you knocking now?' I said to my own knees. 'The danger has passed.'
I have never forgotten this experience. I do not know if this man would have killed me or not. I like to think that whatever it was that took over and spoke through me (and I still have such a strong sense that the words did not come from me, but *through* me) changed his life forever, that he would never again be a bully with a gun, threatening people different from him because their very presence threatened his masculinity. I cannot say even that this was an NDE. To be truthful, I don't know what it was, but I felt it to be a gift -- of life, of affirmation of love and a willingness to be truthful at all costs.
An aftereffect I carry with me to this day. I am certain that had I had a gun in the glove compartment or in the car or somehow been armed myself, my thoughts would have been on the weapon, and they would never have permitted the voice that used me to speak the words of truth it did. I have never touched a gun in my life. I am not likely to now. We must speak truth to cruelty, truth to degradation, to the threat of violence. I believe cruelty fears and respects that more than anything. I hope this experience gives courage and hope to others who might have been the victims, or would-be victims, of violent crime. Thank you.