Want To Know About Heaven? Ask The Neurosurgeon Who Found It

And why science may never be the same again

“Earth’s crammed with heaven…but only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” — Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon with sophisticated medical training was just like your average doctor or scientist.

He believed that anything that cannot be verified by facts is only a hypothesis. That consciousness, near-death experiences, heaven, God, and similar concepts are just outside the purview of science.

There’s nothing that science could possibly gain from studying it.

That has been the general attitude of people who love to call themselves “pragmatic” or “realists.”

Yet what they fail to “realize” is that the world in front of us is not the only reality. The world is a part of a much bigger reality than we can perceive. In fact, the material reality that we believe is the end-all-be-all of existence is one of the grossest ones.

But in 2008, something happened that shifted the perspective of Dr. Alexander and many others who chose to believe.

Dr. Alexander contracted bacterial meningitis. It’s a deadly infection that soaked his brain and sent him into a deep coma for a week. His physicians at Lynchburg General Hospital, Virginia were shocked to find that he’d acquired spontaneous E.coli meningitis, which has less than a *one in 10,000,000 *annual incidences.

During that time, in his words, he slipped into heaven. He didn’t have body awareness. Instead, he was living intensely in his mind.

He states of being reborn into a primitive Jell-o-like substance and then guided by a “beautiful girl with high cheekbones and deep blue eyes” on the wings of a butterfly to an “immense void” that is both “pitch black” and “brimming with light” coming from an “orb” that interprets for an all-loving God.

When Dr. Alexander came back from a coma, one of his friends was amazed to see the expression on his face. He had the astonished gaze of an infant — not what one would expect from an adult who just came back from an unconscious state.

Even more surprising than that was the minute details he remembered from the time he spent in a coma. He says, “If one had asked me before my coma how much a patient would remember after such severe meningitis, I would’ve answered ‘nothing’ and been thinking in the back of my mind that no one would recover from such an illness, at least not to the point of being able to discuss their memories.”

Yet, as soon as he came back, he wrote his elaborative and rich odyssey from deep within the coma that comprised of more than 20,000 words by the time he’d completed it within 6 weeks.

In fact, his illness was so severe that his original memoirs from within coma did not include any recollections from his life before the illness, including language and any knowledge of humans or this universe.

He says,* “That ‘scorched earth’ intensity was the setting for a profound spiritual experience that took me beyond space and time to what seemed like the origin of all existence.”*

What happened in Heaven?

He began in a primitive, coarse, and unresponsive realm and then rescued by a slowly spinning clear white light associated with a musical melody. This served as a portal up into rich and ultra-real realms.

The Gateway Valley was filled with dynamic plant life, flowers and buds blossoming richly with no signs of decay, waterfalls into sparkling crystal pools, thousands of beings dancing below with great joy, all fueled by swooping golden orbs in the sky above, angelic choirs emanating chants, and a lovely girl on a butterfly.

These chants and hymns by those angelic choirs provided yet another portal to higher realms, eventually ushering his awareness into the Core. This is where he finds God — an unending blackness filled to overflowing with the infinite healing power of the all-loving deity at the source.

In fact, for him ‘God’ seemed like a puny word that failed to describe the power, majesty, and awe I had witnessed.

In accordance with the yogic teachings, he referred to that deity as Om, the sound he recalled from that realm as the resonance within infinity and eternity.

Not only this, he learned a ton of lessons there too. His understanding of space, time, mass, energy, soul, causalities, afterlife, reincarnation, meaning, and purpose took on a deeper meaning that he’s still trying to unravel.

Ever since he’s had this experience, he’s been trying to convince the scientific community to “graduate from kindergarten.”

Dr. Alexander was not the first or the last one to have such an experience. You don’t even need a near-death-experience to do that. Many advanced yogis and meditators touch this state on a regular basis, at will.

So why isn’t science still on board? Why does it only dismiss these experiences as hallucinations? Let’s find out.

Why Science Runs Away From Consciousness

It’s convenient for the scientific community to dismiss the experience of Alexander and many others as dreams, hallucinations, drug effects, or something similar.

In this case, however, things take a funny turn. Due to the medical condition and the severity of the disease, Alexander’s brain was incapable of any kind of hallucination, or dream. The global damage in his neocortex was apparent from his neurologic exams, scans, and laboratory values.

In light of these facts, dismissing such experiences is only degrading our scientific progress. It leads us further away from the deep truths that these experiences are trying to reveal to us.

The current model followed by science — the brain creates consciousness and that our human existence is all about birth-to-death and nothing more — is fundamentally flawed.

It ignores the fundamental element of all existence — consciousness.

Some of you may still believe that these are hallucinations. Many in fact have accused Alexander of wrongly labeling his experience as that of heaven.

First of all, Alexander admits to having hallucinated with a clear explanation that these were different from his ‘fully immersive’ visions of the afterlife. His hallucinations were centered around random events and his doctors.

It was just like our dreams — they are often only subconscious and don’t make sense.

But his explanation about the all-loving deity, the sound of Om, and many other things are perfectly in line with what the yogis have been teaching from time to time.

The people who negate this, are usually not aware of these truths themselves.

We’ve made a lot of progress in understanding brain activity, and how it contributes to human behavior. But what no one has managed to explain is how all of this leads to feelings, emotions, and experiences.

How aren’t we just robots with billions of chemical signals inside our brains?

Conventional scientific methods may never be able to answer these questions. Because matter can be seen with the eyes. But consciousness can’t. It’s an internal experience.

Most of the researchers are looking for proof of the existence of consciousness outside themselves. What they don’t realize is it cannot be perceived with the intellect or the mind alone. It’s a matter of the heart.

Take the case of a light bulb. It can shine the light on everything around it but not on the power that illuminates it. Similarly, you can see everything around you but not the consciousness that emanates from you. It’s beyond the normal functioning of the mind, the limits of the intellect, and beyond thought.

Einstein wanted to explain God in an equation, on a piece of paper! But he realized that even if he got a near-perfect equation, it would be useless — for doing something like this would be like describing Mozart’s music in the form of sound waves. You could do it, yes. But would you really grasp the spirit behind it?

Unlike for much of the 20th century, consciousness is now a serious scientific topic. People in the scientific community perhaps know it as the “Hard Problem of Consciousness.”

Phillip Goff says, that we should not be surprised that our standard scientific methods struggle to deal with consciousness. Because modern science was explicitly designed to exclude consciousness.

Before Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science, people believed that the physical world was filled with qualities, such as colors and smells.

Galileo, in his quest to form a purely quantitative view, proposed that these qualities were not in the physical world. They were instead in our consciousness which he stipulated was outside the domain of science.

This worldview is at the backdrop of science to this day. And so as long as we’re caught within that worldview, the best we can do is establish correlations between the quantitative brain processes we can see and the qualitative experiences we can’t see.

The Takeaway

The experience of Dr. Alexander was an eye-opener for me. I knew much about what he experienced. But I’d given hope that the scientific community will ever come to that understanding.

His experience did give me some hope.

Our current scientific approach offers no theory at all. There are only correlations. I think there will be a science of consciousness in the future. But what I also know is it will be different from the kind of science we study today.

In the meantime, what can we do? As it turns out, you don’t need to have a near-death-experience to observe these realities.

The yogic science has been telling us the number one technique for ages — meditation.

Once you calm the senses, and still the body and mind with meditation techniques, your attention is withdrawn into your spine. This is how you can touch the state of consciousness that Dr. Alexander experienced.

Don’t wait for science to progress. Explore your own individual consciousness daily until you can expand that to attain cosmic consciousness. Yes, this is possible, if you don’t sell yourself short.

And if we know there’s a higher reality, there’s no reason to try to know it.

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Written on January 6, 2021