Remembrance of war past

A Vietnam vet’s journey from a “19 year old hippy kid” to a life coach

GUEST COLUMN: OSCAR TRUITT — When I was drafted into the army in 1969, I was a 19 year-old hippy kid who believed in the concepts of peace and brotherly love.  When I went to Vietnam, I had the idea that I would never shoot my weapon at anyone.

But the first time out in the field, the guy walking behind me was hit by sniper fire.  Everyone started shooting. I did too — to protect him, and the others.

Firing a weapon became an act of group consciousness, not individualism. It was not done from selfishness, but from a concept of brotherly love that I had thought I believed in, but had never understood until that moment.  I discovered that I didn’t know what I believed in, and didn’t know who I was.

I discovered that peace was a state of being that I hadn’t yet attained.  What I have learned — in retrospect — is that one of the insights that I have now into “spiritual protection” had its roots in my experiences in Vietnam.

Vietnam: an embodiment of U.S. racism

Before going overseas, I had been initiated into Transcendental Meditation.  In Vietnam, while guys around me were smoking pot and opium, I was practicing my mantra and reading the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita helped me understand my place in the war — as part of the collective and part of the illusion of the struggle between life and death.

vietnam-fam-pix-smallAnd I saw things that created depth in me as a person. The war had changed into something other than what was portrayed as its original intent (ie. to free a people from communism). It had become, for many Americans, an extension of the racism that had been consuming the soul of our nation.

In Vietnam, angry men had the opportunity to kill the yellow man (a strange term, as I’ve never really seen a “yellow” man).  This opportunity had been denied on their own soil — I’m speaking of the hatred for black people in the U.S.

In fairness, I know this was not true for everyone, but I saw it was true for many. This was my epiphany about the war: I knew the war was wrong and that it could never be won. The “superior” American image, the egotism of the tall and “better” Caucasian race had overstepped its boundaries.

This may sound like I was full of anger and disillusionment.  And perhaps, for a time, I was. But it was an eye opening revelation. I began to view the war objectively, as a learning experience about human nature.

Enveloped by spiritual protection

vietnamvetstatueAs mentioned earlier, I became conscious of spiritual protection for the first time during my time on the battlefield. While in-country, I began to somehow know I would not be killed. There were times when I was surrounded by artillery and gunfire, but, knowing I was exempt, I was able to take it in with good humor. Yes, there were many moments when I was frightened, even thinking I might receive a debilitating wound, but I never thought I would be killed. My spiritual revelation: I was protected.

One night, I lay in a bunker smoking a cigar with a friend, Don Sloat, who had just received a package from home. I was not a fan of cigars, but that one was particularly smooth and enjoyable (it must have been the setting).

“Oscar,” he told me, “I know I’m going to die here.” I remember that vividly because the next day he was killed by a booby trap while on patrol.

Sometimes, in intense situations, you know things without fully understanding how. I learned I was protected, and that I wouldn’t die. My friend learned his destiny the day after that beautiful smoke.

And I am sure there is a meaning to this story and experiences like it: we all have a mission.

Don completed his mission when his declaration opened my heart to deep compassion.  And because I was protected during the war, I still work on living out mine. . .and still honor the gift of that cigar.

We all play a part in the Divine Plan

cloudrayssmallerI don’t believe that I’m special for having this protection, nor do I believe that my friend was less special for having to die when he did.  I do believe that we all have some part to play in the Divine Plan. And because mine is not yet finished, someone or something has allowed me to continue my journey here.

Today, I work as a life coach. Through the years, I’ve come to discover that I’m here in this world to help others find their place in that Plan.

Saying that even sounds a little pretentious to me, but I’ve had many experiences like the story above. And through these experiences, I have developed and realized my gifts of intuition, of “reading” the patterns behind events and lives, and seeing into the souls of others.

The world is changing. There’s something big coming and we need to be ready for it. Some of us were “sent” to help people find their purpose in all of this, and even though I don’t know what it all means, I do know how to help.

And that’s probably the greatest piece of wisdom I’ve acquired along the way: knowing and unknowing can exist side by side, and we don’t have to understand what everything means. It’s enough to know it means something.

oscar1Oscar Truitt is a certified light coach who operates True-It-Is-Coaching in the Greater Boston area.  Visit him at Creating On Purpose.

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21 Responses to “Remembrance of war past”

  1. This is such a fascinating topic. I had an opportunity to sit in on a author-speaker presentation, and the book, “Third Man Factor” by John Geiger recounts true stories of divine intervention when a person is facing extreme challenges. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail.

  2. Oscar,
    This is a wonderful post. Knowing you as I do from coaching school, I know this to be your authentic self. Shine on and help others through this process.

  3. Thank you for this article and the “awareness” that preceded it. It’s a tricky concept, this “spiritual protection”, and you described it well. It requires that we step outside human logic about the meaning if events. When we recognize that we all have a purpose and a role to play in the larger “scheme”, it changes the way we value or “mis-value” things. And it is hard for many to wrap their mind around it – “mind” being part of the problem.
    In my own life, I have often asked “How did I get to be so lucky?” – the answer isn’t luck, it’s a deeper truth and responsibility to work with my experience to further the growth of all. It also calls upon each of us to honor the role that each other play in the same drama, just as you have with the roles your buddies on the battlefield played. We may not see the importance of their role but it is as important and we need to honor and support each and all.

  4. This writing was shiny — it was sparkling with the simple statement of “I don’t know why, I just did and am… and will.” That is what is believable, to me. All of the supposition in the world and intellect pales to action. I’m looking forward to the stories that come next, Oscar.

    Thank you for sharing your experience…

  5. Dear Oscar,

    Another interesting layer of your personality has been revealed to me through this article. It would seem that we never know where ‘the lesson’ is going to be coming from in our lives. Thank you for sending me a link to this inspiring story! I look forward to reading more of your writings on line and a book compilation eventually being published…

  6. I feel guided, that’s for sure, and I put most effort in feeling my inner self so that things flow by itself. Do I feel protected? I don’t know whether that’s the same… When I get harmed, I accept there’s a lesson that I need to learn and again, I try to listen clearly what that lesson is. It always works for me…

  7. I feel protected all the time. What a pickle my life would be without spirit guiding me!

  8. I experienced this twice.

    The first was when we were receiving small mortar fire from what I call a “hit and run” attack. I lay by a tree watching the rounds ‘walk’ their way towards me. I braced, wondering what it would feel like when it reached me. The rounds stopped… and I never found out.

    The second was quite different. I was the Platoon Leader’s RTO. I had tried to get a dental appointment for some time. Finally I got one, and took a chopper back to the base. When I returned the next day, I learned that the LT had been killed in a firefight.

    I’m not an overly religious or spiritual person, but I felt (maybe hoped) from then on that somone was watching over me.

  9. I think luck and spirituality are 2 different things…just my personal opinion…

    Never had a spiritual experience in combat, but had too many instances of luck to count…

  10. I know I am always protected. I have been in many situations where my life was at risk and I came out safely. I know it’s not luck. This does not mean I will never be harmed or hurt, it just means I am being looked after, not to worry as it is always in God’s hands.

  11. I have certainly felt protected from spiritual harm in several very strange, spiritual situations. Although I’ve been extremely lucky on many occasions, I am not sure if I was being physically protected by a spiritual force.

    I wonder, and I want it to be true, but then that gets me into the *why* would I be physically protected, for what reason, and that gets me into the “why am I here” thing. I’m really trying not to dwell on that question.

    I suspect that whatever my reason for being is (if there is one and we all aren’t just more algae on the face of the planet) I won’t know what it is. Maybe I have fulfilled it already and I didn’t realize it. I think my growing edge is not to know.

  12. Everyday I believe we are, or rather can be, protected from harm by spiritual entities. If we listen, then we will hear. Paying attention to the subtle guidance of a spirit helper is a choice we make. Should we tune this out or ignore it, then the consequences of our actions are what we must endure.

  13. Rosemarie Ashley Reply 17. Jul, 2009 at 7:38 am

    One time, decades ago, I was in the attic of my house, at the edge of the pull-down staircase when I lost my balance. As I began to fall backwards into the opening, I felt an invisible hand steady my balance. Hmmmmm….I looked around. I lived alone so didn’t expect to see anyone there. I could have broken my neck…

  14. Oscar,

    This article is amazing! Spiritual protection for me has evolved from a belief to an inner knowing, almost a certainty, something like we have “Celestial Insurance”. I have continous dreams where things fall apart around me and I surrender to the distruction around me…but I end up untouched! The work you do is truly Angelic…I think I already told you this! Thank you for sharing your gifts!

  15. Carole Hoffman, CNDP Reply 18. Jul, 2009 at 6:05 am

    Thanks to my “Spiritual mentor”, Kathy Oddenino ( I understand myself as energy and I can use my own spirit energy to protect myself from harm. I use her technique everyday in my holistic health practice. I surround myself with spirit energy to protect myself from the energy of my clients, which is generally not very healthy. It works like a charm! We can do this in any situation. All of us can.

  16. Thank you for this heart-wrenching story. No one, except someone who has been in battle can know what it’s like to be in the line of fire and have to protect oneself or someone(s) else by killing another human being. The Vietnam war was an atrocious crime against humanity. In that war people didn’t have a choice whether to fight or not to fight because they were drafted,(unless they became fugitives). I don’t know what I would have done in your place. I’m glad I didn’t have to make the difficult decision. But I am very glad that you were protected.
    In my life I feel I have been protected as I’ve faced financial challenges. Somehow a cheque or a job or a sale of a painting has always come my way to pull me out. Faith is difficult to explain. I just know on a deep level that somehow I’ll survive. Do I have doubts? Sure I do, I’m not a 100% sure that what I believe on a deep level is the truth. However, I am like a fisherman who casts his net into the ocean and has faith that it will be filled. If it isn’t filled he can’t survive. Maybe you have to be like that fisherman and cast your net into the ocean of life in order to survive.. in other words you have to take the leap and have faith that everything will turn out all right..

  17. Carlos Gutierrez Reply 22. Jul, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Greetings All,

    Intuition can protect you all the time when you begin to pay attention to your present moment and see how you feel about things or people. Spiritual guides can also protect you from danger by aknowledging them. You always create your own lack through your own intuition. Other people can also protect you from danger when you pay attention to them, even a distraction from others can safe you from danger.


  18. We are most definitely surrounded by angels and spirit guides. Our weekly radio show Talk-N-Angels invites listeners to call in and talk about these types of experiences. We’re relatively new to broadcasting and were literally compelled to do this show – divinely pushed is a better way of putting it. We need help growing our listener base.

    The angels started talking to me about 4 years ago and we have to get more people to understand how to elevate their vibration to communicate to them internally for guidance. Our website is and we’re on Thursdays from 4pm to 6pm EST at where you can listen live.

  19. It’s been interesting going through the list of responses here – seeing all the varied and intersecting points of view.
    The topic of protection, for me, has expanded over the years; I now think in terms of “knowing”, and “revelation”.
    Through the paths my spirit has taken me, I’m learning that Knowing is a connection to the intuitive, inner part of deeper realities – a way that we connect to the “flow” of life, and by that connection, are able to read the patterns of events and feelings.
    Unknowing takes me to a different place – different, but interactive with the first: I work with spiritual light now, developing my own sensitivities to it and helping others discover theirs. That light reveals awareness that is beyond our selves, connected to us yes, but at a higher level, the level of “unknowing” or, as some have called it, Mystery. So, the way of light is more an outer movement, an experience of Revelation.

    It seems that this path takes us on and on, in an upward spiral; and, as vantages change, so do our definitions of this tenuous thing we call reality. I love that: how much is still unknown. How many vistas are yet to be explored.

    Viet Nam was a hard place for a nineteen year old kid. But I’m glad of the experience. Not proud of it, but glad.
    It was part of the path for me.
    Each of the pieces of all of our lives are parts of our individual paths.
    May yours bring you to the essence of freedom.


  20. Was leaving the airstrip at Tay Ninh on a mule with 3 fifty-five gallon barrels of aviation fuel to keep our generators running to provide lighting in our aid bunker when VC started walking 122s across the base camp; 3 came in front of me before I could kill the motor and hit the ground; 4th left small crater about 20 feet behind me and left shrapnel holes through the front and back of the conex container beside me; the significant thing was that not one little piece of shrapnel hit the 165 gallons of aviation fuel sitting on the mule next to me !

    No one can tell me that wasn’t Divine intervention !

  21. I love the song and video by British musician Paul Hardcastle. it was released in 1985 and still holds up today. Sadly, youth are still being used as cannon fodder all over the world to fight the battles of old men.