Looking Into the Face of Death

Julie Hoyle, Guest Writer
Waking Times

In early 1993, for at least six months I kept having different forms of the same lucid dream that would go something like this:

I would be standing on the shoreline looking out at the ocean, watching in trepidation as a huge, dark tornado was forming. Growing in power and strength, the entire sky would blacken, the wind would grow in intensity and the sand beneath my feet would vibrate. While people around me ran for cover, I would become acutely aware of what I had to do.

First a flash of fear would run over my heart and knowing it was imperative to ignore the fear, I would repeat, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ – I bow to the Light within Me. Rising up, I would enter into the forceful body of the tornado and continuing the mantra of dissolution, I would repeat it until the tornado subsided and the sky opened up to a bright, clear day. On waking, I would always have the impression that it was both practice for and forewarning of an event that was yet to come, though little did I realize it would manifest in the way that it did.

A few months later, one bright Saturday morning in April 1994, I woke at six a.m. and turned to check on my husband. Tony was submerged in his dreams and I knew there was no waking him. So, I gently crept out of bed, pulled on my exercise clothes and decided to take a walk alone.

At the time, Tony and I were living in New Providence, the capital of the Bahamas and we were happy to live on a road that wound its way along the eastern shoreline, affording beautiful views of the ocean. We had been accustomed to an early morning ritual of taking a walk along the water’s edge where we would watch golden yellow shafts of light break the surface of the ocean as the sun rose in a display of magnificence.

  • That morning the sun was already up. Full of energy, I bounded outside, delighted to feel a cool, fresh breeze. As I headed toward the gate, I almost stopped in my tracks. An audible voice said, “This might not be a good idea.” 

    A long time student of meditation and shamanic practices, I took inner guidance seriously. This time, I responded with, “It’s ok.  I am always protected.”  However, had I known what was to come, I would have heeded the warning.

    I continued on, bounding past the elegant pastel colored homes, watching the birds arcing in the breeze, and enjoying the stillness. Strangely, I noted, there was nobody else around. Normally, on Saturday mornings there would be small groups of people enjoying exercise time together, though that day it was unusually quiet.

    Turning at the lighthouse, I began to wind my way back, heading west; close to the water’s edge, happily repeating Om Namah Shivaya. Suddenly, I heard someone calling. Turning, I saw a short, dark man, dressed in fatigues and wearing aviator shades. He was on the other side of the road, standing next to his car, straightening up after rearranging something on the back seats. He called out, “Do you know where Winton Highway is?”

    Immediately knowing that the man was pretending to be lost and that my life was in extreme danger I did not stop. Intent on protecting myself, I pointed to the direction of Winton Highway and continued in the opposite direction, walking as fast as I could toward a house nearby with the intention of entering the gate and seeking safety.

    Unfortunately, this was not meant to be. In the next instant, I felt a sickening thud in my lower back, was thrown upward and landed on a metallic surface, before landing on all fours in the road. Stunned for several seconds, I could not fathom what had happened. Then I turned to see my assailant and sickeningly realized that he had driven his car at full speed across the wrong side of the road and used it as a weapon to drive full force into my back.

    Staggering to my feet, the man lunged forward. Locking his hands with mine, he angrily yelled, “GET IN THE CAR!” and began pulling me toward the open door of his vehicle.

    In an instant, I became aware of multiple levels of reality. First, I knew if I succumbed my life would be finished. Second, I could feel an enormous energy building inside my body. Starting at the base of the spine, pushing its way upward, was the most overwhelming fear I had ever experienced. With my knees almost buckling, I knew if I gave in to the fear, it would be all over.

    Remembering my dream and the importance of staying focused, I began to feel something else. Underneath the fear was another force that felt completely expansive, limitless and infused with incredible power. I recognized it immediately as a quality of Presence I had always been immersed in when dream-traveling. With the power and inherent courage of that recognition, I looked the man directly in the eyes and yelled, “NO!  It’s not my time. There is more I have to do!”

    Grappling back and forth, I bit the man on the hand affirmed, “OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!” and to my great relief the assailant suddenly dropped my hands, ran back toward his car and took off. Seconds later, a kind, local man, who lived nearby and had heard my screams, had driven out to investigate and was now in pursuit. Residents also appeared and began taking care of me.

    While being assisted, I became acutely aware that I was not going to play the role of the victim. I immediately began sending light to my assailant, thanking him for the lessons I needed to learn and telling him I forgave him, all of which I knew was vital for healing to take place and for no energy to be continually leaked out through fear and anger.

    For several days after this event, I walked around like a ghost. I had looked into the face of death and escaped, yet I was left feeling un-tethered to the world. It was as if I was standing in what Tibetan Shamans refer to as the Bardo, the plane between birth and death, waiting to be re-born. Unsurprisingly it was during this period that I was graced with extraordinary dream initiations and healing ceremonies after which, I was slowly able to be re-established in my physical body.

    Though to many people this experience appeared dark, it signified a turning point in my life. It opened up profound, more expanded levels of awareness and served to crystallize the truth that even in the most terrifying of circumstances, we are always protected and able to draw on inner strength even in the most terrifying situation. And, it highlighted the importance of living with the awareness that life can be over at any moment.

    Since that day, I listen more intently to my inner guidance, particularly those messages that offer warnings. I have learned to trust my heart and act on inner directives pointing to new opportunities and goals for my life. I have also made certain to act on my intuitive wisdom and not assume I have plenty of time. I no longer put things off. I realize I can’t afford to.

    Ultimately, I have been charged with living my life in honor of what I have been given, while making sure I do everything I have been asked to do. After all, my life is my gift back to the grace that saved me.

    What have you been charged with? Have you been putting things off thinking you have endless time or are you choosing to live with the sacred awareness that this, right now, might be your last moment?

    About the Author

    Julie Hoyle is a natural intuitive, writer, artist and trans-personal hypnotherapist who lives on Grand Bahama Island. Her profound spiritual awakening is detailed in her book, ‘An Awakened Life- A Journey of Transformation,’ and she offers ‘Living in Alignment’ online courses at: www.livinginalignment.org

    Contact the author: truealignment@yahoo.com.

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