Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.
The #1 New York Times bestselling account of a neurosurgeon’s own near-death experience.
Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.
Then, Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.
Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.
Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.
This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.
As someone who has experienced an NDE, and struggled with many of the same things that Eben discusses here, I am not surprised at the response that many are having to this book. To say “people who have NDE experiences often find the telling of their story, while trying to impart the information they receive during their experience, a difficult task,” would be an understatement as vast as the universe.
The clinical aspects of Dr. Alexander’s experience are what make this story unique, along with his outright conversion from a “Scientific Reductionist” to someone who sees clearly that consciousness and the vast majority of “what is,” are found outside of our space/time universe and current medical or science books.
To get the most out of any book on NDEs, and especially one that intertwines a very personal journey to find family and self, you must start with an open mind and heart. Unfortunately, those who have already hardened their views on both sides of the spectrums of Science and Religion, will dismiss much of what anyone writes on this topic, because it doesn’t fit their narrow, dogmatic view of the world.
Even worse, it forces them to look outside of their safe little boxes, and take the effort to learn, while being open to the possibility that current models of both science and faith are a good starting point, but not the ENTIRE answer.
Einstein’s quote at the beginning of the chapter “A Final Dilemma” says it best…
“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.”
Whether you begin as a Christian, a Buddhist, Quantum Physicist or a simple seeker of knowledge beyond current understanding, moving outside of the constructs of your current ways of thinking is imperative to discovery.
Fundamentalism, whether it be religious or scientific, is really no different than intellectual bigotry, closed to expanded thoughts, or encompassing new ways of looking for expanded information. Eben’s book embraces both worlds, and does so gracefully, without discounting any specific ideology.
Eben’s experience was certainly deeper, and far more expansive than most I have read (including my own NDE). I do agree that the lack of detail about his time in “heaven” (a term that I find limiting) is frustrating to a point. And yet, the need to spend much of this book on the technical side of his coma, his quest and victory regarding his family (past and present), as well as touching on the scientific aspects of the current science regarding external consciousness, make this short book an excellent jumping-off point for deeper study and discussion.
And there’s the rub…
After experiencing my own NDE (in 1996), I spent almost two obsessive years trying in vain to “connect the dots of knowledge imparted to me,” before putting it all back “in a box” so that I could get on with living my life. Through a series of events over the past two years, I find myself very much back into “telling the story.” I now realize that no book, video, or movie is able to even scratch the surface of answering the great questions of life after death, consciousness, and how they all relate to quantum theory. Expecting “the answers” from a book of this size and configuration is naïve and lazy at best.
There is a reason that the section in this book called “Reading List” is expansive. Much has been written on this topic from both the spiritual and scientific approach. If you are a true seeker of the truth, you will not start or end your journey for knowledge with Eben’s book. Instead, you will appreciate the facts of his experience, the unique medical reality of his coma, and the amazing revelations about family, love and the eternal nature of consciousness, as the BEGINNING of the journey to true understanding.
While this book in not an expansive, all-inclusive answer to the melding of Science and Religion, I give it 5 stars for being an important, unique story, bringing focus to the need for a global change in the perception and understanding of reality, consciousness and the interconnectedness of everything in creation.
Dr. Eben Alexander III has been an academic neurosurgeon for the last 25 years, including 15 years at the Brigham & Women’s and the Children’s Hospitals and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Over his academic career he authored or co-authored over 150 chapters and papers in peer reviewed journals, and made over 200 presentations at conferences and medical centers around the world. He thought he had a very good idea of how the brain generates consciousness, mind and spirit.
In the predawn hours of November 10, 2008, he was driven into coma by a rare and mysterious bacterial meningitis-encephalitis of unknown cause. He spent a week in coma on a ventilator, his prospects for survival diminishing rapidly. On the seventh day, to the surprise of everyone, he started to awaken.
Memories of his life had been completely deleted inside of coma, yet he awoke with memories of a fantastic odyssey deep into another realm – more real than this earthly one!
His older son advised him to write down everything he could remember about his journey, before he read anything about near-death experiences, physics or cosmology. Six weeks later, he completed his initial recording of his remarkable journey, totaling over 20,000 words in length.
Then he started reading, and was astonished by the insights his journey brought to the world’s literature on near-death experiences, and to all phenomena of extended consciousness. His experience clearly revealed that we are conscious in spite of our brain – that, in fact, consciousness is at the root of all existence.
His story offers a crucial key to the understanding of reality and human consciousness. It will have a major effect on how we view spirituality, soul and the non-material realm. In analyzing his experience, including the scientific possibilities and grand implications, he envisions a more complete reconciliation of modern science and spirituality as a natural product.
He has been blessed with a complete recovery, and has written a book about this most powerful, life-changing story.
For more information, including video links and reading list, visit http://www.lifebeyonddeath.net
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