Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife

3.8 766
by Eben Alexander

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A Scientist's Case for the Afterlife...

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

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A Scientist's Case for the Afterlife...

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Raymond A. Moody
“Dr. Eben Alexander’s near-death experience is the most astounding I have heard in more than four decades of studying this phenomenon. [He] is living proof of an afterlife.”
From the Publisher
“Eben Alexander brings a unique perspective to the sacred world combining a glorious, personal vision of spiritual consciousness with patient, insightful scientific inquiry. Proof of Heaven is a compelling story of what may lie ahead for all of us in the life beyond this one. We have nothing to fear.” —Allan J. Hamilton, MD, FACS, author of The Scalpel and the Soul and Zen Mind, Zen Horse

“I can highly recommend this important book that has the potential to break many scientific taboos.” —Dr. Pim van Lommel, cardiologist, author of Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience

Proof of Heaven is more than just an awe-inspiring account of a profound encounter with spiritual reality. Dr. Alexander’s neuroscience career taught him that near-death experiences are brain-based illusions, and yet his personal experience left him dumbstruck. His honest struggle to make sense of this unforgettable journey is a gripping story, unique in the literature of spiritual experiences, that may well change how we understand our role in the universe.” —Bruce Greyson, MD, co-editor of The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation

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Simon & Schuster
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5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

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A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.

—ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879–1955)

When I was a kid, I would often dream of flying.

Most of the time I’d be standing out in my yard at night, looking up at the stars, when out of the blue I’d start floating upward. The first few inches happened automatically. But soon I’d notice that the higher I got, the more my progress depended on me—on what I did. If I got too excited, too swept away by the experience, I would plummet back to the ground . . . hard. But if I played it cool, took it all in stride, then off I would go, faster and faster, up into the starry sky.

Maybe those dreams were part of the reason why, as I got older, I fell in love with airplanes and rockets—with anything that might get me back up there in the world above this one. When our family flew, my face was pressed flat to the plane’s window from takeoff to landing. In the summer of 1968, when I was fourteen, I spent all the money I’d earned mowing lawns on a set of sailplane lessons with a guy named Gus Street at Strawberry Hill, a little grass strip “airport” just west of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the town where I grew up. I still remember the feeling of my heart pounding as I pulled the big cherry-red knob that unhooked the rope connecting me to the towplane and banked my sailplane toward the field. It was the first time I had ever felt truly alone and free. Most of my friends got that feeling in cars, but for my money being a thousand feet up in a sailplane beat that thrill a hundred times over.

In college in the 1970s I joined the University of North Carolina sport parachuting (or skydiving) team. It felt like a secret brotherhood—a group of people who knew about something special and magical. My first jump was terrifying, and the second even more so. But by my twelfth jump, when I stepped out the door and had to fall for more than a thousand feet before opening my parachute (my first “ten second delay”), I knew I was home. I made 365 parachute jumps in college and logged more than three and a half hours in free fall, mainly in formations with up to twenty-five fellow jumpers. Although I stopped jumping in 1976, I continued to enjoy vivid dreams about skydiving, which were always pleasant.

The best jumps were often late in the afternoon, when the sun was starting to sink beneath the horizon. It’s hard to describe the feeling I would get on those jumps: a feeling of getting close to something that I could never quite name but that I knew I had to have more of. It wasn’t solitude exactly, because the way we dived actually wasn’t all that solitary. We’d jump five, six, sometimes ten or twelve people at a time, building free-fall formations. The bigger and the more challenging, the better.

One beautiful autumn Saturday in 1975, the rest of the UNC jumpers and I teamed up with some of our friends at a paracenter in eastern North Carolina for some formations. On our penultimate jump of the day, out of a D18 Beechcraft at 10,500 feet, we made a ten-man snowflake. We managed to get ourselves into complete formation before we passed 7,000 feet, and thus were able to enjoy a full eighteen seconds of flying the formation down a clear chasm between two towering cumulus clouds before breaking apart at 3,500 feet and tracking away from each other to open our chutes.

By the time we hit the ground, the sun was down. But by hustling into another plane and taking off again quickly, we managed to get back up into the last of the sun’s rays and do a second sunset jump. For this one, two junior members were getting their first shot at flying into formation—that is, joining it from the outside rather than being the base or pin man (which is easier because your job is essentially to fall straight down while everyone else maneuvers toward you). It was exciting for the two junior members, but also for those of us who were more seasoned, because we were building the team, adding to the experience of jumpers who’d later be capable of joining us for even bigger formations.

I was to be the last man out in a six-man star attempt above the runways of the small airport just outside Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. The guy directly in front of me was named Chuck. Chuck was fairly experienced at “relative work,” or RW—that is, building free-fall formations. We were still in sunshine at 7,500 feet, but a mile and a half below us the streetlights were blinking on. Twilight jumps were always sublime and this was clearly going to be a beautiful one.

Even though I’d be exiting the plane a mere second or so behind Chuck, I’d have to move fast to catch up with everyone. I’d rocket straight down headfirst for the first seven seconds or so. This would make me drop almost 100 miles per hour faster than my friends so that I could be right there with them after they had built the initial formation.

Normal procedure for RW jumps was for all jumpers to break apart at 3,500 feet and track away from the formation for maximum separation. Each would then “wave off” with his arms (signaling imminent deployment of his parachute), turn to look above to make sure no others were above him, then pull the rip cord.

“Three, two, one . . . go!”

The first four jumpers exited, then Chuck and I followed close behind. Upside down in a full-head dive and approaching terminal velocity, I smiled as I saw the sun setting for the second time that day. After streaking down to the others, my plan was to slam on the air brakes by throwing out my arms (we had fabric wings from wrists to hips that gave tremendous resistance when fully inflated at high speed) and aiming my jumpsuit’s bell-bottomed sleeves and pant legs straight into the oncoming air.

But I never had the chance.

Plummeting toward the formation, I saw that one of the new guys had come in too fast. Maybe falling rapidly between nearby clouds had him a little spooked—it reminded him that he was moving about two hundred feet per second toward that giant planet below, partially shrouded in the gathering darkness. Rather than slowly joining the edge of the formation, he’d barreled in and knocked everybody loose. Now all five other jumpers were tumbling out of control.

They were also much too close together. A skydiver leaves a super-turbulent stream of low-pressure air behind him. If a jumper gets into that trail, he instantly speeds up and can crash into the person below him. That, in turn, can make both jumpers accelerate and slam into anyone who might be below them. In short, it’s a recipe for disaster.

I angled my body and tracked away from the group to avoid the tumbling mess. I maneuvered until I was falling right over “the spot,” a magical point on the ground above which we were to open our parachutes for the leisurely two-minute descent.

I looked over and was relieved to see that the disoriented jumpers were now also tracking away from each other, dispersing the deadly clump.

Chuck was there among them. To my surprise, he was coming straight in my direction. He stopped directly beneath me. With all of the group’s tumbling, we were passing through 2,000 feet elevation more quickly than Chuck had anticipated. Maybe he thought he was lucky and didn’t have to follow the rules—exactly.

He must not see me. The thought barely had time to go through my head before Chuck’s colorful pilot chute blossomed out of his backpack. His pilot chute caught the 120-mph breeze coming around him and shot straight toward me, pulling his main parachute in its sleeve right behind it.

From the instant I saw Chuck’s pilot chute emerge, I had a fraction of a second to react. For it would take less than a second to tumble through his deploying main parachute, and—quite likely—right into Chuck himself. At that speed, if I hit his arm or his leg I would take it right off, dealing myself a fatal blow in the process. If I hit him directly, both our bodies would essentially explode.

People say things move more slowly in situations like this, and they’re right. My mind watched the action in the microseconds that followed as if it were watching a movie in slow motion.

The instant I saw the pilot chute, my arms flew to my sides and I straightened my body into a head dive, bending ever so slightly at the hips. The verticality gave me increased speed, and the bend allowed my body to add first a little, then a blast of horizontal motion as my body became an efficient wing, sending me zipping past Chuck just in front of his colorful blossoming Para-Commander parachute.

I passed him going at over 150 miles per hour, or 220 feet per second. Given that speed, I doubt he saw the expression on my face. But if he had, he would have seen a look of sheer astonishment. Somehow I had reacted in microseconds to a situation that, had I actually had time to think about it, would have been much too complex for me to deal with.

And yet . . . I had dealt with it, and we both landed safely. It was as if, presented with a situation that required more than its usual ability to respond, my brain had become, for a moment, superpowered.

How had I done it? Over the course of my twenty-plus-year career in academic neurosurgery—of studying the brain, observing how it works, and operating on it—I have had plenty of opportunities to ponder this very question. I finally chalked it up to the fact that the brain is truly an extraordinary device: more extraordinary than we can even guess.

I realize now that the real answer to that question is much more profound. But I had to go through a complete metamorphosis of my life and worldview to glimpse that answer. This book is about the events that changed my mind on the matter. They convinced me that, as marvelous a mechanism as the brain is, it was not my brain that saved my life that day at all. What sprang into action the second Chuck’s chute started to open was another, much deeper part of me. A part that could move so fast because it was not stuck in time at all, the way the brain and body are.

This was the same part of me, in fact, that had made me so homesick for the skies as a kid. It’s not only the smartest part of us, but the deepest part as well, yet for most of my adult life I was unable to believe in it.

But I do believe now, and the pages that follow will tell you why.

I’m a neurosurgeon.

I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1976 with a major in chemistry and earned my M.D. at Duke University Medical School in 1980. During my eleven years of medical school and residency training at Duke as well as Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard, I focused on neuroendocrinology, the study of the interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine system—the series of glands that release the hormones that direct most of your body’s activities. I also spent two of those eleven years investigating how blood vessels in one area of the brain react pathologically when there is bleeding into it from an aneurysm—a syndrome known as cerebral vasospasm.

After completing a fellowship in cerebrovascular neurosurgery in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom, I spent fifteen years on the faculty of Harvard Medical School as an associate professor of surgery, with a specialization in neurosurgery. During those years I operated on countless patients, many of them with severe, life-threatening brain conditions.

Most of my research work involved the development of advanced technical procedures like stereotactic radiosurgery, a technique that allows surgeons to precisely guide beams of radiation to specific targets deep in the brain without affecting adjacent areas. I also helped develop magnetic resonance image–guided neurosurgical procedures instrumental in repairing hard-to-treat brain conditions like tumors and vascular disorders. During those years I also authored or coauthored more than 150 chapters and papers for peer-reviewed medical journals and presented my findings at more than two hundred medical conferences around the world.

In short, I devoted myself to science. Using the tools of modern medicine to help and to heal people, and to learn more about the workings of the human body and brain, was my life’s calling. I felt immeasurably lucky to have found it. More important, I had a beautiful wife and two lovely children, and while I was in many ways married to my work, I did not neglect my family, which I considered the other great blessing in my life. On many counts I was a very lucky man, and I knew it.

On November 10, 2008, however, at age fifty-four, my luck seemed to run out. I was struck by a rare illness and thrown into a coma for seven days. During that time, my entire neocortex—the outer surface of the brain, the part that makes us human—was shut down. Inoperative. In essence, absent.

When your brain is absent, you are absent, too. As a neurosurgeon, I’d heard many stories over the years of people who had strange experiences, usually after suffering cardiac arrest: stories of traveling to mysterious, wonderful landscapes; of talking to dead relatives—even of meeting God Himself.

Wonderful stuff, no question. But all of it, in my opinion, was pure fantasy. What caused the otherworldly types of experiences that such people so often report? I didn’t claim to know, but I did know that they were brain-based. All of consciousness is. If you don’t have a working brain, you can’t be conscious.

This is because the brain is the machine that produces consciousness in the first place. When the machine breaks down, consciousness stops. As vastly complicated and mysterious as the actual mechanics of brain processes are, in essence the matter is as simple as that. Pull the plug and the TV goes dead. The show is over, no matter how much you might have been enjoying it.

Or so I would have told you before my own brain crashed.

During my coma my brain wasn’t working improperly—it wasn’t working at all. I now believe that this might have been what was responsible for the depth and intensity of the near-death experience (NDE) that I myself underwent during it. Many of the NDEs reported happen when a person’s heart has shut down for a while. In those cases, the neocortex is temporarily inactivated, but generally not too damaged, provided that the flow of oxygenated blood is restored through cardiopulmonary resuscitation or reactivation of cardiac function within four minutes or so. But in my case, the neocortex was out of the picture. I was encountering the reality of a world of consciousness that existed completely free of the limitations of my physical brain.

Mine was in some ways a perfect storm of near-death experiences. As a practicing neurosurgeon with decades of research and hands-on work in the operating room behind me, I was in a better-than-average position to judge not only the reality but also the implications of what happened to me.

Those implications are tremendous beyond description. My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness, that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us and about where the universe itself and all the beings within it are ultimately going.

The place I went was real. Real in a way that makes the life we’re living here and now completely dreamlike by comparison. This doesn’t mean I don’t value the life I’m living now, however. In fact, I value it more than I ever did before. I do so because I now see it in its true context.

This life isn’t meaningless. But we can’t see that fact from here—at least most of the time. What happened to me while I was in that coma is hands-down the most important story I will ever tell. But it’s a tricky story to tell because it is so foreign to ordinary understanding. I can’t simply shout it from the rooftops. At the same time, my conclusions are based on a medical analysis of my experience, and on my familiarity with the most advanced concepts in brain science and consciousness studies. Once I realized the truth behind my journey, I knew I had to tell it. Doing so properly has become the chief task of my life.

That’s not to say I’ve abandoned my medical work and my life as a neurosurgeon. But now that I have been privileged to understand that our life does not end with the death of the body or the brain, I see it as my duty, my calling, to tell people about what I saw beyond the body and beyond this earth. I am especially eager to tell my story to the people who might have heard stories similar to mine before and wanted to believe them, but had not been able to fully do so.

It is to these people, more than any other, that I direct this book, and the message within it. What I have to tell you is as important as anything anyone will ever tell you, and it’s true.

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Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife 3.8 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 766 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a physician and NDE researcher, I highly recommend this book. Dr. Alexander's book, like Dr. Mary Neal's book, "To Heaven and Back," includes the important elements of an NDE, including recognition of being in a different dimension, meetings with unusual beings, feelings of being accepted and welcomed, and a realization that we are all part of the universe, and carry divine universality in us at all times. Dr. Alexander includes his own research in this great book, conducted after his NDE, where he shows how he is working through the many questions that his experience engendered. His book also shows how he, as a physician, had to let go of engrained thinking about the possibility of NDEs and his colleagues skeptical views of NDE, after surviving his own NDE. A masterful book, beautifully written, and sure to become a classic of true NDE literature. Recommended for all who really want to learn about a true NDE, and about current scientific thinking about NDEs and the directions that NDE research is taking. It is wonderful that, like Dr. Neal, Dr. Alexander does not focus on "religion" in the books. It is interesting to note that the survivors of NDEs do not usually focus on religion as being important. Instead, based on years of talking to them, survivors of true NDEs have moved beyond religion to focus on compassion and humanity, as they have report that there is no religion in the afterlife, but there is a higher consciousness that we are all one, and that goodness and light live in the community of universal consciousness, which erases the people-made divisions of "religion." Please note that to date, no survivor of a true NDE has returned to promote only their religion, or to become hysterical if someone dies and is not a member of that same religion. Survivors of a true NDE report the opposite, and that we are all important in the afterlife, with an emphasis on the divinity found in all of us. Anyone using a story of NDE phenomena to promote their personal view of religion is being misleading, as that is simply marketing with a view to making money, and not truthful reporting of an NDE to increase knowledge and respect for all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book! Dr. Alexander's story is gripping. I started reading the book last night, and it was very difficult to stop! His writing makes reading almost effortless, and he tells his story as if he were there talking to me. The scientific information is written so that it is very easly understood. I'm very much looking forward to reading the rest of the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a nurse, so I was able to follow alot of the physiology and the medical challenges Dr. Alexander use to describe his experience. For me, what was most compelling about this book is recognizing how difficult this was to write in light of the fact Dr. Alexander had spent a lifetime substantiating findings with facts; then having only his word to tell others about this incredible experience. This book makes me want to know more about this God that Dr. Alexander now knows so intimately. I came away a little envious of the experience - how absolutely blessed he was to get this opportunity. Thank you Dr. Alexander for sharing this experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been studying quantum mechanics for a while, and this book is right on. I would venture to say, life changing. And if you've ever suffered a great loss, this book will give you great comfort.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a nice read for those that cling to the idea that nde's are brain chemistry at work and scoff at the idea of life after death. Clearly the authors brain was gone... yet they still scoff and deny. I was hoping to read more about his nde experience but the book was written to try to inform "scientific" types that nde's are real...too much talk about his illness and family....not enough about what he experienced beyond. I was expecting more but understand why he did so... I am always amazed how some are so big inside that they can't see beyond themselves. They close themselves off to possibilities beyond man and his ideas....this is a good book for those very people at least entertain the idea that the universe is beyond the human mind and always will be ... man's science flip flops constantly...God does not. The scientists cant cure the common cold but decided that nde are all in the mind...i wonder what fool or group of fools decided to put that into the textbooks. Tg for people that are willing to go against the crowd or we would still be living on a flat earth ..this author did a fine and honest job of telling what he learned ...outside of man's ever changing, flawed textbooks..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't wait to read this book. Being a medical practicioner myself, I was excited that the author was a practicing neurosurgeon who, by his own admission was lacking in faith. What I expected was a convincing monologue on why he could really prove the existance of an afterlife. What I got, instead, was a treatise on meningitis and ICU psychosis along with a life's history and confessions of insecurity about being put up for adoption by parents who later married and had other children. Dr. Alexander's description of heaven was minimal, inadequate and bizarre. Don't waste your money.
karenmariehart More than 1 year ago
The only thing that stopped me reading was the need to wipe my eyes. My tears were blurring my vision. Though—especially if you are in the medical profession—you still might not believe in heaven, I don't think it's possible for anyone to read this book and not believe in love.
SteveJ54 More than 1 year ago
From the reviews I thought this book would be controversial, but I found it to be highly enjoyable. I guess some people know exactly how "heaven" is "supposed" to be... I thought this book was both thought provoking and well written, and I would recommend it to others who choose to live with a scientific, and ever expanding, open mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of this book only to be disapponted after reading it. If i wanted to know so much about mengitis we would not have bought it but we wanted to know about his out of body experience to heaven, not much of that in this book. Most of the contents of the book is the index which relates to the books the author read before publishing his own. Many of those books offer a farther in depth view of what proof there is of heaven than this book leads me to believe. If you want an autobiography of a neurosurgeon's life who was adopted and survived a deadly disease, this for you. I would suggest other books for stronger proof that heaven is for real.
bettysunflower More than 1 year ago
A truely remarkable book written by a remarkable man. Dr. Alexander is a highly educated and respected Neurosurgeon and as such his thought process is based in scientific fact. His story is amazing and miraculous to say the least. He presents his experiences through a Doctor's scientistific eyes and does it so that the average person understands and can believe. He is able to present the vastness of the universe and the connectedness of all that it entails. His book is truely his testament and answers some of life's greatest questions. *This was a GoodReads win
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating story....all true....of a physician's journey from near-death, back to life and the amazing trip and experience that it was for him. I am also a physician and while from the standpoint of 'facts,' 'proof,' and 'truth' the story does not have the usual scientific credibility and validity that any scientist would demand, still the story is compelling. I have been involved in acute care in the hospital setting for many years and have seen many things over that time that made no scientific sense to me. I believe in things that I cannot necessarily see, feel and prove. There remains much that we do not know. I have had personal experiences that make me except Dr. Alexander's 'proof' of different worlds, habitats, and environments that our souls or spirits may experience. Said another way, we most often think of this sort of thing as we human beings have a spiritual experience. Perhaps it is more correct to say that we are all spirits who are having temporary experience as a human being.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exciting but only for the open minded If you are a searcher you will be fascinated and uplifted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet story of unconditional love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will get the most out of it if you read it with an open mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Those who really want to believe will believe. Those who do not, will not. And all of these reviews are just that, the result of open or closed minds. I don't necessarily believe Dr. Alexander's story, but I do believe that people either want to believe in God or they don't. These reviews demonstrate nothing more than that.
reneesarah More than 1 year ago
Dr. Alexander's "proof" is a self-report of a mystical experience he had. To believe that what he says if "proof of heaven" you have to believe that his self-report is true. The self-reported events occurred while he was unconscious in the hospital, and when he awakened from that unconsciousness he experienced a kind of "ICU psychosis" that he eventually recovered from. Additionally, he states that his NDE (near death experience) was more profound that anyone else has ever had. Exactly how could he know that? What he has to say could have been said concisely in one chapter, but he has added enough fluff to make a book out of it. He notes that he is still gaining additional understanding of his profound experience, so I am guessing that there will be another book with more supposed insights. I am both a spiritual and cynical person, and I am not convinced that this is not just another attempt to make money by feeding on people's fear of death and sense of unknowing about what does or doesn't happen after we die.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This, is an awesome book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What sets this book apart is the fact that Dr. Alexander is a neurosurgeon with great knowledge of what makes up consciousness. The parts of his brain that would create experiences like he underwent (such as in a dream state) were not functional at the time he experienced them. He is also a man of science and a skeptic, who changed his views completely after experiencing this. This transformation is interesting and notable. His descriptions of heaven are vivid, uplifting, and fascinating. Dr. Eben Alexander, a prominent neurosurgeon at Harvard University, has written a fascinating book about his near-death experience. At the age of 54, he contracted a severe form of E. Coli meningitis, which aggressively attacked his cortex, or the portion of the brain that supplies conscious, rational thought. He slipped into a coma, but instead of experiencing nothing, like in deep sleep, Dr. Alexander describes a journey to heaven. It helps explain on a deeper level why it was so painful for Jesus to be separated from God even if only for a short while. That once you have been there you realize that while life in this realm(earthly)is precious, what is ahead is so much better. That we realize the fear of this new place or what happens next is completely unfounded. Sort of like a child's first day of the afternoon most love what they initially feared and never look back to the time before as "better". 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.       
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I expected this book to be inspirational. Instead it was egotistical. Perhaps this "NDE" would have been better as a short story. The author spent too much time talking about himself and his family in a way that was unjustified in his near death experience. What was most embarassing to read was the almost competitiveness in which the author claimed his experience was "real" compared to anything else out there. He  even wrote that he was the exception to all other  experiences because he had such an unusual medical experience. Instead of justifying his case, he came off as unapproachable and egoistic. I'm sorry this story had to be told in such a way. Not a recommendation of mine. "Life after Life" and "The Light Beyond" are writing in a much less self-serving way for the public. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Om?? REALLY? Reading and verifying Dr.Eben's account* reveal 3 facts. #1. He died #2. Heaven is NOT where Dr.Eben went. #3. There is an afterlife *Read "Decieved by the Light"
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
When Dr. Eben Alexander, M.D. went to bed On 9 November 2008 his back was achy, when he awoke the next morning at 4:30, the pain was severe.  By 9:30 of that morning he was in a coma.  What began as a small discomfort was the early onset of a deadly disease.   When an otherwise healthy individual contracts spontaneous E. coli bacterial meningitis (a 1 in 10,000,000 occurrence), spends seven days in a coma and fully recovers (90% of the individuals who suffer this malady die, the remaining 10% remain in a sustained vegetative state), “miracle” is the only fitting term.   The fact of his survival remains unprecedented in the annals of Medical Journals.  What is most remarkable, however, was what he experienced while in the coma.  Dr. Alexander is convinced that he spent those seven days in a place “more real” and  “more beautiful,” where he learned without limits or filters of matters that will take him “the rest of his life to sort out,” and which he understood Love is the core of the universe; he visited what is commonly called “Heaven.”   His difficulty in describing exactly what he saw was a matter of limited speech. (How does one describe chocolate to one whom has never tasted that treat?  How to relate the vastness of the Grand Canyon to someone who has never seen a valley?  These are the difficulties Dr. Alexander faces in trying to relate his experience.)  He possesses the intelligence, the vocabulary and the ability to relate difficult concepts clearly (he has been a medical researcher and neurosurgeon for over 25 years) yet he is greatly limited to the use of inadequate tools to detail the glories he saw.  The description he was able to present caused my heart to race – THAT is how magnificent what he saw was.   After he recovered he researched Near Death Experiences, a field of rich documentation, spanning decades and multiple cultural strata, that he has ignored because he “knew the about NDEs without caring about the facts.”  The last 50 pages of the text are devoted to his speaking of the medical validation of his experience.  As a skeptical scientist, he knows the difficulty before him as he speaks to his fellow scientists of what he learned.  He argues a strong case.  As a therapist, I was skeptical of many of the events/details Dr. Alexander posits in this book.  His was a VERY sick brain, under unimaginable stress.  I have seen what that organ can make up when people are under far less stress.  His ending the book addressing many of the questions I pondered was a help.  His brain, according to his illness, was not stressed, the parts of his brain that “caused” him to be human “WERE OFF LINE,” they were unavailable to create hallucinations/dreams/logic.  In other words, he was not capable of making up the elaborate events during his illness. As a Theologian, much of what he said resonated deeply within me.  His speaking of all things being connected, of his “being a part of all there is,” reminded me of some of the profound Spiritual moments in my life.  I want to believe there is a place where my Grandfather Stonecypher can hear, where my Mom-by-Marriage can remember my name, where my Uncle Ted can see.   A place, as the old hymn states, “of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.”   A home where the greeting is, as it was for Dr. Alexander: “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.” “You have nothing to fear.” “There is nothing you can do wrong.” (p.41) That is the message of hope upon which my theology stands.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was not a biblical account but a personal account of what Dr. Eben Alexander experienced. If you are looking for a by the numbers book( based on scripture) this isn't it. It is well written and thought provoking. It left me feeling like he shared an intimate part of his spiritual experience and I appreciated every minute of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I started this book I was fascinated by the three different plots of the book: the illness itself, how his family coped during the experience, and then his experience in the coma. I did notice some differences between his views of heaven and my religious experience, but it didn't take away from the overall message of the book. This novel combines religion and science without forcing any kind of opinion upon the reader. Definitely a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to believe, I did. The whole book felt fake and contrived. It feels like it was written by someone who knew it would be an easy sell to suckers like me who are skeptical but want to believe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read from an unusual perspective. What makes this story even more unusual is that the author seems to have made it his new calling -giving talks and setting up a web site. I don't know about all the other reviews but I for one would never doubt what someone else had experienced. The author and other writers had said that heaven cannot be put into words or described in mortal terms. That for me hints at something more than our physical world. There are no experts only people of faith who don't choose to know who's experience is real.