Long-time MSIA minister and initiate, Sara Nahmias, was introduced to John-Roger in the early days of the Movement. MSIA minister, Dawn Jenkins, interviewed Sara as part of a project to compile stories from elders in MSIA. This article is excerpted from that interview.
Dawn Jenkins: Welcome.
Sara Nahmias: Thank you.
Dawn: You have been a real pioneer in MSIA. Share with us freely the stories of your experiences of meeting the Traveler.
Sara: Well, my story begins before I met the Traveler in the body. I would say it goes back to 1962. And I remember thinking how everything was just finally going well for me. All of the financial stresses that I had in the past years seemed to be dissolved. I had three children. They were healthy. I had a husband who I loved who was so wonderful and beautiful to me. And I thought, “I’m not missing anything,” except something was.
And I thought, “What is it? Get born, grow up, grow old, have family and die? There has to be more than that.”
With that question came a big unfolding and a lot of things began to break away from me. One of the things that I experienced was a dear cousin of mine, Reuben Paris’s brother, died. We were close. And I was really hit hard with grief. And that just started a whole evolution of things.
Then I began to study. Reuben came from Acapulco and he told me about Self Realization Fellowship and Yogananda and I started to study about what he brought forward to the western world. And it helped. I did some meditation. I learned meditation. And I did that for about four years or so.
But prior to that my young husband thirty-one years old had a heart attack. And I was absolutely devastated. And this was in 1963. That devastation was so severe that I would find myself praying to God for his well being. Because at that time they gave him five years to live. My youngest son was three years old. And I kept asking and talking to God to please take me instead of him. “Dear God, if you take me instead of him, give him someone who loves him as much as I do, and don’t allow him to grieve.” I would just go on and on and on with these prayers. And I didn’t want to miss a thing.
And after five years he had a second heart attack. They only gave him five years to live. And almost exactly five years later was the second heart attack. He survived but he was never the same. I saw separation. I found that he was almost a stranger to me. I would later find out that he was only there because he was given an extension of time for my adjustment. Marvin died a few months later from the third heart attack. He was on the golf course.
During this time when I was told, “Your husband has expired,” I went into another state. And the words came to me, “Yes, he’s dead, but everything will be okay.”
Sara: And my thinking was, “It isn’t true. I better rush to the hospital. They’re going to treat him like he’s dead, and he’s not.”
And so when I went to the hospital I looked at him and realized that he was gone. But I was still in this state. And this voice kept coming to me saying, “No, he is dead. It’s okay and everything will be okay.” This held me up.
When I got to my home, my entire house was filled with relatives and friends and people. And all of them came to me to support me in my grief. And they would break down and cry and I would hold them up. And this took place throughout the grieving period. In the Jewish religion we have they call “sitting shiva” and that’s a mourning period. And through this mourning period I was just very stoic and held everyone up. And people asked my sister, “Did they give her some shot or something so that she can hold up like that?” And my sister said, “No. They did not give her anything.” This went on until that mourning period was over and everyone was gone. And the reality and the energy lifted.
I had experienced this energy several months before his death. It was in a car, I was driving to see him in the hospital, and a voice came to me. And every question I asked was answered in this voice. I didn’t know what this voice was, but it was the most comforting feeling I ever had. And I didn’t want to reach my destination because I was afraid I’d lose this energy. And sure enough, when I parked the car the energy lifted and I went to see my husband in the hospital. Here it was a few months later, and he was gone, and the same energy came through.
When all the mourning period was over and everyone left, and the energy was gone, I completely collapsed and sobbed at the reality of him being gone. Reuben, my cousin Reuben Paris, during that period when everyone was in my house told me, he said, “Oh I know a man, we met at a flying saucer convention, and he’s starting seminars.” And I just simply said, “Reuben, I’m so glad you found something. It’s not for me. I’m not interested.”
And this went on for a while. The pain of grief was so excruciating I thought, “Surely I’m going to die and it will be all over.” But I didn’t die. So I told Rueben, “Okay, I’ll go to a seminar.” So he says, “You know, his name is John-Roger if you want to call him on the phone. I have his phone number.” And I said, “Okay, that might help.”
So I dialed his number and it was an answering machine. So I was supposed to go to the seminar, because I wasn’t meant to get him in that way.
And so I went, I drove the car, and at that time in my life I was 36 years old, I was terrified of the dark. I was terrified of electrical storms, and I had absolutely zero sense of direction. And I was to go to the Hollywood hills and find this home.
Dawn: It was night time, there was an electrical storm —
Sara: It was night, there was an electrical storm, and I was going somewhere I had no idea how to get to.
Dawn: And you went anyway?
Sara: I had to go. At the bottom of the hill, before we drove into the Hollywood Hills, Reuben was there. He met me and he took me up these winding roads. I just sat in the back quietly. I didn’t know what was going to take place.
We arrived at the seminar location and this young man, very handsome looking, came in and I thought, “I didn’t picture him that way.” So, J-R did the seminar. The seminar was interesting because it was about feeling the aura. I was familiar with a lot of that from Self Realization Fellowship. So I was okay with that. At the end of the seminar there were people in a line waiting to talk to J-R. And Reuben came over to me and said, “You know, you can talk to him and just see what happens.” And I said, “Oh I wouldn’t even know what to say.”
But I found myself at the end of the line anyway. And I don’t even know how I was at the end of the line. J-R leaned over and looked and he said, “If you’ll all excuse me, I want to talk to that woman right there.” And he brought me forth. I sat down next to him and I said, “I don’t know what to say.” And he said, “Well, you lost someone that was very dear to you and you are dealing with this now.” And I thought, “Oh, Reuben told him about it.” But then J-R began to reveal things that Reuben didn’t know about. And I looked in J-R’s eyes and I said, “I let go. I let go.” He says, “It was time for you to let go. He had to go.”
What I did not explain to J-R was that I had been praying and praying for almost six years to God, “Please save my husband. Take me instead of him.” It went on and on and on and on. So there was this guilt that I let go of as I was talking to J-R telling him, “I let go.” He said, “Yes. Yes. Let go.”
Sara: At the end of the seminar I left. I went home and I was so lifted. A lot of that heavy pain was just leaving me. And this went on every Friday night when I would go to Yvonne Mochel’s seminar in the North Hollywood Hills. I’d feel better. So that was my fix. I had to get my fix.
Then people started asking me, “Well where are you going?” I said, “I’m going to group therapy.” And they said, “Oh, well we’d love to go with you because I see such a difference in you.” “Oh no no no. No.” I’m thinking, “They’re going to feel auras? There’s no way I want my friends to be there, or my family.”
Before too long they were very persistent. They wanted to know. Whatever it was that I got, they wanted some of it. So they did come to seminars and they too found it as uplifting as I did.
But my commitment was so extreme that there was no way, no matter where J-R’s seminars moved to, even though I didn’t know how to get there, I was going. I was going to be there. I had to be there. And so every time they changed locations I said, “Oh God, please help,” because I didn’t know how to get there. But that didn’t stop me. I would go.
At one seminar on the way home I was lost. It was midnight and nothing was open for me to ask directions. And I would go through this but still I kept going to seminars. Either I was very dumb or very trusting.
Dawn: Was that at Pat Lund’s seminar or–
Sara: First it was Judy and Don Pauling’s house.
Sara: And then Pat and Dean Lund had it in their home.
Sara: And that went on for a lot of years. And then they moved. And they had other locations as well.
Dawn: So how many nights a week were you going?
Sara: J-R was doing seminars six nights a week every other week. I think there was one in Thousand Oaks that he did every other week. He taught school at that time.
Sara: And he was doing aura balancings.
Sara: And all of those readings. And of course about three weeks after I went to my first seminar I had my first Light Study with J-R. And that too lifted me tremendously.
So that was my experience meeting J-R and how the Movement touched me, and how supportive I felt with J-R and the seminars.
Dawn: That’s wonderful. So how many days of the week were you going to seminars?
Sara: I was going to about three or four. And things got lighter and lighter.
Then there was Thanksgiving of 1969 — my husband’s favorite holiday. I was just so despondent at my first Thanksgiving dinner without him. I went to seminar and J-R said, “We’re going to do a different seminar today.” He said, “We’re going to get the name in a minute…”
Dawn: A love feast?
Sara: But he said, “–a love feast!” And he said, “We usually have a focal point of someone sitting in this chair.” And he says, “Sara, would you like to come and sit in this chair?” And then he put his hands over me and he said, “The Christ in me salutes the Christ in you.” And then he unfolded all the beautiful blessings and loving that anyone can bestow upon anyone. And each person was to come up and do what they could do. By the end of the love feast, J-R said, “You have enough love for a thousand years.” And yes, it was a beautiful experience. I kept the tape. I still have the tape.
Sara: And it was very uplifting, and it got me through a difficult time.
Sara: And each time I had some difficulty, something would come up to give me the support I needed.
This went on for quite awhile. And then MSIA eventually bought Prana. The house on 3500 West Adams Boulevard. And we began seminars there. Those seminars were Wednesday and Thursday every other week and they were quite beautiful.
Dawn: It’s just wonderful to hear about it.
Sara: And so after a few years they bought the Arrowhead property. It was 1975 and I went up there because they were painting the house and getting the property ready for retreats. And I went up there with my friend Ozzie and his son Eric and quite a few others.
Dawn: Ozzie Delgadillo?
Sara: Yeah. He was so eager to get this cleaned up and ready for retreats. And I thought, “Well, I’ve got to come here again.” The energy was beautiful.
Well in 1976 or ‘77 they began retreats. It was so incredible. The energy was so beautiful, so uplifting. And so I thought, “I’m going to be at every one of these retreats.”
In July I was at a retreat and it was just wonderful again. They had a rope swing tied to two trees very, very high up. Some of these dare devils were always swinging on that rope, going as high as they could and back again. And then they got so good at this they were having girls and ladies and everybody trying it out. And I did it. I tried it and it was fine. I swung across it and back and I did this several times and I was fine with it.
Well there was a lady named Edna. And she was terrified of getting on that rope. And I told her, “It’s really nothing. It’s not that bad. Just hold on and go.” So I said, “I’ll show you.” And there was a young man named Steven and he helped me up on the rope because there was a loop at the end of the rope, you would put your foot in, and then just carry your hand up and hold on. But I didn’t get a good grip.
And I said, “I’m fine.” I didn’t want to impose on him holding me up, which is very typical of what I do. So I didn’t have a good grip. And I started swinging and in my swing I let go of one hand so that I could get a better grip. But in that, my left hand couldn’t hold my weight, and the momentum I was going at. And so the last thing I remembered was just dropping off that rope and bouncing all the way down the hill. But I had no pain. It was just bouncing.
And I thought, “Oh my goodness. I’ll just brush myself off and I’ll be fine.” I didn’t think it was as high as it was. It’s pretty high. And so–
Dawn: It’s a very vertical property and that’s such a steep hill.
Sara: It was a big drop.
Sara: And I was bouncing all the way down. I came to just enough to think, “Oh my God, I could live or die right now.” I believed I had the decision and it was fine. It felt like I was in a cylinder, like a bullet leaving its chamber, going very, very fast. And when I came to, I realized that I could live or die. And I chose to die. And as I’m going back, this image came before me. And it showed me the incompletions I had.
Sara: And then it showed me my daughter. My children lost their dad when they were quite young and it was very traumatic. And I saw her and I thought, “I can’t do that.” And then my incompletions. And there were other things. And I started to look at all these things and started to breathe. But I could barely take the breath. I would find out later that my ribs were broken–
Sara: –and I punctured my lung. So I couldn’t breathe very well. I was looking around and people were around me. I thought, “Oh if they’d only go away and just let me be–” but they said, “Don’t move.” And I’m thinking, “Give me a break. I’ll just dust myself off. I’ll stand up and it’s fine. It’s fine.” But I thought, “What happened to my left arm?” I thought it was severed. And it had not been, but it was broken in several places, severely broken.
Sara: I said, “My left arm. My left arm” And we had a gentleman there who was a doctor. His name was Lee. And he said, “No, no, you’re okay. Your arm is there.” And I thought, “He’s lying. He doesn’t want me to be traumatized. He’s lying.” So I looked down and I saw my left arm across my stomach, and I followed it, and it was intact. So I knew it was there.
Dawn: Yeah, it was attached.
Sara: Yeah. It was attached. And they had an ambulance there. They scooped me up and brought me up to the local hospital which was very tiny. And they started saying, “Oh, fractured skull, broken ribs, broken back, several places,” They kept going. I thought, “Oh my God, they just don’t know. I’m okay. I’m fine.”
J-R and his staff at the time came into the emergency room and they were talking to me. I said, “Just don’t tell my daughter. Just don’t tell my daughter.” I didn’t want her to be frightened. So J-R says, “You have to tell your family.” And of course if I wasn’t thinking rationally at that time.
And they looked at my situation. And I was bleeding internally from all of my organs. The emergency room staff said that I would need much more care than they were equipped to handle. So they had a helicopter and they scooped me up and brought me by helicopter to a hospital. They said the one that would be best suited is Santa Mara Hospital. Wonderfully, that was right in my neighborhood. So that worked out really well.
Sara: When I got there they started taking x-rays and doing all of that stuff. And still I thought, “I can walk.” The whole time I thought, I was hurting, and I couldn’t breathe because my lungs were punctured, but surely if they just let me get up.
And they had me on this wooden slab to take an x-ray. And the slab had a lip at the end by my feet. And my feet were touching the lip. And they tilted it to get at a different angle and that was the first time I realized I could not hold myself up. I completely collapsed like a noodle. I was stunned that I could not walk.
Sara: I could not hold myself up. And that unfolded a whole other story.
Dawn: M-hm. I love hearing it though. It’s one of those miracles.
Sara: It truly was because you know, when I finally got to intensive care all of the nurses called me “the miracle.”
Sara: And they just kept calling me “the miracle lady.”
Dawn: Because of the original prognosis?
Sara: Well for one thing they were sure I was going to be paralyzed at least. If I did survive, I was going to be paralyzed. And so I just took it day by day. But I didn’t like the confinement. I always had this high energy. And here I was in a hospital bed just lying there hour after hour. And that wasn’t what I put in for. I didn’t want this.
I had a catheter, and when I looked at that bag it was like mud. And I thought, “My God, is that coming out of me?” They said all of my organs were bleeding internally and the bag was just full of this mud. And the next one they changed was crystal clear.
Dawn: Wow, that’s a miracle.
Sara: That was the miracle too. And I even couldn’t believe it from mud to clear liquid coming out.
So in the meantime, just before that I had to have surgery on my arm because it had been broken in so many places. Then my wrist was broken and it was in a cast. Then they brought me to surgery, and they did the back surgery. And after about a week of just lying in bed flat on my back, the nurse came in and said, “You have a visitor. Your minister is here to see you.” And I thought, “Who is posing as my minister?” And it was J-R. And it was such a comfort to see him. I couldn’t do much because I was pretty much flat on my back. And he brought a blessing to me. And the blessing was so incredible, healing.
Sara: And I was so lifted because the following day they told me I would have to be put into a body cast. A body cast was from under my arm to below my knee.
Sara: So that was the next day. And I remember when they were doing that, and they were complete, and I just had tears rolling down my face. And the nurse came to me and said, “Are you in pain?” I said, “No, but I feel like I’ve been entombed.” I felt like I just wanted to break out. It was so confining to me. And so I dealt with that for about six weeks. I would need twenty-four hour care all the time.
So my daughter found a convalescent hospital that wasn’t as horrible as some of them could be. And people came to see me. And the interesting thing is when Reuben came, and I said, “Oh, I miss the seminars. I miss going to the seminars.” He said, “Maybe you can go.” And I’m laughing at him. I’m in a complete body cast. There’s just no way in the world that I can get to a seminar.
Well, there was a lady visiting me, an MSIA student, who was a funeral director. And she said, “Well,” she said, “if you don’t mind going in a hearse we can take you.”
Sara: Now it was quite a job to lift me because they had to have a crane to pick me up and-and transfer me to a gurney and then put me in the hearse.
Sara: And there were a number of people that were visiting and they all jumped into the hearse. As we were driving down the freeway they were waving to people from the hearse.
Dawn: Sounds very joyful.
Sara: Yeah. They were. They were. And I kept thinking, “Oh my God. I’m going to take up so much room at Prana with this.” You know, I knew how crowded it got at Prana at seminars. And people trying to get seats.
They brought me in and there was an area roped off.
Dawn: It had been prepared.
Sara: And they put me right there and J-R started the seminar. And at the end of the seminar J-R did a special meditation and they named it “Sara’s Meditation”.
Sara: A lot of people know about that meditation.
Dawn: Oh yes. I have it. I listen to it often.
Sara: I do too. Yeah. It’s a great feeling meditation regardless, you know.
And so that was an experience that I had. After the six weeks I went back into the hospital and they cut the cast away from my body. And then they had to teach me how to walk.
Dawn: Yeah. That was a long process, huh?
Sara: That was an interesting process because I thought, “I certainly know how to walk. I put one foot in front of the other.” But that leg didn’t go forward. It just went sideways. I had to learn to walk.
Sara: I remember going to see J-R because I had an initiation coming up. And I said, “J-R, what was all this about?”
And then he unfolded that story. And that was…
Dawn: As much as you would like to share—
Sara: Okay, yeah. Well, I had been a spiritual leader, a man, 800 years before. And I was doing real fine, acting very well, and there was a lot of loving and trust in me. And then they said they wanted more. They wanted more. Well, I got to the point in my evolution of that time that that was all that I could give. And instead of being up front and honest about that, I just kept dragging it along and having them come along with me, but not coming from the Spirit. And this is a lot of interpretation. That last line I said is my interpretation. What happened is they looked at that and they were angry at me, and they cursed me, and in that curse they picked up the karma. And in what I did, I picked up the karma of that process. And the fall from the rope was breaking a thousand years of karma.
Dawn: Whoa! I was just feeling shivers.
Sara: Just before I went on the rope I was on the side of the mountain meditating and I just offered myself to God without even thinking what I was offering. I just said, “Use me.”
And I immediately went down the mountain, got on the rope and that’s exactly how it happened. So quick.
Sara: When I did that, I sacrificed myself, and I took on the karma from all those that had the karma with me. The interesting thing that I remember is that people that may have been involved in that situation came over to me and they said, “Thank you for doing that because I know you did that for me.” And I was just amazed that each person that said that would even know that.
Sara: But they did.
Sara: So that was what was going on.
Dawn: That was so beautiful. The other thing I recall is something about a missionary basic self, that–
Sara: Yeah. I don’t know if I can even explain it. But for the healing process, a missionary basic self was given to me. And it was a strong male. It was with me until I no longer needed him. But to expand on that would be just something I may be guessing about. I don’t know that much about it. And then it was lifted–
Sara: Since then it’s just been a joyful, joyful time. And the love that I feel from J-R, and the love that I have in my heart for him, just keeps expanding. It just goes beyond words.
Dawn: Yeah. So if I heard you accurately when you first started sharing with us today, that voice that you were hearing back in 1962 as you were driving…
Sara: The first time that I heard it, it was May of 1968. Incidentally, that was the day of the first seminar that J-R did, May 5th, 1968.
Dawn: Wow! Did you ever have a sense of the source of the voice?
Sara: Oh yes, it was confirmed later that it was the Traveler.
Dawn: What a living miracle you are.
Sara: I was very fortunate and blessed. And I have to say that under normal circumstances that would not have happened. But having a Traveler in my life–that’s why all of this has come about. I mean I just know everything that I have and I’m very blessed.
Dawn: And you’ve served him back. All these years of service. When did you first come into volunteering with MSIA and working with MSIA?
Sara: When I actually officially came in I think was March of 1977 because I had recuperated enough with my back injury that I started going down to Prana and doing volunteer work on a steady basis.
And I’m still doing that because I do it out of my home now. And you know it may sound wonderful that I do volunteer work. But anyone who does volunteer work knows that they get so much more out of it than they can give. And I can actually say “Amen” to that.
Dawn: Well God bless you minister of Light and sound for inspiring us for so many years.
Sara: God bless.
[Sara Nahmias, Jeeni Wong, Paul Kaye, Loma Davidson, Timothea Stewart – Year Unknown]