What a great article this is!
I shall get to my personal views at the end of the information I would like to share from the article.
Harvard Neurosurgeon confirms the afterlife exists.
Before his experience, he did not believe existence of a non-physical spirit. Trained in western medical school and surrounded by medical colleagues who are deeply invested in the materialism view of the universe, he thought that the idea of a soul was outlandish. Like most “skeptics”, he believed stories of the afterlife to be hallucinations or products of the human imagination.
Dr. Alexander changed his mind after he was in a coma for seven days caused by severe bacterial meningitis. During his coma he experienced a vivid journey into what he knew to be the afterlife, visiting both heavenly and not so heavenly realms.
I know that usually people dismiss the notion of near death experiences as simply being hallucinatory states that the mind creates however this neurosurgeon refutes this standard claim in a few different ways.
1. A primitive brainstem program to ease terminal pain and suffering (“evolutionary argument” – possibly as a remnant of feigned-death strategies from lower mammals?). This did not explain the robust, richly interactive nature of the recollections. – See more at: www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com…
2. The distorted recall of memories from deeper parts of the limbic system (for example, the lateral amygdala) that have enough overlying brain to be relatively protected from the meningitic inflammation, which occurs mainly at the brain’s surface. This did not explain the robust, richly interactive nature of the recollections. – See more at: www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com…
3. ‘___’ dump. ‘___’, a naturally occurring serotonin agonist causes vivid hallucinations and a dream-like state. I am personally familiar with drug experiences related to serotonin agonist/antagonists (‘___’) from my teen years in the early 70s. I have had no personal experience with ‘___’ but have seen patients under its influence. The rich ultra-reality would still require fairly intact auditory and visual neocortex as target regions in which to generate such a rich audiovisual experience as I had in a coma. Prolonged coma due to bacterial meningitis had badly damaged my neocortex, which is where all of the serotonin from the raphe nuclei in my brainstem (or ‘___’, a serotonin agonist) would have had effects on visual/auditory experiences. But my cortex was off, and the ‘___’ would have no place in the brain to act. – See more at: www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com…
4. A reboot phenomenon – a random dump of bizarre dis-jointed memories due to old memories in the damaged neocortex, which might occur on restarting the cortex into consciousness after a prolonged system-wide failure, as in my diffuse meningitis. Especially given the intricacies of my elaborate recollections, this seems most unlikely. – See more at: www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com…
5. Unusual memory generation through an archaic visual pathway through the midbrain, prominently used in birds but only rarely identifiable in humans. It can be demonstrated in humans who are cortically blind, due to occipital cortex. It provided no clue as to the ultra-reality I witnessed and failed to explain the auditory-visual interleaving. – See more at: www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com…
Here is an interview contained within the article of Dr. Eben Alexander describing his experience.
To me the statement “life is school for the soul” is an wonderfully succinct description of my views. Ever since I was about 4 and I learned that when I breathe I give life to the trees and that when they breathe they give life to me, I understood there to be an intelligence behind the reality I was experiencing.
I remember going to Lutheran school and questioning why I had to. I did not understand the message that they were attempting to relay to me and my mother agreed. She told me that she felt connection to the earth and the animals and this is where she found god. I agreed wholeheartedly.
As I have grown I have come to learn that there is good reason for people to mock the religions that teach fear of god. It is absurd and an age old method of controlling the minds of the masses. I have learned from my own experiences that we are divine beings that are playing a game in which we forgot who and what we are, this to me implies that the greatest of jokes is being played out by the devoted Atheists!
All in all as we progress in all other aspects of our existence we shall inevitably come back to our connection with our spirits. We are seeing the destructive tendencies of a humanity that has lost this, resulting in hubris and greed and a disconnect from our own environment. These kind of NDE’s are here to remind us that we are much more than just our physical form!
By Dr. Stanislav Grof
Realms of the Human Unconscious
Beyond the Brain; LSD Psychotherapy
The Cosmic Game
Psychology of the Future
When the Impossible Happens
The Ultimate Journey
Healing Our Deepest Wounds
The Stormy Search for the Self
(the last three with Christina Grof).