Thomas Sawyer's near-death
experience is a very interesting study in the process of reincarnation. It
is a process he learned during his near-death experience. In 1978, he was an avowed
agnostic until his pickup truck fell on him and crushed his chest flat.
He was clinically dead for 15 minutes, yet he came back to tell about his strange
experience of going through a tunnel, meeting a "light that was God," and being
sent back to tell people about death and the unconditional love of God. He has talked
about these subjects and shared his near-death experience on such shows as Phil Donahue,
Oprah Winfrey, Unsolved Mysteries, and Good Morning America. The following are excerpts
from Thomas Sawyer and Sydney Farr's excellent book entitled What
Tom Sawyer Learned From Dying.
Everything had gone blank. I
then had a feeling of absolutely, positively, waking up, very quickly and
sufficiently. I had the sensation of normalcy; I had all my five senses,
and they were extremely acute. All pain and pressure was gone. I felt I
could see very clearly, but the problem was I saw nothing but absolute,
In this capacity, though, I
was looking at absolute nothingness or darkness but my eyes were not
straining. I had the desire to look around inquisitively. What is this
place? Where am I? Well, again instantaneously, this darkness
took the shape of a tunnel.
It was perfectly level,
however slightly ambiguous in that it was straight before me and it was
cloud-like. It was very vast, as opposed to small and confining, and was
anywhere from a thousand feet to a thousand miles wide. That didn't
matter to me but I want to give you some reference point. I was very
comfortable and inquisitive. It was cylindrical. If you took a tornado and
stretched it out straight, it would be similar to that, without the houses
and the doors floating around inside. It absolutely extended to infinity.
This measurement of infinity was the first empirical knowledge that I had
within my near-death experience.
Simultaneously with the
awareness of this tunnel, I had a feeling of forward motion; it was very
comfortable, it was very usual. Moving through this tunnel there was an
acceleration. There was not any wind vibration, nor any noise. There was
no motion sickness or anything like that. It was like floating within a
vacuum. I saw that I was increasing speed, but there were no g-forces of
the kind you would naturally experience in accelerating movement. I went
faster and faster through the tunnel.
The next empirical knowledge
I had was that I had attained at least the speed of light or conceivably
faster. Whisking through the tunnel at this speed, I had the depth
perception, the visual perception of the tunnel whisking past me (or I
through the tunnel).
The next thing is that way,
way off in the distance to infinity there appeared this little
speck of light. That light was very special; it was the first identifiable
object that I was able to focus on, to realize that it was nothing like
what I'd seen before. It was extremely bright. This speck of light was
brighter than something that would immediately blind you. It was brighter
than a million billion carbon arcs, or welder's torches, anything you
can possibly compare it to. It was the brightest thing I'd ever seen in
There was a tremendous eager
anticipation because this was the first thing that wasn't blurry or
ambiguous. The appearance of this light way off at the end of the tunnel
brought me a sense of great love and a feeling of camaraderie. That was
something extraordinary, greater than anything that I'd experienced
during my thirty-three years of life. It was utter beauty. The light was
way off in the distance and got larger as I got closer to it.
I was eager to get closer to
the light. I was still Thomas Sawyer, with all of my personality and
characteristics, yet here I was, separate from the light by just a spatial
measurement of visual connotation. Now being at the end of the tunnel and
standing before the light, it seemed that it covered the entire vista
before me. It was more beautiful than I've tried to describe, because I
could use all the superlatives, and then I'd have to say: but it was
I had never experienced
anything that divine. It was white, possibly, blue-white, but certainly
white. It was paradoxically absolutely everything. It included Thomas Sawyer.
It included the tunnel that was behind me. It included the entire universe
that I was ever aware of. It was absolutely, positively, everything. It
was also absolutely the most beautiful thing that I've ever seen, that
I've ever been near or experienced.
The light I am describing is
whatever most people would describe as God. That's the description. It
meant the same to me as the word God. It was in fact the light of Jesus
From the onset of this rather
super-conscious state of the darkness of the tunnel, there was something
that was totally missing, and that was what we call time. There's no
such thing as time in heaven! The chronology of my accident is as I told
you: there was the darkness, I was moving through the tunnel, and there
was a light at the end of the tunnel. There was then a confrontation with
the light at the end of the tunnel whatever more. That's the
chronology in that order.
There were such feelings of
warmth and love coming from the light that it made me feel good. Now it
was right before me and instantly began communicating with me.
Instantaneously it emanated to me, thought-pattern to thought-pattern. And
to describe it I coined the phrase: superluminal telepathic communication:
a telepathic thought-pattern to thought-pattern rapport that functioned as
fast as or conceivable faster than the speed of light.
It was pure communication
that was complete in every respect. I will do a bit of role-playing here
because the communication was not in words.
The light emanated to me,
"Tom, you have to be where you are and in the condition that you are.
Before you is the light. You have the opportunity to ask any series of
questions. Any question that you can conceive of will be absolutely,
unequivocally answered. If it's a series of questions about something
that you would require some kind of knowledgeable background to
intelligently formulate your questions, you will instantly have that
In other words, as I thought
of and formulated a desire or a question, it would already have been
recognized, acknowledged, and therefore answered. And the dialogue that
took place, took place in no time. It didn't require a fifteen-minute
duration in time; it simply happened.
One of the questions which I
did ask was, "What about the Jesus stuff?"
Now that was not a
singular question; it's hard for me to describe so you can understand
the way it is.
"What about the Jesus
stuff?" is like saying, "Okay, all kidding aside, was Jesus of
Nazareth real, was he a live person? A historical truth? Was he the son of
God? Is he divine? Is he at the right hand of the Father? What about the
I can break off here and tell you that was basically
answered in the affirmative. At one point I felt as if I were a speck of
light on Jesus' shoulder, and I was able to experience full knowledge of
all of his incarnations from the beginning of time.
At the time this happened to
me I was an agnostic. As far as religious and spiritual aspects, I
practically did not have any religion at all. I had a Catholic Christian
background, but that was meaningless in my life. I was perfectly
comfortable without any of that stuff. But I did have some theories, I did
have a cultural and religious background. I had certain preconceived ideas
and was thinking that, should they be verified or should they not be
verified, whatever the truth is, that's what I wish to know. So there
was a desire for that type of knowledge. That's one question.
A vast majority of the
questions in this question-and-answer period were of those things
connected to total knowledge and a divine entity that some of us call God.
"What about the Jesus stuff" was a priority for me to ask. A
majority of my questions were of a personal and private nature, regarding
that particular time in my life as well as future scenarios.
period went on, and then rules and regulations were emanated.
you have a choice. You have the opportunity to choose to return to normal
life. If you have that desire, that will be facilitated instantaneously
with no problems, no strings attached."
In other words, if I decided
to return, the instant that I even considered it, I would be immediately
However, I could decide to
become part of the light.
"If you choose to stay and become part of
this light, totally homogeneous with it, that's okay. But, if you choose
that, then you will never again be able to choose, on your own decision,
to return to normal life. And that's okay."
In order to make that
choice intelligently; I had to have a complete life review.
I know that I experienced a
total life review, but I have never been able to fit it properly into any
of that basic chronology. It had to have happened from the center of the
tunnel or the movement within the tunnel, prior to what I call the
confrontation with the light. And the best way to describe it is to give
you an example.
When I was around eight years
old my father told me to mow the law and cut the weeds in the yard. We had
a cottage in the back and a double house in the front. Aunt Gay, my
mother's sister, lived in the cottage out back. Aunt Gay is a very
delightful person; she's a friend of mine as well as my aunt. Aunt Gay
was very clever, as was my mother I'm sure it's a genealogical
trait! Everybody liked Aunt Gay. She was always fun to be with.
Certainly all the kids thought she was a cool person to know. She had
described to me her plans for some wild flowers that grew on little vines
in the backyard.
"Leave them alone now, Tom," she said,
"and as soon as they blossom we'll make tiaras for all the girls,
and flower necklaces for some of the guys."
And then everybody could
pitch in and she'd teach them how to weave such things. That was typical
of her. We were looking forward to that.
However, my father told me to
mow the lawn and cut the weeds. Now, I had several choices. I could
explain to my father that Aunt Gay wanted the weeds left to grow in this
particular area. If he said to cut them all, I could have explained to
Aunt Gay that father had just told me to mow the lawn and said to cut that
patch of weeds. I could ask if she wanted to make her request to my
father. Or, I could methodically and deliberately go ahead and mow the
yard and cut the weeds. I did that. Well, worse that that, I even came up
with a name for the job. I called it "Operation Chop-Chop." I
deliberately decided to be bad, to be malicious.
And I went ahead, feeling
the authority that my father gave me when he told me to cut the grass and
I thought, "Wow, I got away with it; I did it. And if Aunt
Gay ever says anything I'll just tell her father told me to do it. Or if
father asks me I'll say, well that's what you told me to do."
I would be vindicated. It would be okay; it would be a perfect Operation
Chop-Chop. End of story. My Aunt Gay never said a word to me; nothing was
every mentioned; I got away with it totally.
Guess what? I not only
relived it in my life review, but I relived every exact thought and
attitude; even the air temperature and things that I couldn't have
possibly measured when I was eight years old. For example, I wasn't
aware of how many mosquitoes were in the area. In the life review, I could
have counted the mosquitoes. Everything was more accurate than could
possibly be perceived in the reality of the original event.
I not only re-experienced my
eight-year-old attitude and the kind of excitement and joy of getting away
with something, but I was also observing this entire event as a
thirty-three-year-old adult; with the wisdom and philosophy I was able to
attain by that time. But it was more than that.
I also experienced it exactly
as though I was Aunt Gay, several days later after the weeds had been cut,
when she walked out the back door. I knew the series of thoughts that
bounced back and forth in her mind.
"Oh my goodness, what has
happened? Oh well, he must have forgotten. But he couldn't have
forgotten, everyone was looking forward to Oh no, knock it off. Tommy
is he's He's never done anything like that. I love him so
Oh, come on, cut it out. Gee, it was so important. He had to know ... he
couldn't have known."
Back and forth, back and
forth, between thinking of the possibility, and saying to herself,
"Well, it is possible. No, Tommy isn't like that. It doesn't
matter anyway, I love him. I'll never mention it. God forbid, if he did
forget and I remind him, that will hurt his feelings. But I think that he
did, though. Should I confront him with it and just ask him?"
Thought-pattern after thought-pattern. What I'm telling you is, I was in
my Aunt Gay's body, I was in her eyes, I was in her emotions, I was in
her unanswered questions. I experienced the disappointment, the
humiliation. It was very devastating to me. It changed my attitude quite a
bit as I experienced it.
I experienced things that
cannot be perceived. I watched me mowing the law from straight above,
anywhere from several hundred to a couple of thousand feet, as though I
were a camera. I watched all of that. I was able to perceive and feel and
know everything about my Aunt Gay regarding our relationship in that
general time frame and regarding Operation Chop-Chop.
In addition to this, and what
is probably more important, spiritually speaking, I was able to observe
the scene, absolutely, positively, unconditionally. In other words, not
with the horrendous emotional ill-feelings that my Aunt Gay experienced
not knowing for sure, and yet being afraid to question for fear that
she would inflict some kind of dis-ease, or ill feelings on my part. God
forbid, if I did it by accident and her reminder would hurt my feelings.
And yet she experienced hurt in losing the flowering weeds, not being able
to do the things for all the children she had promised, and constantly
questioning whether I could have done it on purpose. I did experience that
in this unconditional way, with this unconditional love that is only
God's eyes, or the eyes of Jesus Christ, or the light of Jesus, or the
light of Buddha enlightened, the spiritual entity.
It is that combination that
is God unconditionally, not "Boy, Tom, you sure did a good
rip-off," or "There, Tom, now do you feel bad enough?" Or,
"You sure were bad."
None of that, only, as in the eyes of God,
simple, pure, scientific observation, complete, totally, non-attachment.
No judgmental aspect whatever. This is simultaneous with the total
devastation of what I created in my aunt's life. And the arrogance, the
snide little thoughts, the bad feelings, and the excitement of what I
created in my own life at that young age, that was one event.
I wish that I could tell you
how it really felt and what the life review is like, but I'll never be
able to do it accurately. I'm hoping to give you just a slight inkling
of what is available to each and every one of you. Will you be totally
devastated by the crap you've brought into other people's lives? Or
will you be equally enlightened and uplifted by the love and joy that you
have shared in other people's lives?
Well, guess what? It pretty
much averages itself out. You will be responsible for yourself, judging
and reliving what you have done to everything and everybody in very
far-reaching ways. Very small, seemingly inconsequential things such as
the day when I, nine years old, walked through Seneca Park and loved the
appearance of a tree. In my life review I could experience a bit of what
the tree experienced in my loving it, two little photons of love and
adoration. It was somewhat like the leaves acknowledging my presence. Can
a tree experience that? Yes, it can. Don't go kicking trees anymore!
You do have that effect on
plants. You do have an effect on animals. You do have an effect on the
universe. And in your life review you'll be the universe and experience
yourself in what you call your lifetime and how it affects the universe.
In your life review you'll be yourself absolutely, in every aspect of
time, in every event, in the over-all scheme of things in your lifetime.
The little bugs on your
eyelids that some of you don't even know exist. That's an
interrelationship, you with yourself and these little entities that are
living and surviving on your eyelids. When you waved a loving goodbye to a
good friend the other day, did you affect the clouds up above? Did you
actually affect them? Does a butterfly's wings in China affect the
weather here? You better believe it does? You can learn all of that in a
As this takes place, you have
total knowledge. You have the ability to be a psychologist, a
psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst, and much more. You are your own spiritual
teacher, maybe for the first and only time in your life. You are
simultaneously the student and the teacher in a relationship.
My life review was part of
this experience also. It was absolutely, positively, everything basically
from the first breath of life right through the accident. It was
During this life review I
experienced what I can only describe as "in the eyes of Jesus
Christ." Meaning, I watched and observed this entire event as if I
were in the eyes of Jesus Christ. Which means unconditionally.
It does not
mean, "Gee, Tom, by being Christ-like, you don't hit people, you
No to that. Nor was it, "Wow, God has really made
you a very good specimen and your reflexes are superior. You did an
excellent job in beating that man up."
No to that either. It's not
judgmental or negative. I can't describe it other than with the
unconditional love of Christ, the Christ who has absolute unconditional
love. You will have the experience of observing something without any
emotion or righteousness, or judgmental attachments. You will be able to
observe history only as history, without the emotional attachments to the
facts and figures. I want to also say that, to offset that, there were
experiences of absolute love and joy.
Well, having had this life
review, I was also given a choice. I could decide to return to my normal
life, which meant that I would survive the truck accident, my heart would
be beating and I would be alive and physically, basically, okay. If I
decided to return to normal life it would be facilitated on my own desire.
If, however, I decided to
stay and become part of that light, enter into it, be homogenous with it,
that would be done. I would never again on my own decision be able to
choose to return to normal life.
"Tom, you will have given of your
free will you will be dead, and I cannot change that!"
chose to stay and become part of that light and that was facilitated.
I made a forward motion. It
was as though I leaned forward because there was a slight forward motion
toward the light or an effort toward the light it was a symbolic
gesture. I didn't actually have to make a physical motion. It was at
that point that I made the attempt to feel more of the light. And the word
"feel" includes all of the essences and emotions of the light.
What happened then? I've
been making an analogy to Star Trek, where the guy is standing there and
says, "Beam me up, Scotty."
You see the image of the physical
person there and then he just becomes little photons of light. I really
like that. That's very descriptive. Scotty wasn't standing there but I
just kind of became little photons of light and there is only the
slightest of memories of anything after that. Even though I was in my soul
body, not my physical body, that which I was before the light blended in
and ceased to exist. In other words, if you have pure light you have all
of the masses of photons in the universe in a purified state only
white light. One of the last things I can recall is that I was blending
into and becoming homogeneous with that light. I had the feeling of the
light just engulfing me. About the only accurate word that I can use to
describe what I felt then is the word "power." But it wasn't
an earthly type of power, it wasn't greedy power, or an
There's no language to
explain what happened in the light. It was divine power. What I'm sure
of is that, as that was facilitated, I became total knowledge. That was so
extraordinary. Having had that experience for just a split-second out of
time certainly has been very humbling for me. I cannot ever comfortably
say that I even became like God. God is total knowledge. What does total
knowledge mean? It's divine power. I'm not total knowledge now. There
have been a few little fancy phrases and helpful hints and so on that have
leaked out of my subconscious or super-conscious that certainly did come
from that total thing called knowledge.
The memory of where I was and
what condition I was in comes as little bombardments or packets of total
knowledge that can be described by many analogies, such as a machine gun,
with each bullet being a packet of knowledge just blasted into my being.
There are characteristics and
aspects of that part of my experience that I would really wish to talk
about a little deeper. I've not found the words. I tried writing it; I
tried taping it. I've not found phrases or even analogies to deal with
Some of the things are regarding the aspect of, "What is the
Well, the light is God. And what is God? God is unconditional
love. God is total beauty. God is everything!
What happened when I went
through the tunnel? Did I see the face of Jesus Christ? Yes, I did. But
the most important thing that I have been able to say is probably the
aspect of total knowledge. It was a feeling of divine power. It's
overwhelming for me to say that I, Thomas Sawyer, was divine or experienced
total knowledge. I remember one or two photons of that experience. I
don't even know how to measure it. I made up a phrase: bleams of light.
A couple of bleams of light information I can recall from that last
stage or stages. I don't even know if it's singular or plural.
You might ask, didn't I
feel grief or regret because I'd be parted from Elaine and my children
and this nice life I had lived for thirty-three years? Yes, to all of
that, but this was beyond paradise, this was heaven, this was perfection.
This was not a mosquito bite; this was not heat and humidity; not all of
the stuff that we call reality; not all the joy of being able to share and
to love people. It was everything that we experience joyfully and
sorrowfully, only in a perfected state. It was perfection.
interesting facts from the light about reincarnation.]
Reincarnation is not a linear
thing. One of the problems in defining it is that there is no analogy to
it. It is outside of time, yet we can't help but think of it in terms of
the past and the future, and this incarnation. The whole story is so big
and so involved.
Reincarnation is an
opportunity to reach a goal. The goal is true self-realization.
Self-realization is to know that you are a soul, a part of God, yet also
the Whole. Perhaps no one has a very good image at all of his or her soul
- the whole self. And they have no idea of what proportion their
personality is in relationship to their soul.
As an example, a
characteristic of your personality is one percent of all of your
personality characteristics put together, and all of your personality
characteristics make up your personality, and your personality is only
about five percent of your soul, then we are blinding ourselves to 95
percent of the rest of our soul in order to reincarnate.
Reincarnation is an
opportunity to evolve through many personalities. The definition of
reincarnation is that your personality is who you are in your current
lifetime, and that it can be reincarnated as an entirely different
personality with the characteristics of the previous personality and
previous personalities including even characteristics of another soul
altogether. That is, characteristics of your present personality may be
the reincarnation of other characteristics of personalities from your
previous lifetimes as well as characteristics from personalities from
If a person dies and goes
totally homogenous back into the light it is reasonably improbable that
there will be another reincarnation. It is improbable. However, it is more
usual for people to die and go partially back into the light while
remaining partially in the realm of the Earth realm. That means remaining
partially within the earthly
confines of the human condition with an
attachment of sorts to the human condition.
Once you go into the spirit
realm, you may realize that you haven't learned everything you should, so
you find another personality, another body and your soul is maintained
throughout. As you transform into another personality, your soul does not
get bigger or smaller. You carry with you characteristics of your former
personalities. The simplest example is to say that the phrase
"burning off bad karma" means that you have characteristics that
you have to deal with.
It is true that future
scenarios are not absolute, and that free will changes, and subtle
manipulation on different spiritual realms can change your future
characteristics and personality. We are preparing for future incarnations
here in the current incarnation we find ourselves in.
Once you enter into the light
and blend with God, you become God. God is light and light is love. You
can't take a knife and cut out a part of love and take it away. If you
theoretically cut love in half and take it, there's not half love here and
half love there. Each part is wholly God.
We may have perceptions that
we are separate from God, that we are less than God. But the divinity is
within us, the light is in every cell in our body and that, collectively,
makes the soul. We can think of that in terms of being subordinate or less
than and separate from God. But since you are a part of the Whole, God is
not minus that part of you. God is still 100 percent even when God
appears, in this physical existence, to be separated.
The incomprehensible part is
at that point at which you no longer exist and you become only light when
you fully merge with the light. This is because the character and the
characteristics that you are, the uniqueness that is you and nobody else,
still exists when you cease to exist as a personality. But every bit of
your personality is available for reincarnation. That's the paradox part.
A single soul has the same
power as God! You have exactly the same intensive power as God. You have
the same potential as God within the human condition. The oneness of the
whole, or the wholeness of the one, being God, is ultimately powerful and
You cannot conquer, or
divide, or diminish unconditional love. It exists omnipresent, that's
true, it exists like that. For example, if you take one "cupful"
of God, you have God in the cup, and that can't be diminished at all. Now
if God, by God's own infinite wisdom and love, decides to allow a cup of
light to be used in such a way as a soul, and for the purpose of
incarnating into the human condition to our level, the light involved in
that is our soul. Our soul is that light, that one cup, that small amount,
which was purely, divinely God. It has the full power of God; that is, one
cup of light has the same luminous unconditional love, the same power of
All souls are equal at the
Yet some say, "He's a highly evolved soul."
doesn't evolve, the personality does. To state that the soul evolves at
all is not correct. Your personality can be evolved - highly evolved,
lesser evolved, or no evolvement at all to where you're just stagnant. You
have the ability to create negative karma. To go backwards, to be born
with certain characteristics and personality that can be culturally
conditioned, or decommissioned, if you will, and go pretty much backwards.
You can actually lose a little bit in your actual evolvement to a
spiritual recognition, a spiritual reality.
"The universal law of karma ... is that of action and reaction, cause and effect, sowing and reaping. In the course of natural righteousness, man, by his thoughts and actions, becomes the arbiter of his destiny." -
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