(not) proof of heaven (for me)

OBE's, NDE's, lucid dreams, and the like...

(not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby smiileyjen101 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:39 am

SPOILER ALERT!!! Proof of Heaven - a Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, by Dr Eben Alexander MD
(to whom I am truly grateful he had, shared and is changed by his experience)

While it was lightly touched on in RT's topic- The Ultimate Joke!
this topic will (likely) provide spoilers for those who have not read Dr Eben Alexander's book 'Proof of Heaven', it (from my perspective) will play with the irony & humour that he mentions in his book, and in a 'funny-serious' way apply it to his book, and the conclusions he's outlined in finding proof for himself of Heaven as a ....what? exactly?

For those who have read the book I hope this can be a 'light' discussion area based on questions in it, and of it. One that need not separate to an extent of being at odds, the physical from the spiritual, or the science from the experience, or the evidence from the criticism, or the believing in and scepticism of, or all of these and all of our perspectives vice versa and whichever combination they fall or travel.

For those who haven't read the book, what you'll read here will be out of context and missing large elements of his perspective / experience and understanding of it, but that doesn't stop you asking or answering questions - remembering that it's without the wider perspective that includes his, if that makes sense. It is an easy read, his own personal journey with understandings from his perspective before, during and after this experience, and if you have an interest and an openness in enquiry I do recommend it as his perspectives.

Above all, I really like that he realised that when he thought he had been kindly, sceptical and scientific in his approach to such things prior to his own experience, afterwards he realised that many who believe them self to be scientifically sceptical are the reverse of actually questioning and examining - to question is to be open to, to examine is to take things seriously and to explore, to be sceptical in ridicule or non-consideration, or in shutting down perspectives, is not questioning, it's arrogant (okay the arrogant bit is my words, not his ;) arrogance believes it already has the only 'right' answer, ignorance doesn't even know it doesn't know, and true scepticism and agnosticism knows it does not know and is open to examining all perspectives on / of a thing.

It has shocked many here that I still do not know if my / his / others' nde's are 'proof' of life after death, or even more so whether clair ability accurate information sharing with those who are definitely dead in terms of the earthly physical body they once inhabited no longer being a viable vehicle - for me science doesn't have the answers yet, and yet, I still 'feel' that science is missing something, whether that something is physical, or spiritual, I don't know.

In essence he agrees, except that he seems to be leaning that his experience proved to him that 'heaven' exists after death - whatever that might be.

He says it thus -
(P132 after the event as he struggles with concepts and information in books, philosophies etc that had been there before his experience but that he'd never looked at before passing judgement on the experiences of others, even his own patients... and never realised how closed he had been to this body of knowledge that has been calling out for science to pay attention.)
.............. (I'm adding CAPS and other 'things' so folks don't get confused about what he's actually saying....)


Quite simply, I'd never held myself open to the idea that there MIGHT be anything genuine to the idea that SOMETHING survives the death of the body. I was the quintessential good-natured, albeit skeptical, doctor.
And as such I can tell you that most skeptics aren't really skeptics at all. To be truly skeptical one must examine something, and take it seriously. And I, like many doctors, had never taken the time to explore NDEs. I had simply "known' they were impossible.

:wink: irony/humour... a bit like he "knows" the parameters of most skeptics.


Another irony...seriously-funny / humorously-serious nuance after reading it, brave and honest and wonderful as his explanation of it is....
I'm (me, moi, I), having now read his book, am leaning even more towards 'human experience' than 'heaven experience' for an explanation, of his and my own experience - albeit most would have to have a serious rethink of what it is to be human and where/when/what it is we are 'being' within


... and that 'spoiler' part that Sighclone mentions in RT's topic, is an important part of that not being 'proof' that could not be explained another way, for me.

Not the only part, I've written notes and highlighted all over the book, with questions and comments, but while some may take it to be additional 'proof' for me it's an important part of not proving it ... in the respectful open-questioning scepticism that he asks for, with an understanding & empathy of how one makes parts of a puzzle 'fit' absolutely without any dishonourable intention. His explanation is one possibility, but through my own travels & experiences and balancing as a sceptic-psychic, through exploring perspectives of psychology & psychiatry and spirituality, I know of another that could be more rationally supported by his own musings :( - not that I would be happy to burst that particular bubble, but ... it's possible.

As with all things of this though, my open scepticism is still open, his knowledge + experience is a bonus to the field of both experience and the study of it, by the nuances of human perspective, it still raises more questions than it answers, even in the notion of how could he not know 'that bit' of it when he had 'access' to 'all knowledge' and awareness? albeit yes, some knowledge does seem to be 'veiled' from us in the unfolding of experience.

- but there are definitely parts within it that are 'remarkable' (not sensational, but as in worthy of remark)

and verifiable both in scientific & psychic terms - for me - his recall and known interaction with Susan Reintjes - her not being in the room physically but with his accuracy of his 'cognition' of her 'contacting' him on his fourth & fifth nights of the coma and being part of the 'party' bringing him back from that consciousness to this one. (for me that's a gazillion 'yum' even if it proves nothing either way) It gives credence to other studies of the like.

and the irony, seriously-innocently-funny in that the good doctor admits (yay!! for me, finally!!!!) the shortcomings of neuroscience currently, and misguided 'premise' in medicine and science generally in understanding this as an experience, and how prejudice through bias and unwillingness to be truly innocently, questioningly sceptical we miss things that can be right on the tip of our noses -

and then by the shortcomings of neuroscience he dismisses neurological possibilities that may possibly just not be fully understood by neuroscience correctly because of educational bias and pre-judice and unwillingness to discuss these things with 'laymen' who haven't been 'brainwashed' in fields of science or religion and how to think about them without question. (ahem, with sceptism)

eg: factor in our bias of what is basic and what is sophisticated in terms of our biology - a craftsman in love with his craft makes a complex thing look simple, an ego-problem driven person makes the simple look like a big drama, what if parts of our brain do the same and we've overlooked things in their processing capacity?

eg: factor in the pathways and understanding of savant abilities for information processing ala 'all knowledge' collapsed & life reviewing

eg: factor in Dr Jill's stroke - right brain takeover experience for the expansion of our oneness feeling,

eg; factor in the REALITY of accurate information sharing through clair abilities and empath ranges as picking up frequencies across multiple dimensions of 'now' if you eliminate time & space as finite etc etc
...

.................................................................................................................

What do you think? I do have quite a few pointed areas where the irony / humour of both 'arguments' and evidence & criticisms are ignited in / by things in this book and in wider fields of study, but I'm not a scientist, or an 'authority' so I'd love lots of other perspectives to join in and discuss - reasonably - things he raises, who knows where it could go.. for all we know it could become a discussion about the effects of adoption :lol:
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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby Webwanderer » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:43 pm

In such a discussion, I believe that it's important to make a distinction between 'proof' and 'evidence'. Proof is a conclusive assumption that is individual in nature. Proof to one is not necessarily proof to another, even among the supposedly scientifically literate. It depends on personal standards for what 'evidence' is conclusive enough to be deemed proof. Realistically, personal bias plays a large role in the assumption of proof.

Fingerprints on the murder weapon, for example, is evidence of contact of a specific individual to the weapon in question, but it is not necessarily proof of who the murderer is. Proof requires corresponding and supporting evidence. Again, how much corresponding evidence is necessary to be deemed proof is an individual matter.

It is common in discussions such as this for some to offer 'proof' when in reality it's only specified evidence that goes into a mix of what one personally considers convincing.

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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby runstrails » Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:22 pm

Hi Jen,
I've not read Alexander's book on his NDE so I can't discuss it specifically, but here are some of my current thoughts regarding NDE's.

If one realizes oneself as true non-dual, self-aware reality (or awareness), then the universe takes on a relative reality (an illusion or a virtual reality if you prefer that term). Sanskrit has a beautiful term for it, MithyA (i.e., neither real nor unreal). It's all Self/Source/Brahman appearing as different objects and experiences. So why is one experience less real than another, or requiring more proof?

In the end, your waking experience is no more real than your nightly dreams or an NDE or an experience in another dimension. They all have the same relative reality as they are all MithyA. You ultimately are the only true reality as Brahman (Self/Source).

So from the perspective of your true Self (to whom the human being and the world appears), an NDE requires no more proof as being real than your waking experience or your nightly dreams. It's just another experience, perhaps in another dimension. It's all your imagination in a way.
However, from the perspective of the human being, an NDE does require proof since its so outside of the typical normal human experience.

After awakening, one kind of experience does not seem any more fanciful than another. They are all possible and they are also all ultimately not real (MithyA).

So it all boils down to the age-old question: " Who are you ultimately?" "Who is ultimately witnessing the NDE?"
If Alexander thinks the NDE happened to Alexander, then I think he might continue to inquire further.



Sorry, I have to use Sanskrit words here since English does not have an established non-dual vocabulary.
http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/de ... mithyA.htm
http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/te ... profvk.htm
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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby smiileyjen101 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:36 pm

Thanks Webby & 'Trails,
I'll respond to Trails first - from what I could understand in the link on mithyA - for me, this is just perspective (?) and mastery is to recognise it in self and other/s as normal(?) and therefore not be too attached to one or another perspective of it, giving freedom to roam across all perspectives / experiences of the pure, for want of a better word. In a way, the outlining of scepticism - be it in questioning or holding space open for different perspectives, or experiencing different perspectives of a thing and/or being aware of different perspectives on a thing.

Trails said: So it all boils down to the age-old question: " Who are you ultimately?" "Who is ultimately witnessing the NDE?"
If Alexander thinks the NDE happened to Alexander then I think he might continue to inquire further.

This, ^ is pure funny!! in context of his book! He totally, unlike a lot of nde, totally lost any sense of person, or past or memory of life on earth etc in this sense he speaks of going 'deeper' than most, and struggles on a sensory level, which in equilibrium I understand, with the arrogance-humility of it.
But, I would do no justice to it here. I think you would make much sense of it, so I have to admit some unattached disappointment that you haven't read it, I'm 'missing' / was looking forward to, your input - for your mithyA if I'm using that correctly.
Key to it is his questions - in the experience and here - being answered with
You are loved and cherished.
You have nothing to fear.
There is nothing you can do wrong.

even though, there was no sense of 'you', and he says
If I had to boil this entire message down to one sentence, it would run this way
You are loved.
And if I had to boil down further, to just one word, it would (of course) be, simply:
Love.

And goes on to discuss that in terms of his different understanding of it now.

Explaining it neurologically though... that's the difficulty.
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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby smiileyjen101 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:37 am

Webby said: It is common in discussions such as this for some to offer 'proof' when in reality it's only specified evidence that goes into a mix of what one personally considers convincing.

Absolutely webby!! Both you (and others) sharing evidence, and Ashley (and others) sharing evidence here, have with both of your sharing, widened my perspective of the 'crime scene' so to speak, of my own and of others' experiences of this nature :wink:

What I've noticed, if people do hold open scepticism, is the indefinable resonance of what comes after such an experience.
His 'drive' to bring science and religion into awareness of their possible equilibrium and the elemental imbalance created by the lack of it; and his understanding that 'somehow' that was the 'purpose' and 'perfection' of his experience - he's only realising after the event, the perfection of it (and not unkindly, I had to giggle... I cannot tell you how many times in frustration I 'wished' this would happen to someone with exactly his credentials), of course in understanding the 'man' and his own 'demons', absolutely I hold compassion for him, and this unnameable collapsed emotion that the experience served the man, and humanity, so perfectly, as all of our experiences to some extent do, and these experiences in that are not different, if a little 'extreme' in terms of understanding the 'how'.

Those (like Anita) who come back healed and aware of self healing and self harming as the 'range' of energy creation, bringing health and dis-ease into equilibrium and wider understanding; those who do the same with suffering & compassion etc

Even though the 'situation' is gawd awful much of the time, the perfection of it is such that it brings one to a point of no argument against it - the 'gawd-awfulness', needed to happen in order for what follows to happen and while it is personally experienced, it's not personal, so in a sense it is creation-created, crimeless crime scene - and life can be seen in the same manner.

In lieu of consensus of 'what' and 'how' it, the experience is, it's this that is all but irrefutable, and you've noticed it yourself.
One of the 'remarkable' as in worthy of remark elements of his own experience and his way of being 'now', if skewed by perspective - in ego one might think it is ego based and base things on that, but with awareness of what it does do to people, in this 'self-less' way bringing things into being somewhat an instrument of being, in awareness
.... it adds the factor of frustration in the slowed down, 'crime' aspect and having to deal with it in this slowed down manner.

His having to 'reconcile' his NDE with his scientific understanding and 'knit those two people together'.
This is where free will sort of comes into it, as in no one and no thing is holding a gun to our head (and even if they were, what would we 'care' :wink:) although how could one survive healthily and not? One would have to deny..... deny life.

A big SPOILER here, in my perception, absolutely my perception with no awareness of his awareness of it... the point of the title Proof of Heaven is audacious and provocative and yes that irony-humour that his experience answered two questions - for him - righting two big 'sins' off-the-mark beliefs that he had that created his own suffering in his own life, and were at odds with his professional understandings; and furthermore in order to respond to his calling to heal - as a practitioner in science, he would have to be a willing instrument - in being audacious and provocative - against his own humility and 'good naturedness'.

An honest to goodness knowing he is being a willing instrument in knowing that he doesn't have the 'proof' that he himself would have based his scientific principles, and methods of healing, on. But, that it provided the proof for him to 'correct' all that had him suffering prior to the experience, including his blindness to his own unscientific approach to such things as he experienced.

It's perfect!!
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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby smiileyjen101 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:21 am

'trails said: After awakening, one kind of experience does not seem any more fanciful than another. They are all possible and they are also all ultimately not real (MithyA).

So how does one work within the constraints of 'scientific evidence' with this?

....

Webby said: Proof requires corresponding and supporting evidence.

What do you (as a detective I mean) do with conflicting evidence, when one realises one cannot dismiss it - that it has a 'bearing' on the truth of a matter?
eg the fingerprints on the gun are the murderer's but they have a lock down solid alibi, no obvious motive and the murder would actually create more 'harm' than 'good' in their life leaving little room to establish motive, opportunity or presence at the murder scene?
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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby Webwanderer » Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:59 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:
Webby said: Proof requires corresponding and supporting evidence.


What do you (as a detective I mean) do with conflicting evidence, when one realises one cannot dismiss it - that it has a 'bearing' on the truth of a matter?
eg the fingerprints on the gun are the murderer's but they have a lock down solid alibi, no obvious motive and the murder would actually create more 'harm' than 'good' in their life leaving little room to establish motive, opportunity or presence at the murder scene?


When such conflict arises, investigate the evidence. Something isn't what it appears. Interestingly, such conflicts are more the norm than not.

This also proves the point that evidence is not proof (makes your head spin a little doesn't it?). Proof is subjective and unique to each individual. Even Dr Alexander's book, 'Proof' is most relevant to his own understanding and perspective. It becomes relevant to someone else to the degree that it 'proves' to them what they consider, or wish, to be true. An honest skeptic, of which I consider myself one, only leans toward what is most likely given the evidence available. Sacred cows come in many forms, and one must be ever vigilant in recognizing their birth with their perspective.

A short answer however, to such ageless questions of what happens next is not very likely from the outside to a non-experiential observer. Therefore a long and steady investigation/exploration of an ever growing mountain of evidence is the best course for anyone who has a genuine interest in the origins of their being and the nature of life.

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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby randomguy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:34 pm

Therefore a long and steady investigation/exploration of an ever growing mountain of evidence is the best course for anyone who has a genuine interest in the origins of their being and the nature of life.

I'd say looking at the evidence might provide a progression of ideas and notions of the nature of life, looking at what is looking is closer to the "origin".
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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby Webwanderer » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:46 pm

randomguy wrote:
Therefore a long and steady investigation/exploration of an ever growing mountain of evidence is the best course for anyone who has a genuine interest in the origins of their being and the nature of life.

I'd say looking at the evidence might provide a progression of ideas and notions of the nature of life, looking at what is looking is closer to the "origin".

Can't disagree with that but consider the context of this thread. Looking at what is looking, while key to regaining a clearer sense of self, is not so likely to reveal the detail offered in works like 'Proof of Heaven'. I've spent a lifetime looking at what is looking - and looking at the evidence. What I've found is they work well together.

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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby treasuretheday » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:06 pm

Webwanderer wrote:evidence is not proof


Surely. Does the OJ Simpson "trial" ring any bells? Plenty of evidence there!

Isn't "proof" a mathematical term? In the justice system, there is always some discretionary space in which the judge enjoys freedom of movement, freedom to decide that the case before him calls for the application of one principle or policy, one legislative program rather than another. There is a space in which the judge's decisional processes are not and cannot be mechanically predetermined by the applicable rules of law. There is something more at work here: One hopes that in most instances, there is deep wisdom & intuition & guidance that flows from stillness!

This discussion is further "proof" to me that life is a mystery unfolding, not a problem to be solved! As many sages have asserted, you can't get to Truth through the reasoning process.
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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby Webwanderer » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:26 pm

treasuretheday wrote:This discussion is further "proof" to me that life is a mystery unfolding, not a problem to be solved!

Still there is something to exploring and understanding the mystery beyond just blank observation. The mystery seems infinite, and will continue to persist even though our present understanding gains clarity through whatever tools are at our disposal. Source included a mind for some purpose in It's projection(s) into this human experience. It seems wise to use it to our advantage.

As many sages have asserted, you can't get to Truth through the reasoning process.

Maybe not, but reasoning can be helpful in weeding out the BS. And it's those same sages who suggested using a thorn to remove a thorn. Their own teachings are replete with quality reasoning.

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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby rideforever » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:06 pm

Interesting discussion.

The "thorn removing a thorn" analogy ... meant the mind removing ITSELF.

NOT the mind differentiating between evidence and proof.

The analogy is just that it could remove itself. Nothing further.
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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby treasuretheday » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:14 pm

Webwanderer wrote:Still there is something to exploring and understanding the mystery beyond just blank observation

Oh, I quite agree. I've never been nor ever shall be a proponent of living in a state of "blank observation." My high regard for and enjoyment of mystery is a stance or approach to life that does not at all include a rejection of delving into things.
Webwanderer wrote:Source included a mind for some purpose
Yes, and I enjoy using mine regularly. I may not be a mental giant, but I value learning. Otherwise, I wouldn't involve myself in these chatroom exercises! Just making an observation that I thought was well-worth noting. (And I used my mind to formulate & express it!). Explore away!
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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby Webwanderer » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:27 pm

rideforever wrote:Interesting discussion.

The "thorn removing a thorn" analogy ... meant the mind removing ITSELF.

NOT the mind differentiating between evidence and proof.

The analogy is just that it could remove itself. Nothing further.

Of course you are free to perceive this analogy, or limit it, in any way you choose. So too is everyone else.

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Re: (not) proof of heaven (for me)

Postby rideforever » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:36 pm

Well ... it's quite straightforward.

If the thorn is removing the thorn it means it is removing itself.

It doesn't mean you are crotcheting with it !!!
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