Thomas Sawyer's Near-Death
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.
Table of Contents
1. Tom Sawyer's Near-Death Journey Begins
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, total blackness.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 my life.
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.
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 more.
2. Tom Sawyer Meets Jesus Christ
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.
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 Christ.
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.
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
pure communication that was complete in every
respect. I will do a bit of role-playing here
because the communication was not in words.
light emanated to me:
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 background."
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.
of the questions which I did ask was, "What
about the Jesus stuff?"
that was not a singular question; it's hard
for me to describe so you can understand the
way it is.
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 Jesus
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.
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.
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.
question-and-answer period went on, and then
rules and regulations were emanated.
"Tom, 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
words, if I decided to return, the instant that
I even considered it, I would be immediately
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
3. Tom Sawyer's Life Review
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
I went ahead, feeling the authority that my
father gave me when he told me to cut the grass
and the weeds.
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
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.
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
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.
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:
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?"
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
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.
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.
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."
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
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?
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!
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. Your life.
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 life review!
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.
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 everything.
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
not mean, "Gee, Tom, by being Christ-like, you
don't hit people, you love people."
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."
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
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.
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.
4. Tom Sawyer Chooses to Enter into the Light
"Tom, you will
have given of your free will you will
be dead, and I cannot change that!"
I chose to stay and become part of that light
and that was facilitated.
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.
happened then? I've been making an analogy to
Star Trek, where the guy is standing there and
says, "Beam me up, Scotty."
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 I'm-better-than-you-power.
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.
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.
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 that.
of the things are regarding the aspect of, "What
is the light?"
the light is God. And what is God? God is unconditional
love. God is total beauty. God is everything!
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.
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.
5. What Tom Sawyer Learned About 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.
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
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.
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 other souls.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
souls are equal at the soul level.
some say, "He's a highly evolved soul."
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
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."
- Paramahansa Yogananda
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Experiences and the Afterlife