Science, Spirituality and Shameless Self-Promotion

Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 | 2 comments

Eben Alexander is the neurosurgeon who wrote “Proof of Heaven,” an account of his voyage into the afterlife during a near-death experience. He seems more credible than your average run-of-the-mill former dead person, and I found his book intriguing.  So when I heard that he was speaking in Seattle at East-West Bookshop, I felt compelled to attend. I have to tell you that, when I walked into the large auditorium, I was surprised to see a few hundred people in the audience—both men and women—and they were all my age or older.  Proof that the older we get, the more we get it.    He started the lecture by telling the story of how he woke up one morning with a bad headache and within three hours was in a coma.  He had contracted e coli bacterial meningitis—which is usually fatal—and it completely shut down the part of the brain that controls thought and emotion.  While he was in the coma he had a fantastic excursion into heaven.  No while-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel for this guy.  After seven days, as his doctors were about to stop treatment, his eyes popped open. He had come back.  Read the book.  It’s pretty compelling. His lecture then became a combination of spirituality and science, and the science part sailed right over my head.  As I listened to his theories about consciousness and quantum physics, I kept hoping that either I would suddenly get smarter or he would dumb it down, but neither happened.  So I started to daydream.  Of course!  There’s nothing quite like a bewildering lecture to launch me into my own parallel universe.  But while I was out there in my happy place I was thunder-struck by the thought, “I have to give him a copy of Between!”  I don’t know why I thought he’d be at all interested, except for the death/near-death connection.  At the break I dashed out to my car and got a book, inscribed it and stuck a business card inside, and then held onto it while we did the half-hour meditation. Ah, the meditation.  Karen Newell of Sacred Acoustics guided us using sounds vibrating at specific hertz to generate different meditation experiences—like sounds of a spaceship to transport you into outer space.     When I heard the sound of a slow heartbeat, I immediately got a vision of my mother, which was really nice.  But my most intense reaction was an ache in the small of my back, which happens when I lie down flat on a hard floor.  At any rate, it provided a new path to an old place and it was well worth the backache.  When it was all over I sprinted to the front of the room and gave Dr. Alexander his personal copy of Between, telling him it converged with his experience.  He smiled at me kindly and said, “There are many things converging now,” took it and thanked me.  Perhaps nothing will come of it.  Perhaps my purpose in being there was to never, ever lie down on a hard floor again. It seems to me, however, that the convergence of that auditorium, the daydream, the backache, and my mother’s pretty face simply must result in something.  Watch this space.  I’ll tell you as soon as I find out just what it is....

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