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Opinion Eben Alexander, Harvard Neurosurgeon, Describes Heaven After Near-Death Experience

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Ishna, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Ishna

    Ishna
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    From Huffington Post (video also there)

    A successful neurosurgeon, who has taught at Harvard Medical School and other universities, spent his life dismissing claims of heavenly out-of-body experiences and refuting such talk with scientific logic, until he himself had a near-death experience.

    During that time, Dr. Eben Alexander says he saw heaven and knows the afterlife exists. Now he's telling the world in his new book, "Proof of Heaven."

    Alexander's tale is the cover story on Newsweek's latest issue, which features the headline, "Heaven Is Real: A Doctor's Experience Of The Afterlife." Alexander, a Christian, claims he took the journey to the afterlife when he slipped into a coma in 2008 after contracting a very rare bacterial meningitis.

    Click here to read Dr. Eben Alexander's full account via the Daily Beast.
    Alexander describes the heaven he saw over the course of seven days in a coma in an article for the Daily Beast, a Newsweek affiliate:
    Toward the beginning of my adventure, I was in a place of clouds. Big, puffy, pink-white ones that showed up sharply against the deep blue-black sky.Higher than the clouds—immeasurably higher—flocks of transparent, shimmering beings arced across the sky, leaving long, streamerlike lines behind them.
    Birds? Angels? These words registered later, when I was writing down my recollections. But neither of these words do justice to the beings themselves, which were quite simply different from anything I have known on this planet. They were more advanced. Higher forms.
    A sound, huge and booming like a glorious chant, came down from above, and I wondered if the winged beings were producing it. Again, thinking about it later, it occurred to me that the joy of these creatures, as they soared along, was such that they had to make this noise—that if the joy didn’t come out of them this way then they would simply not otherwise be able to contain it. The sound was palpable and almost material, like a rain that you can feel on your skin but doesn’t get you wet.
    Alexander says that he traveled through this heaven, surrounded by "millions of butterflies," with a woman. This woman gave him three messages: “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever," “You have nothing to fear" and “There is nothing you can do wrong.”

    Eventually, the neurosurgeon awoke from the coma. He penned a book, "Proof of Heaven," describing his journey. The book is due out Oct. 23.
    "Dr. Eben Alexander's near-death experience is the most astounding I have heard in more than four decades of studying this phenomenon," reads a review from Raymond Moody, M.D., Ph.D., author of "Life Beyond Life." He goes on to say that the "circumstances of [Eben's] illness and his impeccable credentials make it very hard to formulate a mundane explanation for his case."

    "I stood at Eben’s bedside ready to read Last Rites," writes Rev. Michael R. Sullivan, Rector, Holy Innocent’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Ga. "With vivid detail and description, he invites you to walk with him to that place none of us has experienced yet in our humanity we know we shall one day certainly travel. Having survived a near death experience and brought his neurological expertise and background to it, we gain both the insight of the mystics in his poetic words and the reality of the physical world in his scientific explorations."

    Still, some remain skeptical. Gawker published a piece comparing Alexander's story to "Experiences" essays written on Erowid.org -- a site a featuring a collection of writings from conscious drug users about their experimentations and trips.

    ---- end

    Transparent beings are part of Islamic, not Christian, afterlife. Perhaps he was actually in Paradise?

    If he'd asked the women if she was a virgin we'd have more of an idea...
     
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    #1 Ishna, Oct 13, 2012
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  3. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    Quite interesting.
    Everyone's account is slightly different but there are always some distinctive similarities.

    Over a year ago, I too was in a coma for nearly a month.
    I don't discuss it readily as I find it very sensitive and personal.

    There was alot of activity with the subconscious that was perfectly well and in no pain whilst the rest of my body was shut down in pain. As they have all said, it just doesn't stop when your heart stops beating that's what I can assure you.
    Most of what you read in these descriptions is a very good way of describing it.
    All your questions and thoughts get answered in a blink, just like he stated and much more.- it's a real awakening.
    As I said, I don't really talk about it in detail, but enough to tell you it's no joke.

    I know that there is a God and I know that this life is not all what it seems.
    Being a sikh is the one and only thing I know that is right for me and that it can veer me more towards the truth.
     
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    #2 Luckysingh, Oct 13, 2012
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  4. BhagatSingh

    BhagatSingh Canada
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    Lucky ji even though there is a feeling of having all of one's questions answered and all doubts removed, surprisingly, there is still room for more. One can still benefit from keeping an open mind to new possibilities, belies, paradigms etc.
     
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  5. harmanpreet singh

    harmanpreet singh India
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    I haven't read full account , but why he came back ?:sippingcoffeemunda:
     
  6. Kanwaljit Singh

    Kanwaljit Singh India
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    Maybe if they told that heaven is like an Amazon rain forest, he would have seen it so. I love clouds too. Am happy either way. When I die, I don't want to be afraid of death. I want to be confident God will come and meet me.
     
  7. Archived_member15

    Archived_member15
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    My dear sister Ishna winkingmunda
    Christians do believe in transparent beings. Islam and Christianity both teach belief in angels as a tenet of faith.

    Here is an article explaining the (very systematic) Catholic teachings on angels (we have a whole branch of theology called "angel-ol-ogy" :interestedmunda:):


    http://www.anamchara.com/2006/08/16/the-nine-heavenly-choirs/



    PS Heaven is not a "place" in Catholicism as it in Islam. So angels don't exist in a "place" but in a state as Thomas Aquinas explains:


    For more from Thomas: http://www.jesus-passion.com/angels.htm


    We believe that these beings are pure spirit that is not made out of matter. We discern a hierarchy of Nine "species" one could say in these beings (known as the "Nine Choirs of angels").

    They are bodiless beings who are simply concious mind and nothing else. That is how Creator intended them to be.

    I know that this all might sound like bunkum but its what we believe lol icecreamkaur
     
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    #6 Archived_member15, Oct 14, 2012
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  8. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Ishna ji very interesting post indeed. Vouthon ji some wonderful ideas in your post too. Luckysing ji thanks for your personal post.

    I have a question as to what would be a test of legitimacy of such experiences? Let me explain,

    • If the experience is describable as a jumble of experiences one had or beliefs held to small or greater extent I would observe that,
      • It is jumbling of brain waves of known experiences or thoughts into previously unknown or experienced.
    • If someone states that they can not describe or have difficulty describing then I may deduce the following,
      • It is a mental blank
        • No spiritual consequence
      • It is not a mental blank wahmundawahkaur
        • I will for ever beg to know
        • One day be so blessed to hear
    I do believe that we need to recognize that given the vastness of the universe, the surprises infinitely outnumber what we mortal with five senses can experience.
    Fascinating is creation and fascinating the place where the creator may have a control room . Sorry why should there be a creator the way we try to visualize and want to experience and why should there be a control room.

    Regards.

    PS: A fine line between Atheism and Infinite creator camps (say Sikhism),

    • Atheism
      • There is no creator
      • You cannot show me one or prove one
    • Single Creator
      • It is one and is everywhere
      • I cannot define it or prove it
    If however the creator is a concept of ultimate system (say Atheism centric) or a universal truth (one creator centric), then other than definitions Atheism and one infinite God/creator are the same thing to me.
    :motherlylove::swordfight-kudiyan:swordfight:sippingcoffeemunda:
    What you think!
     
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    #7 Ambarsaria, Oct 14, 2012
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  9. Archived_member15

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    I would also compare this part of Dr Eben's NDE:

    With this:


    His experiences prior to the "orb", void and light (God) strike me as imaginery in nature, however that does not mean that they are not real because as Saint Thomas explains these angelic beings can send mental images into our head, even making us think that we are somewhere that we are not. It seems that this "female figure" (his guardian), if his experience be genuine rather than imaginery (I know that the part of his brain dealing with imagination had shut down), might have conjured up all these beautiful butterflies and images in his mind to console him.


    I see significant similarities.

    If any of you are interested you might want to read this by Sergius Bulgakov, a famous Orthodox (Eastern Catholic) mystic and theologian of the early 20th century who had an NDE in which he encountered a presence:

    Jacob's Ladder: On Angels: Sergius Bulgakov,Thomas Allan Smith: 9780802865168: Amazon.com: Books

    Might be a good compare/contrast.
     
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    #8 Archived_member15, Oct 14, 2012
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  10. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    There is a lot of jumbled thoughts as you state Ambarsaria ji, no doubt.
    But what is interesting is the similarities you hear from different people.

    The accounts vary in the detail but there is often a recollection of floating and hovering above your physical self. This occurs when the body ceases to be functioning.
    Later there is the similarity of heading towards a light and communicating.

    Is it just the sub-conscious mind playing tricks or is it real ?

    It takes a while to map it all out and make some sense out of it
     
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  11. Ishna

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    Read up on Hypnagogia and learn about the strange things the mind does when transitioning from waking to sleep. The mind produces some pretty unusual but recurring things throughout populations. Then consider dreams themselves and how culturally limited they can be.

    The evidence so far seems to suggest that these experiences are probably products of the mind.
     
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  12. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Luckysingh ji absolutely wonderful post. I have a comment.
    Luckysingh ji I have almost no doubt in my mind that there is a very unique and rarely discovered state of mind that is sub-conscious or even unconscious. Science continues to put boundaries on such subjects only to dismantle or erase the boundaries and move further in ever so often.

    Are such experiences intra-brain or extra body, I would not know! I have no idea how our senses react in such states. Just because they don't appear to the outside world to be reacting in their normal fashion, does not imply that they are not working in a different mode in such situations. If such is the case then the eyes in sub-conscious, the ears in sub conscious, etc., may experience that may have little relationship to how these work while one is conscious. The eyes may see the unseen, the ears may hear the unheard, as such have detuned from the usual mode. My brother if that happens to be the case, life and us and how such experiences are described takes on a whole new fascinating meaning and scope.

    Incredibly exciting and fascinating subject.

    Regards.
     
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    #11 Ambarsaria, Oct 14, 2012
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  13. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    I'm glad you are aware of this because I only learned and looked into this kind of information after waking up from my coma.
    What was fascinating and got me interested in researching was the fact that the mind is so so powerful than we actually think.
    I mean it is because of its super power that we have huge hurdles of trying to conquer our 5 thieves.
    The Gurbani repeatedly mentions control of our minds, which is not easy.

    We have the initial burden of not even knowing what it is actually capable of, because we have got so accustomed to associating it with our brain.
    We seem to lock it's capabilities to what our brain tells us !!!
    The only time that you can ''free'' the mind totally, so that it decides what it is doing and going to do is when we can dissociate completely from the brain.
    -This happens when the brain neurons stop firing and it ceases to function ie. when physically dead.
    To be able to just shut your brain off with self effort is not at all possible, but if we could then we would understand the conscious and subconscious much better.


    I am aware of waking whilst asleep, ie astral projection with sleep paralysis etc.. But none of these can really put any boundaries on the mind's capabilities !!!
     
  14. BhagatSingh

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    Ishna ji,
    All experiences are the product of a mind. There is no experience outside of it.


    Lucky Singh ji,
    Apparently this can be done. There are stories in India of Sidhas capable of achieving this. Either they know when they are going to die, or they can do it at will.

    I am really interested in Astral travel as there are Sakhis of Guru Nanak and others who travelled to distant stars and met other spiritual people on them.

    There is no experience without senses, outside of the mind. Consciousness if it is going to leave the body, would have no way of experiencing, that is, there will be no images, no sounds, no feeling, etc. If there is anyway that can occur it must be an inner knowing. Like how all one's questions get answered. There is hardly a trace of experience in it, it is just an inner knowing (though some people have darshans). With astral projection, I think it maybe similar, one day you wake up (read: come back from astral travel) and JUST know that you met say Guru Nanak on Pluto.

    But how does one verify this? Guru Nanak is not physically present on Pluto. Only a bodiless consciousness has had this "experience" of another bodiless consciousness. How to describe it?
     
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  15. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    Absolutely spot on Bhagatji.
    People that have had darshans usually speak of a message given or spoken to them.
    They are almost always certain that it wasn't just a dream because the clarity of the matter is always so intense. It is usually so much clearer than normal as they sense and feel everything that is around them more intensly than normal.
    However, in a dream state, everything is not always so clear, say if you are having darshan in a dream then you won't remember or notice the background noises, the numbers of flies or insects in the air...etc.., whereas in the astral plane they remember the whole feeling.

    To prove such matters can be difficult, as one starts to doubt themselves.
    However the ones with darshan are usually able to describe and recall it very well in clear detail.
     
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  16. jasbirkaleka

    jasbirkaleka India
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    When the brain is deprived of oxygen for a short period of time ,it acts in strange ways.

    The most common feeling reported is that of floating through a dark, long tunnel.:grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning:
     
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  17. BhagatSingh

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    Jasbir kaleka ji,
    That feeling also occurs when the mind shuts off in meditation, when oxygen is plentiful.

    The funny thing is, that it feels more real than anything else. And this is what I find very intriguing. The same mental faculties that tell me the water bottle sitting before me is real, tell me that feeling is more real than the bottle. It is strange indeed, but it is not strange like a dream, where one wakes up and realizes oh that was just a dream. This is the opposite.
     
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  18. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    Bhagat ji, I think you have grapsed this idea quite well.

    We realise that the conscious or subconscious is active on it's own accord when disassociated from the brain.
    However, the issue that everyone including scientists find difficult to grasp, is the actual ''Memory''

    You see, when conscious goes to play or walkies, disassociating itself from the body, which occurs when brain blood supply begins to stop or when hearts and lungs stop. Then the said person can actually remember going on such walkies because the 'memory' is in the brain!

    Sounds pretty obvious, I know!!!!
    But, it's only because of the memory associated with the brain that the person can actually remember the disassociation.
    - You follow me ?

    I'll be a little more clear, - You see, many of the beings that have NDE's have usually been clinically dead for some seconds or several minutes.
    When they get ressucitated or 'pop' back to life, then they can recall the event if and ONLY if, there is NO permanent brain damage or injury.
    -)Because there are also numerous cases of beings that have clinical death so to speak, but they don't recall any NDE or activity.-
    - These people have usually suffered some form of severe head trauma, brain injury or other accident.
    In severe trauma, quite often the body and brain will lose the memory of the horrific trauma as a natural protective mechanism. Most survivors of horrific crashes etc.cannot normally remember the moments before or after the event for this very reason.
    -However, these are also the beings that cannot recall any conscious activity.

    So, although we can deduce that the conscious is very much alive and can be in a very active mode when brain may begin to shut down with the human body, we can also gather that the activity itself is only 'remembered' or recalled if there is a 'memory' in the brain !!
    - So, it still needs the brain to be able to function memory access to be able to tell the story !!
    -

    A little confusing as the conscious needs no brain to give you the experience at first, but when it goes back then it needs the brain to recall the experience.

    It is a very interesting matter indeed. :interestedsingh:
     
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  19. BhagatSingh

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    Lucky Singh ji,
    I think you nailed the problem with these experiences and the memory of them, when we try to analyze them scientifically! This problem also exists with reincarnation! Those who remember things from past life how do they remember?
    I once put it like so:
    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/new-to-sikhism/28918-concept-of-reincarnation.html#post118783

    But apparently there is some evidence of memory that sort of hangs around with the soul and upon birth manifests itself in the brain. And this "memory" is enough to influence even the morphology of the organism in the next birth! WOW! Check it out, Dr Ian Stevenson's research: http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/super...evidence-boy-was-wwii-pilot-2.html#post172007

    Stuart Hameroff has been researching this for the past 35 years. He tries to explain this "memory" using quantum physics. the understanding of biology when quantum physics is taken in to account is called quantum biology, which had been only studied in terms of Newtonian physics before.

    This takes us out of materialist science and into the realm of Eastern philosophy. Very interesting to see indeed. Hopefully something solid comes out of this in our life times.
     
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  20. Luckysingh

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    That's funny you mention that, as I had previously thought about the reincarnation applications possible!
    There must be some form or kind of memory as mentioned that is in line with the conscious or soul, but like I say this seems to have an influence from the brain memory to an extent.
    When the conscious is at large or in full action, then it is ALL in the presence as there is no factor of time, or past, because of no brain memory. However, the conscious may not be living by the time that we know of but it is much more AWARE.
    The awareness overides any need for memory, because when you are so so aware of everything in the presence, then you don't need brain memory to help explain anything.

    Many people with NDE's mention this huge awareness of knowing so much without having to think or use brain memory. They even know all the thoughts that can be present around them, it is in a way like knowing what the creator knows, to be able to feel all the other conscious's from different beings.

    All our present living experiences are conditioned by memory. For every living moment that we experience, this very experience is present because of the way our memories conditon us.
    This also involves the past which is dependent on time, but the conscious is just always in the now, but it is aware of everything now, and before.
     
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  21. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Luckysingh ji thanks for your post. I have one observation.
    Our minds are masterful clowns. They make us ignore realities and start looking at non-real to make it look real.

    It is incredible how much we ignore the knowledge of what makes us in our discussions. Every flower on a plant ever so similar, every heart beating so similarly, everybody at about the same temperature, everyone with about same BP. Why is that? Is this re-incarnation or simply power of the creator to so standardize on similar attributes that allowed the survival of the fittest species in given space and application on earth (
    as per Mr. Darwin).

    There are common Gene Pools that go on for generations without end. Is there real probability that someday someone will be born like a person from way back. I believe there is. Is there a possibility that someone will walk, talk and think like someone before if environment surrounding them is similar. Of course there is.

    Guess what? I am not all knowing but a person on the street seeing the end result will call it re-incarnation. Is it re-incarnation or simply a way to address our ignorance of the creator/creation's ways. Plenty of money to be made too and it was being made when Guru ji were around and still is being made including from many of us Sikhs when we lose messages and wisdom espoused in our teacher, SGGS.

    Just some thoughts.

    Reagrds.
     

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