Excerpts: ‘The Map of Heaven’ by NDEr Dr. Eben Alexander

Excerpts: ‘The Map of Heaven’ by NDEr Dr. Eben Alexander

Oct 21



What heaven’s really like – by a leading brain surgeon who says he’s been there: Read his testimony before you scoff…it might just shake your beliefs
By Dr. Eben Alexander
Daily Mail
October 17, 2014

Original Link

Extracted from:

The Map of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon Explores the Mysteries of the Afterlife & The Truth About What Lies Beyond
By Dr. Eben Alexander

Map-of-hreaven-smWhen I was a small boy, I was adopted. I grew up remembering nothing of my birth family and unaware that I had a biological sister, named Betsy. Many years later, I went in search of my biological family, but for Betsy it was too late: she had died.

This is the story of how I was reunited with her — in Heaven.

Before I start, I should explain that I am a scientist, who has spent a lifetime studying the workings of the brain.

My adoptive father was a neurosurgeon and I followed his path, becoming an neurosurgeon myself and an academic who taught brain science at Harvard Medical School. Although nominally a Christian, I was sceptical when patients described spiritual experiences to me.

My knowledge of the brain made me quite sure that out-of-body experiences, angelic encounters and the like were hallucinations, brought on when the brain suffered a trauma.

And then, in the most dramatic circumstances possible, I discovered proof that I was wrong. Six years ago, I woke up one morning with a searing headache. Within a few hours, I went into a coma: my neocortex, the part of the brain that handles all the thought processes making us human, had shut down completely.

At the time, I was working at Lynchburg General Hospital in Virginia, and I was rushed to the emergency room there. The doctors ascertained that I had contracted meningitis — a rare bacterial strain of E coli was in my spinal fluid and eating into my brain like acid. My survival chances were near zero.

I was in deep coma, a vegetative state, and all the higher functions of my brain were offline. Scans showed no conscious activity whatever — my brain was not malfunctioning, it was completely unplugged.

But my inner self still existed, in defiance of all the known laws of science.

For seven days, as I lay in that unresponsive coma, my consciousness went on a voyage through a series of realms, each one more extraordinary than the last — a journey beyond the physical world and one that, until then, I would certainly have dismissed as impossible.

For thousands of years, ordinary people as well as shamans and mystics have described brief, wonderful glimpses of ethereal realms. I’m not the first person to have discovered that consciousness exists beyond the body.

What is unique in my case is that I am, as far as scientific records show, the only person to have travelled to this heavenly dimension with the cortex in complete shut-down, while under minute observation throughout.

There are medical records for every minute of my coma, and none of them show any indication of brain activity. In other words, as far as neuroscience can say, my journey was not something happening inside my head.

Plenty of scientists have a lot of difficulty with this statement. My experience undermines their whole belief system. But the one place I have found ready acceptance is in church, where my story often tallies with people’s expectations.

Even the deep notes of the church organ and the glorious colours of the stained glass seem to echo faintly the sights and sounds of Heaven.

Here, then, is what I experienced: my map of Heaven.

After the blinding headache, when I had slipped into the coma, I gradually became aware of being in a primitive, primordial state that felt like being buried in earth.

It was, however, not ordinary earth, for all around me I sensed, and sometimes heard and saw, other entities.

It was partly horrific, partly comforting and familiar: I felt like I had always been part of this primal murk.

I am often asked, ‘Was this hell?’ but I don’t think it was — I would expect hell to be at least a little bit interactive, and this was a completely passive experience.

I had forgotten what it was even to be human, but one important part of my personality was still hard at work: I had a sense of curiosity. I would ask, ‘Who? What? Where?’ and there was never a flicker of response.

After an expanse of time had passed, though I can’t begin to guess how long, a light came slowly down from above, throwing off marvellous filaments of living silver and golden effulgence.

It was a circular entity, emitting a beautiful, heavenly music that I called the Spinning Melody. The light opened up like a rip in the fabric of that coarse realm, and I felt myself going through the rip, up into a valley full of lush and fertile greenery, where waterfalls flowed into crystal pools.

There were clouds, like marshmallow puffs of pink and white. Behind them, the sky was a rich blue-black.

This world was not vague. It was deeply, piercingly alive, and as vivid as the aroma of fried chicken, as dazzling as the glint of sunlight off the metalwork of a car, and as startling as the impact of first love.

I know perfectly well how crazy my account sounds, and I sympathise with those who cannot accept it. Like a lot of things in life, it sounds pretty far-fetched till you experience it yourself.

There were trees, fields, animals and people. There was water, too, flowing in rivers or descending as rain. Mists rose from the pulsing surfaces of these waters, and fish glided beneath them.

Like the earth, the water was deeply familiar. It was as though all the most beautiful waterscapes I ever saw on earth had been beautiful precisely because they were reminding me of this living water. My gaze wanted to travel into it, deeper and deeper.

This water seemed higher, and more pure than anything I had experienced before, as if it was somehow closer to the original source.

I had stood and admired oceans and rivers across America, from Carolina beaches to west coast streams, but suddenly they all seemed to be lesser versions, little brothers and sisters of this living water.

That’s not to denigrate the seas and lakes and thunderstorms that I’ve marvelled at throughout my life. It is simply to say that I now see all the earth’s waters in a new perspective, just as I see all natural beauties in a new way.

In Heaven, everything is more real — less dense, yet at the same time more intense.

Heaven is as vast, various and populated as earth is … in fact, infinitely more so. But in all this vast variety, there is not that sense of otherness that characterises our world, where each thing is alone by itself and has nothing directly to do with the other things around it.

Nothing is isolated in Heaven. Nothing is alienated. Nothing is disconnected. Everything is one.

I found myself as a speck of awareness on a butterfly wing, among pulsing swarms of millions of other butterflies. I witnessed stunning blue-black velvety skies filled with swooping orbs of golden light, angelic choirs leaving sparkling trails against the billowing clouds.

Those choirs produced hymns and anthems far beyond anything I had ever encountered on earth. The sound was colossal: an echoing chant that seemed to soak me without making me wet.

All my senses had blended. Seeing and hearing were not separate functions. It was as if I could hear the grace and elegance of the airborne creatures, and see the spectacular music that burst out of them.

Even before I began to wonder who or what they were, I understood that they made the music because they could not contain it. It was the sound of sheer joy. They could no more hold it in than you could fill your lungs and never breathe out.

Simply to experience the music was to join in with it. That was the oneness of Heaven — to hear a sound was to be part of it. Everything was connected to everything else, like the infinitely complex swirls on a Persian carpet or a butterfly’s wing. And I was flying on that carpet, riding on that wing.

Above the sky, there was a vast array of larger universes that I came to call an ‘over-sphere’, and I ascended until I reached the Core, that deepest sanctuary of the Divine — infinite inky blackness, filled to overflowing with indescribable, unconditional love.

There I encountered the infinitely powerful, all-knowing deity whom I later called Om, because of the sound that vibrated through that realm. I learned lessons there of a depth and beauty entirely beyond my capacity to explain.

During this voyage, I had a guide. She was an extraordinarily beautiful woman who first appeared as I rode, as that speck of awareness, on the wing of that butterfly.

I’d never seen this woman before. I didn’t know who she was. Yet her presence was enough to heal my heart, to make me whole in a way I’d never known was possible. Her face was unforgettable. Her eyes were deep blue, and her cheekbones were high. Her face was surrounded by a frame of honey-brown hair.

She wore a smock, like a peasant’s, woven from sheer colour — indigo, powder-blue and pastel shades of orange and peach. When she looked at me, I felt such an abundance of emotion that, if nothing good had ever happened to me before, the whole of my life would have been worth living for that expression in her eyes alone.

It was not romantic love. It was not friendship. It was far beyond all the different compartments of love we have on earth. Without actually speaking, she let me know that I was loved and cared for beyond measure and that the universe was a vaster, better, and more beautiful place than I could ever have dreamed.

I was an irreplaceable part of the whole (like all of us), and all the sadness and fear I had ever suffered was a result of my somehow having forgotten this most central of facts.

Her message went through me like a breath of wind. It’s hard to put it into words, but the essence was this: ‘You are loved and cherished, dearly, for ever. You have nothing to fear. There is nothing you can do wrong.’

It was, then, an utterly wonderful experience.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, I had been in my coma for seven days and showing no signs of improvement. The doctors were just deciding whether to continue with life support, when I suddenly regained consciousness. My eyes just popped open, and I was back. I had no memories of my earthly life, but knew full well where I had been.

I had to relearn everything: who, what, and where I was. Over days, then weeks, like a gently falling snow, my old, earthly knowledge came back.

Words and language returned within hours and days. With the love and gentle coaxing of my family and friends, other memories emerged.

By eight weeks, my prior knowledge of science, including the experiences and learning from more than two decades spent as a neurosurgeon in teaching hospitals, returned completely. That full recovery remains a miracle without any explanation from modern medicine.

But I was a different person from the one I had been. The things I had seen and experienced while gone from my body did not fade away, as dreams and hallucinations do. They stayed.

Above all, that image of the woman on the butterfly wing haunted me.

And then, four months after coming out of my coma, I received a picture in the mail.

As a result of my earlier investigations to make contact with my biological family, a relative had sent me a photograph of my sister Betsy — the sister I’d never known.

The shock of recognition was total. This was the face of the woman on the butterfly wing.

The moment I realised this, something crystallised inside me.

That photo was the confirmation that I’d needed. This was proof, beyond reproach, of the objective reality of my experience.

From then on, I was back in the old, earthly world I’d left behind before my coma struck, but as a genuinely new person.

I had been reborn.

And as I shall reveal on Monday, I am by no means the only one to have glimpsed the afterlife — and the wonders it holds.


Are these glimpses of the after-life? Top brain surgeon who claims he saw heaven while in a coma reveals the stories of others who say they have had similar life-changing experiences
By Dr. Eben Alexander
Daily Mail
October 19, 2014

Original Link

Adapted from:

The Map of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon Explores the Mysteries of the Afterlife & The Truth About What Lies Beyond
By Dr. Eben Alexander

Map-of-hreaven-smA near-death experience will change your life in more ways than one. It means you have survived a serious illness or a major accident, for one thing, and that alone is one of the most significant events imaginable.

But the aftermath, as you adjust to your radical new perspective, can be even more significant. For me, it was as if my old world was dead and I had been reborn into a new one.

Coping with that is hard: how do you replace your old vision of the universe with a new one, without unravelling into chaos?

How do you take that step from one world to another one, without slipping and falling between the two?

So many people are going through similar versions of what I went through, and the stories I have heard from other near-death experience witnesses give me courage every day. They are a constant corroboration of everything that was revealed to me — how we are loved and cherished much more than we can imagine, how we have nothing to fear and nothing to reproach ourselves for.

If you have never seen yourself as a spiritual person, and perhaps did not even believe in God, this new dimension to your understanding has an even greater impact.

A man named Pascale wrote to tell me about his father, who had a PhD in astrophysics and was ‘100 per cent scientifically minded’ — in other words, a complete atheist.

Pascale’s dad (we’ll call him Pierre) was a heavy drinker. He’d suffered a succession of emotional blows, and he used hard drink to numb the pain — so much that his organs started one by one to pack up. Kidneys, liver and then lungs gave way, and Pierre succumbed to double pneumonia.

He was not expected to live, but to give his body the best chance of repairing itself, the doctors placed him in an induced coma.

After three months in intensive care, he started to come round — and all this hard-headed scientific man wanted to talk about with his son were his experiences of heaven.

He had seen the after-life, just as I did. And he brought back the same message: there were angel-like beings who loved us more than we could imagine, and they would help us, if only we would let them.

Pierre faced a major challenge. He could never drink again. One glass would be enough to tip him back into alcohol abuse, and the end would be inevitable.

Somehow, he found the strength to beat his demons. For the next four years, Pierre didn’t touch a drop. But after his initial burst of spiritual fervour in the hospital, he stopped talking about heaven.

Pascale sensed that his dad, an intensely shy man, was embarrassed by the massive contradiction between the atheism he had always preached, and the heaven he had experienced during his coma. He found it easier to say nothing.

But he developed a quirky habit, which seemed to help him in his abstinence — in all the places where he might be tempted to relapse and have a drink, Pierre left Post-It notes. Every one was the same, with four cryptic letters written on it: GaHf.

Pierre would not say what the notes meant. All he would admit was that they helped him.

After four years, his heart gave out, and Pierre died. His son was deeply comforted by words his father had said in the hospital: ‘I’m not afraid of dying any more. I know it’ll be fine.’

After the funeral, as he collected up the Post-It notes, Pascale had a sudden insight. He knew what the letters GaHf meant, what his father was reminding himself . . . ‘Guardian angels. Have faith.’

Not every experience of heaven, and the change it brings, is so dramatic. After I first shared my story with others in public, I received a charming letter from a lady named Jane-Ann, who told me that she underwent surgery for a brain abcess in 1952, when she was eight years old, and that for two weeks after the operation she was in a coma.

Her mother was beside her bed when she awoke, and what Jane-Ann remembers clearly is the expression of deep concern on that beloved face. Simply and matter-of-factly, as only a child can, Jane-Ann explained that there had never been any reason to worry — she had been with her great-aunt Julie, sitting on her lap and being comforted.

Sixty years later, that image of her great-aunt was one of her clearest memories.

Sometimes, it is the death of a loved one that induces or inspires a near-death experience in us. A lady called Jean wrote to tell me what she had experienced when her mother died, in 1980.

On a Saturday afternoon, Jean was in her garden. She was due to fly to New York on the Monday, to visit her mother who was being treated for cancer in hospital, and who was not expected to live more than six months.

As she tended her flowers, Jean was suddenly overwhelmed by ‘a feeling of an unbelievable amount of love’. It passed through her, like a puff of air, and left her feeling exalted. As she stood wondering what she had just felt, the sensation travelled through her again, pervading every cell in her body.

No sooner had the feeling faded than it happened a third time. And suddenly, Jean understood what it meant. Her mother had died, and was telling her how much she loved her, as she departed this realm and embarked on her voyage through the next.

The feeling that Jean had initially thought was simply going through her had in fact enveloped and encompassed her, as only love can.

‘The feeling was like she was hugging me but going right through me. And every time she did this, I felt this supernatural, unbelievable, immeasurable amount of love.’

Jean went to sit by her phone in the house. She knew what would happen next, and within ten minutes it did: her sister phoned from New York, to tell her their mother had passed away.

As she wrote that letter, Jean told me she was crying — tears of joy, not of sadness. Ever since that moment in the garden, she has felt utterly safe and loved, confident that she will be reunited with her loved ones in heaven, and safe in the knowledge that death is nothing to be feared.

In fact, she confesses, she sometimes feels almost envious when people pass away.

One of the most extraordinary things about my own glimpse of heaven was that, back in this world, no one was aware of the transformation that I was undergoing. All the monitors and sensors and computers could detect no activity: my brain was flat-lining.

But sometimes, the eyes of those we love can see the change, as a sort of spiritual radiation.

A man called David experienced exactly that, when his father died. With his three siblings, he was sitting in a private room at a hospice where his dad had been for 13 days. They had kept a constant bedside vigil, and it was plain that the end was near.

At 4am, with the room in darkness except for a single night-light in the wall, their father took his last breath — and as he did, a speck of glowing dust seemed to settle on his temple. It was like a pinprick of gold.

No light was shining on the old man’s face, yet this particle of dust was vivid and luminous. As David watched, it began to swell into a pea-sized orb. Now it was a translucent blue, like the light underneath a candle flame. White rays sparkled from it.

The orb lifted, hovered, and then drifted across the room, still effervescing with sparks, until it disappeared through the ceiling. David followed it with his eyes, not daring to speak, until it was gone — and then he turned to one of his sisters. ‘Did you see that?’ he asked.

His sister said: ‘You mean that light that just came out of the side of Dad’s head?’

People ask themselves these questions all the time, when a loved one passes and something inexplicable, something beyond the purely physical, occurs. We know what we’ve seen, but we can’t quite bring ourselves to believe it, without corroboration from someone else: ‘Did you see that?’

Perhaps the most extraordinary story of a near-death experience was told to me by John, the son of a war veteran, who believes he accompanied his father on the first stage of his journey into heaven.

His dad was a fighter, an ex-prisoner of war who was clinging to life in his hospice bed despite having suffered a massive pulmonary embolism.

His breathing was very laboured, and John was kneeling at the bedside, holding his hand, with his ear close to his father’s chest — when suddenly, he was thrown into another dimension.

The scene was more vivid than any dream, he said: it was like being immersed in a 3D movie. His perspective was airborne, like a helicopter shot, and he was looking down at a rapid stream, flowing over rocks.

In the water, clinging on for dear life, was his dad. A golden glow began to spread across the water, like a celestial spotlight. In the middle of the light, a white canoe appeared, with a red paddle, floating quite still on the rushing water.

With a shout of excitement, his father let go of the rocks and began to swim for the canoe. Suddenly, he wasn’t a sick old man any more — he was an athlete, with the strength of a man in his 20s.

He leapt into the canoe, and John felt himself race down, like a camera zooming in, to ride behind his dad’s shoulder.

His father turned and gave him a look of such love and joy as he had never seen on his face before. And then the perspective changed again, and John was high in the sky, watching as the white canoe raced towards a jetty where dozens of people were waiting and cheering.

He recognised them all — family members, friends and war buddies of his father’s.

As the canoe docked, he saw his dad stand up and raise the paddle in a salute, grinning and almost beside himself with delight. Then he leapt ashore and disappeared into a huddle of embraces and back-slaps.

At that moment, John found himself back at the bedside. His father’s heart had stopped.

‘This experience was transformative, a gift from my dad I could not repay,’ he wrote to me. ‘I can actually feel myself glowing when I tell this story!’

New knowledge like this changes us for ever. It must do — that is its purpose. We evolve into someone fresh.

That’s what happened to me after my near-death experience, and to every one of the people in these stories.



New Book: ‘The Map of Heaven’
NDE Stories on Dr. Eben Alexander

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• The Light & The Life Review (v4.4)
• The Essence of Near-Death Experiences (In 8.5 Minutes)
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• When Loved Ones & Friends Pass From This World To The Next
• NDE Stories
• NHNE’s Collection of NDE Testimonials – Archive One
• NHNE’s Collection of NDE Testimonials – Archive Two
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