There will always be cynics about life after death, but perhaps Dr. Eben Alexander is the perfect person to experience near death, vividly, while in a seven day coma - and return to talk about it.
The New York Times best-selling author will sign his book, “Proof of Heaven,” at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Sandy Springs on Saturday, and discuss his 2008 near death experience, in Lynchburg, Va. Rev. Michael Sullivan, current rector at Holy Innocents’ was with Alexander during his near death experience. He was Alexander’s rector and neighbor in Lynchburg.
Alexander has recently appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday,” and “Katie.” He will sign books Saturday at 6 p.m., followed by a talk from 7-8 p.m.
A scientist and neurosurgeon, Alexander explained to Patch that before his coma, he was more a believer in the scientific laws of the universe and Newtonian Physics than the consciousness of the mind. That changed after an odyssey that took him on a journey back and forth from colorful, beautiful melodic experiences with a guardian angel to what he describes as an “ugly realm of an earthworm’s eye view” of muck and thoughtlessness.
The beautiful melodic realm was where he was taught many spiritual lessons, Alexander said.
“I think a big reason for my journey was to show me as a neuroscientist that in fact these experiences are real,” he said. “And in fact our consciousness can grow to a greater awareness if we have enough of a shutdown of the brain.”
A rare unexplained case of E.coli meningitis sent Alexander, into a coma in November 2008. He says the likelihood of occurrence in adults is less than one in 10 million per year. His neocortex, the part of the brain that makes us human, shutdown, says Alexander in his book,
“Some part of it must be active to manifest an ongoing experience of any kind of consciousness,” he told Patch.
Alexander said he had no sense of his earthly self in his experience and communication was conceptual rather than verbal. He now finds that language can be limiting and refers to God as Om.
His experience differed from others’ near death experiences who recount how they had an awareness of their life, saw loved ones who had died, and was given a choice to come back or not.
That difference was important, he explained. “It was very crucial that I not see my father [who died four years earlier], because I know exactly what would have happened when I came back. I would’ve said, ‘That’s what the dying brain does,’ ” Alexander said.
Instead, Alexander said he realized that “to be completely open to knowing that when the physical brain and body die, it's actually a liberation of our conscious awareness to a much higher level of knowing and connectedness to other souls.”
More lessons from heaven
"In some sense, surgeons in general see themselves as technicians, able to perform sort of miraculous feats in terms of their healing capabilities…but I now realize that so much of what happens in this world…has to do with a much deeper understanding of healing. And how we are all here to heal ourselves, to heal others, heal this world and that involves serving as a conduit for that unconditional, infinite loving power from the source."
"I’m seeing the deepest levels of why this world is not perfect and how we can bring it more towards that state of perfection, which is one of love…It has an entirely different way of looking at hardship, illness, disease –seeing all of those as opportunities for growth. What we’re here for is our souls to grow towards that highest level."
"I promise you there could never be scientific proof to no or yes to the existence of God in heaven. We’re not supposed to have scientific proof. All of our mental efforts and the greatest achievements of science over eternity could never allow us to fully comprehend the works of God, and in fact could never weigh in pro or con to the existence of God, because our human minds are way too limited."