Sunday, 5 January 2014

Proof of Heaven by Dr Eben Alexander

What is written on the back of the book
Internationally acclaimed neurosurgeon Dr Eben Alexander always considered himself a man of science. His unwavering belief in evidence-based medicine fuelled a career in the top medical institutions of the world. But all this was set to change.

One morning in 2008 he fell into a coma after suffering a rare form of bacterial meningitis. Scans of his brain revealed massive damage. Death was deemed the most likely outcome. As his family prepared themselves for the worst, something miraculous happened. Dr Alexander's brain went from near total inactivity to awakening. He made a full recovery but he was never the same. He woke certain of the infinite reach of the soul, he was certain of a life beyond death.

In this astonishing book, Dr Alexander shares his experience, pieced together from the notes he made as soon as he was able to write again. Unlike other accounts of near-death experiences, he is able to explain in depth why his brain was incapable of fabricating the journey he experienced. His story is one of profound beauty and inspiration.

Extra Stuff
Here is a big piece that debunks Dr Alexander's claims which is worth a read to get the other side of the story.  Whatever you think about the book though I found it easy to read because it was interesting and I feel it says enough to make one consider a different viewpoint.  Also I felt it linked very well to the Jill Bolte Taylor TED talk (here) that I mentioned in a previous blog post about spirituality (here) where brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor talked about what it was like having a stroke. 

I have put some of the quotes from Dr Alexander's book beside quotes from Jill Bolte Taylor's TED talk below to give you a flavour of both.  After reading them if you are interested in buying Dr Alexander's book click here.


Dr AlexanderDr Taylor

p30 - "When you got to a place where there's no sense of time as we experience it in the ordinary world, accurately describing the way it feels is next to impossible.  When it was happening, when I was there, I felt like I (whatever "I" was) had always been there and would always continue to be there."

p70 - "In the worlds above, I slowly discovered, to know and be able to think of something is all one needs in order to move toward it...The more familiar I became with the world above, the easier it was to return to it."

"I’m realizing that my hands looked like primitive claws grasping onto the bar [of my cardio glider]. I thought “that’s very peculiar” and I looked down at my body and I thought, “whoa, I’m a weird-looking thing.” And it was as though my consciousness had shifted away from my normal perception of reality, where I’m the person on the machine having the experience, to some esoteric space where I’m witnessing myself having this experience."
p31 - "I wasn't even animal,  I was something before and below all that.  I was simply a lone point of awareness in a timeless red-brown sea."
"But then I was immediately captivated by the magnificence of energy around me. And because I could no longer identify the boundaries of my body, I felt enormous and expansive. I felt at one with all the energy that was, and it was beautiful there."

p34 - "Modern neuroscience dictates that the brain gives rise to consciousness - to the ind, to the soul, to the spirit, to whatever you chose to call that invisible, intangible part of us that truly makes us who we are - and I had little doubt that it was correct."
"[The]left hemisphere is a ... place [which] thinks linearly and methodically...[and] thinks in language. It’s that ongoing brain chatter that connects me and my internal world to my external world - it’s that little voice that says to me, “I am. I am.” And as soon as my left hemisphere says to me “I am,” I become separate. I become a single solid individual separate from the energy flow around me and separate from you. And this was the portion of my brain that I lost on the morning of my stroke."

p40 - "The girl's outfit was simple, but its colours - powder blue, indigo and orange-peach - had the same overwhelming super-vivid aliveness that everything else in the surroundings had.  She looked at me with a look that, if you saw it for a few moments, would make your whole life up to that point worth living, no matter what had happened in it so far...It was something higher, holding all those other kinds of love within itself while at the same time being more genuine and pure than all of them.  Without using any words, she spoke to me.  The message went through me like a wind, and I instantly understood that it was true....  [translated into earthly language], I'd say they ran something like this:
"You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever."
"You have nothing to fear."
"There is nothing you can do wrong."
The message flooded me with a vast and crazy sensation of relief.  It was like being handed the rules to a game I'd been playing all my life without even fully understanding it."
"I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world and the more peaceful our planet will be."
p72 - "The primary hurdle that most NDE subjects must jump is not how to re-acclimate to the limitations of the earthly world but how to convey to what the love they experienced out there actually feels like...We can only see what our brain's filter allows through.  The brain - in particular its left-side linguistic.logical part, that which generates out sense of rationality and the feeling of being a sharply defined ego or self - is a barrier to our higher knowledge and experience....we need to recover more of that larger knowledge while living her one earth, while our brains are fully functioning.  Science doesn't contradict what I learnt up there..but far, far tool many people believe it does."
"I immediately drifted right back out into the consciousness, and I affectionately referred to this space as La La Land. But it was beautiful there. Imagine what it would be like to be totally disconnected from your brain chatter that connects you to the external world. So here I am in this space and any stress related to my, to my job, it was gone. And I felt lighter in my body. And imagine all of the relationships in the external world and the many stressors related to any of those, they were gone. I felt a sense of peacefulness. And imagine what it would feel like to lose 37
years of emotional baggage! I felt euphoria. Euphoria was beautiful"

p82 - "To say that there is still a chasm between our current scientific understanding of the universe and the truth  as I saw it is a considerable underestimate...  The physical side of the universe is a speck of dust compared to the invisible and spiritual part.  I believe that [spiritual] is a word that we cannot afford to leave out [of a scientific conversation]."

"And I look down at my arm and I realize that I can no longer define the boundaries of my body. I can’t define where I begin and where I end. Because the atoms and the molecules of my arm blended with the atoms and molecules of the wall. And all I could detect was this energy. Energy."
p95 - "Even though I had forgotten my life down [on earth], I had remembered who I really and truly was out there.  I was a citizen of a universe staggering in its vastness and complexity, and ruled entirely by love."
"I’m still alive and I have found Nirvana. And if I have found Nirvana and I’m still alive, then everyone who is alive can find Nirvana.” I picture a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate, loving people who knew that they could come to this space at any time. And that they could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemispheres and find this peace. And then I realized what a tremendous gift this experience could be, what a stroke of insight this could be to how we live our lives."

p102 - "descricbing what it felt like is challenging in the extreme, thanks to the bottleneck of linear langauge tht we force everything through here on earth, and the general flattening of experience that happens where we're in the body."

p117 - "My mind - my real self - was squeezing its way back into the all too tight and limiting suit of physical existence, with its spatio-temporal bounds, its linear thought, and its limitations to verbal communication"

"Because I could not identify the position of my body in space, I felt enormous and expensive, like a genie just liberated from her bottle. And my spirit soared free like a great whale gliding through the sea of silent euphoria. Harmonic. I remember thinking there’s no way I would ever be able to squeeze the enormousness of myself back inside this tiny little body."
p36 - "I adored that simplicity - the absolute honesty and cleanness of science.  I respected that it left no room for fantasy or for sloppy thinking,... This approach left little room for the soul and the spirit, for the continuing existence of a personality after the brain that supported it stopped functioning,"

p131 - "The sense of being ... above linear time - of being above everything...feeling the intensity of unconditonal love."

"We are the life force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. And we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world. Right here right now, I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere where we are — I am — the life force power of the universe, and the life force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form. At one with all that is. Or I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere. where I become a single individual, a solid, separate from the flow, separate from you."

p150 - "On the subatomic level, however, this universe of seperate objects turns out to be a complete illusion...every object in the physical universse is inteimately conneced weith everyth other ibject. Infact, there are really no "objects" in the world at all , only virations of energy, and relationships"

"And I look down at my arm and I realize that I can no longer define the boundaries of my body. I can’t define where I begin and where I end. Because the atoms and the molecules of my arm blended with the atoms and molecules of the wall. And all I could detect was this energy. Energy."
p154 - "To truly study the universe on a deep lvel, we must acknowledge the fundamental role of consciousness in painting realist...Fathers of the field of quantum mechanics realised it is impossible to seperate the experiemnter from the experiment, and it explain reality without consciouness"
"riding in an ambulance I curl up into a little fetal ball. And just like a balloon with the last bit of air just, just right out of the balloon I felt my energy lift and I felt my spirit surrender. And in that moment I knew that I was no longer the choreographer of my life. And either the doctors rescue my body and give me a second chance at life or this was perhaps my moment of transition."

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