A Neurosurgeon Near Death
Published on October 9th, 2012 | by Harmonist staff14
By Dr. Eben Alexander
As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences. I grew up in a scientific world, the son of a neurosurgeon. I followed my father’s path and became an academic neurosurgeon, teaching at Harvard Medical School and other universities. I understand what happens to the brain when people are near death, and I had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death.
The brain is an astonishingly sophisticated but extremely delicate mechanism. Reduce the amount of oxygen it receives by the smallest amount and it will react. It was no big surprise that people who had undergone severe trauma would return from their experiences with strange stories. But that didn’t mean they had journeyed anywhere real.
Although I considered myself a faithful Christian, I was so more in name than in actual belief. I didn’t begrudge those who wanted to believe that Jesus was more than simply a good man who had suffered at the hands of the world. I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.I know how pronouncements like mine sound to skeptics, so I will tell my story with the logic and language of the scientist I am.
Very early one morning four years ago, I awoke with an extremely intense headache. Within hours, my entire cortex—the part of the brain that controls thought and emotion and that in essence makes us human—had shut down. Doctors at Lynchburg General Hospital in Virginia, a hospital where I myself worked as a neurosurgeon, determined that I had somehow contracted a very rare bacterial meningitis that mostly attacks newborns. E. coli bacteria had penetrated my cerebrospinal fluid and were eating my brain.
When I entered the emergency room that morning, my chances of survival in anything beyond a vegetative state were already low. They soon sank to near nonexistent. For seven days I lay in a deep coma, my body unresponsive, my higher-order brain functions totally offline.
Alexander discusses his experience on the Science channel’s ‘Through the Wormhole.
Then, on the morning of my seventh day in the hospital, as my doctors weighed whether to discontinue treatment, my eyes popped open.
There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in a coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.
But that dimension—in rough outline, the same one described by countless subjects of near-death experiences and other mystical states—is there. It exists, and what I saw and learned there has placed me quite literally in a new world: a world where we are much more than our brains and bodies, and where death is not the end of consciousness but rather a chapter in a vast, and incalculably positive, journey.
I’m not the first person to have discovered evidence that consciousness exists beyond the body. Brief, wonderful glimpses of this realm are as old as human history. But as far as I know, no one before me has ever traveled to this dimension (a) while their cortex was completely shut down, and (b) while their body was under minute medical observation, as mine was for the full seven days of my coma.
All the chief arguments against near-death experiences suggest that these experiences are the results of minimal, transient, or partial malfunctioning of the cortex. My near-death experience, however, took place not while my cortex was malfunctioning, but while it was simply off. This is clear from the severity and duration of my meningitis, and from the global cortical involvement documented by CT scans and neurological examinations. According to the current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent.
It took me months to come to terms with what happened to me. Not just the medical impossibility that I had been conscious during my coma, but—more importantly—the things that happened during that time. 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, streamer-like 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.
Seeing and hearing were not separate in this place where I now was. I could hear the visual beauty of the silvery bodies of those scintillating beings above, and I could see the surging, joyful perfection of what they sang. It seemed that you could not look at or listen to anything in this world without becoming a part of it—without joining with it in some mysterious way. Again, from my present perspective, I would suggest that you couldn’t look at anything in that world at all, for the word “at” itself implies a separation that did not exist there. Everything was distinct, yet everything was also a part of everything else, like the rich and intermingled designs on a Persian carpet … or a butterfly’s wing.
It gets stranger still. For most of my journey, someone else was with me. A woman. She was young, and I remember what she looked like in complete detail. She had high cheekbones and deep-blue eyes. Golden brown tresses framed her lovely face. When first I saw her, we were riding along together on an intricately patterned surface, which after a moment I recognized as the wing of a butterfly. In fact, millions of butterflies were all around us—vast fluttering waves of them, dipping down into the woods and coming back up around us again. It was a river of life and color, moving through the air. The woman’s outfit was simple, like a peasant’s, but its colors—powder blue, indigo, and pastel orange-peach—had the same overwhelming, super-vivid aliveness that everything else had. She looked at me with a look that, if you saw it for five seconds, would make your whole life up to that point worth living, no matter what had happened in it so far. It was not a romantic look. It was not a look of friendship. It was a look that was somehow beyond all these, beyond all the different compartments of love we have down here on earth. It was something higher, holding all those other kinds of love within itself while at the same time being much bigger 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. I knew so in the same way that I knew that the world around us was real—was not some fantasy, passing and insubstantial.
The message had three parts, and if I had to translate them 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 ever fully understanding it.
“We will show you many things here,” the woman said, again, without actually using these words but by driving their conceptual essence directly into me. “But eventually, you will go back.”
To this, I had only one question.
A warm wind blew through, like the kind that springs up on the perfect summer days, tossing the leaves of the trees and flowing past like heavenly water. A divine breeze. It changed everything, shifting the world around me into an even higher octave, a higher vibration.
Although I still had little language function, at least as we think of it on earth, I began wordlessly putting questions to this wind, and to the divine being that I sensed at work behind or within it.
Where is this place?
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Each time I silently put one of these questions out, the answer came instantly in an explosion of light, color, love, and beauty that blew through me like a crashing wave. What was important about these blasts was that they didn’t simply silence my questions by overwhelming them. They answered them, but in a way that bypassed language. Thoughts entered me directly. But it wasn’t thought like we experience on earth. It wasn’t vague, immaterial, or abstract. These thoughts were solid and immediate—hotter than fire and wetter than water—and as I received them I was able to instantly and effortlessly understand concepts that would have taken me years to fully grasp in my earthly life.
I continued moving forward and found myself entering an immense void, completely dark, infinite in size, yet also infinitely comforting. Pitch-black as it was, it was also brimming over with light: a light that seemed to come from a brilliant orb that I now sensed near me. The orb was a kind of “interpreter” between me and this vast presence surrounding me. It was as if I were being born into a larger world, and the universe itself was like a giant cosmic womb, and the orb (which I sensed was somehow connected with, or even identical to, the woman on the butterfly wing) was guiding me through it.
Later, when I was back, I found a quotation by the 17th-century Christian poet Henry Vaughan that came close to describing this magical place, this vast, inky-black core that was the home of the Divine itself.
“There is, some say, in God a deep but dazzling darkness …”
That was it exactly: an inky darkness that was also full to brimming with light.
I know full well how extraordinary, how frankly unbelievable, all this sounds. Had someone—even a doctor—told me a story like this in the old days, I would have been quite certain that they were under the spell of some delusion. But what happened to me was, far from being delusional, as real or more real than any event in my life. That includes my wedding day and the birth of my two sons.
What happened to me demands explanation.
Modern physics tells us that the universe is a unity—that it is undivided. Though we seem to live in a world of separation and difference, physics tells us that beneath the surface, every object and event in the universe is completely woven up with every other object and event. There is no true separation.
Before my experience these ideas were abstractions. Today they are realities. Not only is the universe defined by unity, it is also—I now know—defined by love. The universe as I experienced it in my coma is—I have come to see with both shock and joy—the same one that both Einstein and Jesus were speaking of in their (very) different ways.
I’ve spent decades as a neurosurgeon at some of the most prestigious medical institutions in our country. I know that many of my peers hold—as I myself did—to the theory that the brain, and in particular the cortex, generates consciousness and that we live in a universe devoid of any kind of emotion, much less the unconditional love that I now know God and the universe have toward us. But that belief, that theory, now lies broken at our feet. What happened to me destroyed it, and I intend to spend the rest of my life investigating the true nature of consciousness and making the fact that we are more, much more, than our physical brains as clear as I can, both to my fellow scientists and to people at large.
I don’t expect this to be an easy task, for the reasons I described above. When the castle of an old scientific theory begins to show fault lines, no one wants to pay attention at first. The old castle simply took too much work to build in the first place, and if it falls, an entirely new one will have to be constructed in its place.
I learned this firsthand after I was well enough to get back out into the world and talk to others—people, that is, other than my long-suffering wife, Holley, and our two sons—about what had happened to me. The looks of polite disbelief, especially among my medical friends, soon made me realize what a task I would have getting people to understand the enormity of what I had seen and experienced that week while my brain was down.
One of the few places I didn’t have trouble getting my story across was a place I’d seen fairly little of before my experience: church. The first time I entered a church after my coma, I saw everything with fresh eyes. The colors of the stained-glass windows recalled the luminous beauty of the landscapes I’d seen in the world above. The deep bass notes of the organ reminded me of how thoughts and emotions in that world are like waves that move through you. And, most important, a painting of Jesus breaking bread with his disciples evoked the message that lay at the very heart of my journey: that we are loved and accepted unconditionally by a God even more grand and unfathomably glorious than the one I’d learned of as a child in Sunday school.
Today many believe that the living spiritual truths of religion have lost their power, and that science, not faith, is the road to truth. Before my experience, I strongly suspected that this was the case myself.
But I now understand that such a view is far too simple. The plain fact is that the materialist picture of the body and brain as the producers, rather than the vehicles, of human consciousness, is doomed. In its place, a new view of mind and body will emerge, and in fact, is emerging already. This view is scientific and spiritual in equal measure and will value what the greatest scientists of history themselves always valued above all: truth.
This new picture of reality will take a long time to put together. It won’t be finished in my time, or even, I suspect, my sons’ either. In fact, reality is too vast, too complex, and too irreducibly mysterious for a full picture of it ever to be absolutely complete. But in essence, it will show the universe as evolving, multi-dimensional, and known down to its every last atom by a God who cares for us even more deeply and fiercely than any parent ever loved their child.
I’m still a doctor, and still a man of science every bit as much as I was before I had my experience. But on a deep level, I’m very different from the person I was before because I’ve caught a glimpse of this emerging picture of reality. And you can believe me when I tell you that it will be worth every bit of the work it will take us, and those who come after us, to get it right.
This article originally appeared in Newsweek.
http://gawker.com/5949892/newsweek-cover-story-or-internet-posting-about-dugs-a-quiz and http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/omg-newsweek-touts-the-afterlife-as-real/ These fellows try to critique the story, but the reaction is expected. Obviously, it changed the doctor for the better. Mostly about a women companion with blue eyes telling him beautiful things is strange. I hope what he says is true though and heaven indeed exists like he describes.
Amazing experience well articulated–as much as it can be–and given extra credibility (for some) coming from scientist. I have read many books about the subject, and I always find them stimulating and thought provoking. It is like I can feel the experience from the intensity behind the words. Levels of truth there are, but in whatever way I come in contact with it, it is somehow elevating. Such accounts are important because many people take a person’s experience as a higher evidence than scripture–even though many great devotees have envisioned their direct experience in their writing. However, such a high spiritual plane of purity and service, can’t be accessed by without a certain level of sukriti or spiritual eligibility. So while we may call such accounts as given in this article “preliminary,” many people and many devotees are still positively affected by them, as they endeavor to realize themselves as a soul having a human experience–and for Gaudiya Vaishnavas, in the context of understanding at least the theory of the higher realms of Goloka–Radha and Krishna, Gaura-Nitai, and all their associates. Simply reading Shri Bhrihat Bhagavatamrita can at least point to the fact that their are many planes of existence or dimensions and we can’t hope to understand or articulate them all. This should be humbling. Even though we may accept the Vedic Vaishnava version of things, that shouldn’t prevent from hearing such accounts with respect and wonder. Krishna works in many ways and has unlimited aspects according to the level or approach and faith of the person.
I got a comment from someone with devotional background and also neuroscience background. I don’t know much about this subject, so obviously, it was good hearing from him.
” I think Jerry Coyne is essentially right http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/omg-newsweek-touts-the-afterlife-as-real/ , but he could have spent more time explaining why.
I happen to be casually interested in NDEs. Notice the part where he says where the woman spoke to him that three-part message; it is always general comforting stuff that is spoken by these “angels”, why don’t they ever answer any specific questions, assuming that the NDE’er asks them any?
In fact, years ago when I was still at school, this woman came on the Oprah Winfrey show to talk about her NDE experience, Betty J. Eadie. I bought her book ‘Embraced By The Light’, she actually had a very fascinating and detailed NDE and, from memory, asked questions and got them answered too. I ended up rejecting her view because she came up with an explanation for why reincarnation is a false doctrine and this conflicted with my faith obviously (“How can ANYONE not see the logic behind reincarnation??”) and I found it suspicious, but it remained a fascinating experience. I still have that book somewhere.
In recent years I bought a book (forgot the name, sorry, but I will use it a lot in future) which actually attempted to analyse NDEs in depth. Interestingly, it mentioned that Raymond Moody, the doctor who was the first person to undertake a study of NDEs, had come up with a list of 14 features that are the hallmarks of an NDE. Did you know that people who have NDEs never experience ALL these 14 features? It is always 3-4, possibly upto 8 or 9, never all 14.
At the original Andrew Sullivan blog, the first sentence of the article is “As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences.” Why not? As a doctor, he should have known that NDEs are actually fairly common, that around 1 in 6 patients claim to have some sort of NDE when they undergo neurological or cardiac trauma. I wonder why this isn’t more openly acknowledged and studied, maybe because doctors/scientists are fighting shy of being forced to come up with an explanation when they can’t.
Personally I don’t think that any of these NDEs are real, although they are very fascinating. I see them as a sort of phenomena arising from near-brain death, which is why they always seem to occur near-death either from neurological traumas or heart attacks. It is like viewing brain death from the patient’s perspective; going down a long tunnel tends to correspond with the narrowing of the vision, general hallucination because of lack of oxygen to the brain, and so on. See this for example: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/studying-near-death-experiences/ (And follow-up: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/more-on-near-death-experiences/). This is also why I find it suspicious that not one person has experienced all 14 of the features outlined by Moody; it seems likely because these NDEs are tailored to what is actually happening in the specific brain as it is dying. Also, what to speak of religious conditioning! Why do, generally speaking, Hindu NDE’ers see Krishna, Durga, Shiva or whoever? Christians see Jesus, Atheists/agnostics see a “being of light”, and so on. One person who published her experience saw demons and Satan as her NDE saw her being dragged off to hell. A (Hindu) friend of mine who had an NDE claimed he saw Durga.
In any case, these are all very interesting and fascinating things to think about, but in the absence of a reasonable explanation I woudn’t put much weight in them, even if they happened to a neurosurgeon. If you read that first article above by Novella, you’ll see he makes mention of a study carried out by Sam Parnia. We are still waiting for the results of that Parnia study, it will definitely make waves when it is published. It will be the first proper study of NDEs that will be ale to make a start in discussing the issue of the mind-body monism or dualism. Or on the other hand, they may all get it wrong and there is nothing to talk about. This study has been going on for the last 3 years and interested people have been waiting for Parnia to submit his study to a journal for publication.
Hope that helps!”
I thought it would’ve worked better in his advantage if he hadn’t gone into so much detail about the experience itself. The stuff about transparent winged beings and a blue-eyed woman will be too off the wall for many people and I think he should’ve used his credibility more as a scientist to point out the fact that he was conscious despite it being medically impossible according to current scientific understanding.
I did have a thought about that, though: could it not be possible that he had this experience just a fraction of a second before his brain functions shut down, or a fraction of a second after he came back into consciousness? Just like in dreams we can experience a long span of time that is in actuality a split second.
That being said, I’d imagine that a neurosurgeon must’ve thought of that possibility before being covered in Newsweek and saying he was conscious the whole time…
Anyway, it’s definitely an inspiring account for people like us who have the faith to begin with that reality is so much more exciting, multifaceted and ineffable than our three-dimensional experience here.
I would not dismiss his experience only on basis of its external appearance. People try to make sense of unusual things that happen to them and that`s why they describe them using words and symbols from their culture and religion. Of course it is not possible to prove that it all did not happen in 1/100 of second in dying brain. But stories about people who see this world while being doubt deeply unconscious from external point of view cannot be explained in this way.
I have experience of meeting conscious beings after the death of their bodies. I don`t want to make story very long and give all the details but if someone is curious I might. One was human being (my granfather`s brother) the other one was a puppy. Both I “met” soon after their death. And no, I haven`t seen them. Uncle seemed to try to communicate. Puppy seemed scared and confused.
I also have first hand experience of fainting and… being conscious despite of that. It started with sound in my ears and problems with seeing. So I sat down leaning towards a fence. My cousin was with me. Soon I lost sight. I could still hear my sister talking to me but her voice was fading and at some point I stopped hearing anything. Then a wave of cold came down from my head to my legs and I lost the sense of touch. It was weird but not scary. I was there alone as if inside completely dark well and I was consciousness. External world just disappeared, there was only darkness and me.
“I have experience of meeting conscious beings after the death of their bodies. I don`t want to make story very long and give all the details but if someone is curious I might. One was human being (my granfather`s brother) the other one was a puppy. Both I “met” soon after their death. And no, I haven`t seen them. Uncle seemed to try to communicate. Puppy seemed scared and confused.”
Why don’t you think it can be a dream? I also met my grandfather and some stranger in the dream. Another things, we can say is that dream is as real as reality. That would be another topic.Yes details are always helpful for the complete story.
Well, I can`t think about it as dream because I was not sleeping. I was fully awaken and in second case in fact I couldn`t sleep after it happened. I know people with narcolepsy can have very realistic dreams. I don`t have this disease though, and in case of uncle other members of family also experienced his presence.
You asked me to share my stories. Here is the first one (sorry, it is long one):
Our extended family traditionally celebrated Christmas in grandparents house.
It was sometime in 80-ties, evening 2 days before Christmas Eve. One of my aunts, cousin (to whom I will refer as sister) and me were chatting in the living room. Grandma was sleeping in her room. Grandfather was sleeping in the room where we sat.
At that time I was ardent Christian so at some point I wanted to say my evening prayer therefore I went to the sleeping room to be alone. Light was off, leaving the room in half darkness. I kneeled down to say my prayer when suddenly I realized someone`s presence. It was very intense feeling, I was tempted to extend my hand and touch an invisible “ball” that seemed to fly below the ceiling and watch me. “Someone has died”- a thought appeared in my mind but I dismissed it as a superstition, finished my prayer and left the room.
We continued to talk, auntie was knitting. Then I hear someone`s steps, as in the kitchen. Of course I assumed gramdma woke up and was coming to join us. The light in the kitchen was on but I couldn`t see grandmother coming from her room. So I went there to check why she wasn`t coming and found her sleeping soundly. I came back to the living room and after maybe 2 minutes I heard the steps again. Wooden floor was creaking slightly as if someone tried to hide his presence. “Oh no!”, I cried, “it must be the cat feasting on sausages!”. I went back to grandma`s room and started calling the cat. But it did not show up. Grandma was still sleeping. My aunt and sister started to laught at my “hearing sounds”. And at that moment we all heard loud sound in the kitchen. They could not ignore it anymore. This time sister went to the kitchen. “Oh, it is just grandfather`s belt that fell off the chair”. This caused curiosity of auntie who put the thing herself on this chair and was sure it could in no way fall on its own, especially that it was lying not exactly next to this chair.
Next evening my parents came. On their way to us they visited grandfather`s brother and were told he died the day before, about 9pm. After hearing the news grandma and grandpa also told their part of story. Grandfather had a dream about his brother. And grandma woke up at night to use the toilet and she stepped on a package of bee wax she got from her brother in law couple years before and forgot where she put it. she was looking for it for a long time.
The same place, some holiday with all family gathered. There was a dog with a little cute puppy. She was living under one of the beds in the living room. In the evening puppy seemed to be sick . It had some neurological problem, something like “epilepsy”, I was trying to bring it to attention of adults, but symtoms quickly disappeared so nobody believed me.
We all went to sleep. In the middle of the night everyone was terrified by painful yelp of the puppy. It cried loudly only once and then remained silent. We all jumped out of our beds to see what happened, assuming that someone must had stepped on poor creature. One uncle turned the light on, looked under the bed and said puppy was there and everything was fine. Everybody denied to be guilty of animal`s suffering.
We went back to our beds. I stayed in sleeping room. It was bright, full moon night. I was almost sleeping when I heard the puppy coming into the room. It sounded like it was playing and them seemed to realize his mother was not there, so he started crying softly. I was sleepy but I decided to take him back to his place so I opened my eyes and looked exactly where the sound was coming from. I still remember the chair and moon light under it… There was sound but there was no puppy! Astonished, I raised and was trying to locale it but in vain.
Then I felt paralyzing, freezing cold. It was so scary. I went back to my bed. Whole family was sleeping and I was totally horrified. I couldn`t sleep at all.
Next morning puppy was found dead, under the bed where it lived.
I like it. I love it! I think that if a devotee that we know came and told us that he/she had an experience of the the vaikuntha dimension, the same doubters as are on record in this thread would be just as doubtful about that.
The literatures that we have clearly indicate that advanced devotees have experiences of other dimensions while they are totally unaware of this dimension.
The fact that NDE persons tend to experience realms that reflect their their belief systems do not discredit their experience. In Gita Krishna says that each person goes to the realm of their conception, of their leaning, whether it be the realm of the forefathers, ghosts and spirits, the devas, or the realm of Krishna.
Vaishnava’s do not report such things, as a matter of spiritual policy. But we are told that when we leave this body we do not go to a realm that we have never seen before. Rather the mature devotee goes to the realm that he/she has already been experiencing while still embodied.
Somewhere recently I read that Ajamila lived after seeing the Yamadhutas and went off to engage in serious sadhana until he did leave his body.
I think such people are most fortunate. If I could book a NDE, I think I’d do it without hesitation. It’s not against anything we believe in.
Of course people have out of body experiences. Astral projection is practiced by yogis. People in coma’s are known to report that they could see their own body on the operating table. They could see the clock on the wall, they could report what the doctors were discussing and what they were doing – even while their bodies were totally uncounscious.
If some of them go, or are taken, to other realms, why should that be a problem for us? We have heard it thousands of times and even say it ourselves: “You are not this body.” So if someone says, “Yes, I am not this body!”, why should we turn them down?
It so happens that some of the saints in other traditions, who have experiences that confirm their faith, are discredited by their own spiritual institutions, locked up. They accept the sambhanda, but when someone lives it – they reject them. What kind of faith is that?
Vaishnavas keep their experiences to themselves and do not display ecstatic symptoms in public. That prevents cheap imitation. Srila Prabhupada said if such a person falls down before the Deity in trance, we should kick them on their face. They won’t mind. But does this mean that no pure devotees have experiences of other realms? Or that advanced devotees do not have conversations with their Deities?
The only reason for disbelief is because we have swallowed our Godless culture.
How refreshing it is to read your responses! Indeed, why do others attempt to scoff and discredit something they know nothing about. To criticize his experience for his difficulty of relating it in words, mere words, for which language is so frequently inadequate, is stunning. Have none of you had difficulty expressing what you feel spiritually? Or what you know spiritually? I have personally had a spiritual experience (and have “very” briefly) attempted to explain it in language to a very few devotees. Inevitably, it is “brushed off” as meaningless. But I will say, like this doctor, it was more real than anything I have ever experienced before, ever. I was awake though. And like him, it was infinite love.
Very little of our brain is conscious. We use our unconscious brain for certain rote performances/issues. For instance, think about each letter as you type next time. Think with each character where is the “t” key; use your conscious area of the brain. I assure you, you will type slowly and make many mistakes. The cortex does not retain what is unnecessary to retain. His experiences were in the unconscious realm.
I also relate with the energy passing through us and the words unspoken, but instantly formed in “knowing.” As well as a few other issues.
Ishan, that is the only thing I remembered about the Gita, from decades ago. is that each person goes to the realm of their conception. I remember thinking in my early twenties how incredibly enlightening it was to read that. There must be such wonder and openness in Eastern religion. . . . . .
Brajasundari, I enjoyed reading your experiences immensely. Thank you so much for sharing them. I have had similar experiences, and I know they are real. I have no doubt.
And thanks to The Harmonist’s editor for sharing this wonderful piece with us!
Our culture is not godless.
Thanks for finally talking about > Harmonist | A Neurosurgeon Near Death < Loved it!