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December 9, 2012

SOUTHERN STYLE: Proof of Heaven

I’ve written articles about near death experiences before, with wonderful responses from people who have either experienced it for themselves, or have known someone who experienced it first-hand.

But I’ve never read about this subject from a neurosurgeon’s professional and personal experience in the realm that follows the one in which we live.

To say that it is interesting is a gross understatement. Being a member of the medical community and one of such a highly specialized sector of that profession makes Dr. Eben Alexander’s account of the afterlife especially intriguing.  

Dr. Alexander contracted a sudden and severe case of E.coli bacterial meningitis. He was rushed to the emergency room of the Lynchburg, N.C., hospital where he was a staff member.

Dr. Alexander’s case, where he was comatose for over a week and suffered no brain damage, was unprecedented in the medical history of this disease.

The following is his own personal account of what happened to him while his brain was essentially dead.

According to Dr. Alexander, there was, at first, darkness. It was like being submerged in mud, yet he was able to see through it. There was consciousness, but without any memory of his identity. There was a rhythmic pounding, like a pulse that went right through him.  

He has no idea how long he was in that particular stage of the near death experience (NDE) for he reiterates time and again throughout the book that time had no meaning whatsoever in this realm.  

Even with his professional vocabulary at hand, Dr. Alexander has trouble describing the following events.

Something appeared out of the darkness, radiating fine filaments of white-gold light, breaking the darkness apart.

Then came a living sound, like the richest, most complex, most beautiful piece of music you’ve ever heard, he describes.

At the center of the light something opened up to allow him to move up at what felt like a high rate of speed. “There was a whooshing sound and in a flash I went through the opening and found myself in a completely new world. The strangest, most beautiful world I’d ever seen,” he writes.

“Brilliant, vibrant, ecstatic, stunning …I could keep heap on one adjective after another to describe what this world looked and felt like, but they’d all fall short. I felt like I was being born.”

Below, he saw a green, lush and vibrant countryside. Like the earth – but not the earth. He was flying over trees, fields, streams and waterfalls. There were children laughing and playing below him. People sang and danced around in circles and occasionally he would notice a dog, running and jumping among them.

(I was glad to note that part about the dog …what would Heaven be like without pets?)

The clothes they all wore were simple yet beautiful, and it seemed to Alexander that they were made of the same kind of living warmth as the trees and flowers that bloomed profusely everywhere. “It was like a dream, but not a dream. Through I didn’t know where I was or even what I was, I was absolutely sure of one thing: this place I’d suddenly found myself was completely real,” he declared.

At this point a guide, in the form of a beautiful girl dressed in the same fashion as the people he’d seen, spoke to him without using any words. Basically, her message was, “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever. You have nothing to fear. There is nothing that you can do wrong.”

Alexander says that if he had to condense this message into one word, it would be “love.”

As his worried family sat vigil beside his bed over the long days and nights that followed, Alexander, himself, was in a vastly different world.

“I was in a place of clouds,” he writes. “I could hear the visual beauty of the silvery bodies of scintillating beings above, and I could see the surging, joyful perfection of what they sang.”

He kept asking himself, “Where is this place? Who am I? Why am I here?”

He was answered in a way that bypassed any language he knew.

“The thoughts entered me directly, solid and immediate — hotter than any fire and wetter than water — and as I received them I was able to instantly and effortlessly understand concepts that would have taken me years to fully grasp in my earthly life.”

Dr. Alexander freely admits that it will take him the rest of his life, “and then some,” to reveal what he learned up there. “It didn’t fade, like ordinary information, and to this day I still possess all of it, much more clearly than I possess the information that I gained over all my years in school.”

He goes on to say that trying to put it into words is similar to a being a chimpanzee given the use of human language and understanding for one day, then going back and trying to explain us to the other chimps.

While absorbing all this information, his family was coming to the realization that he was not getting better. They had the meeting that every family dreads. It was time to talk about taking him off of life support.  

The book is hard to put down. If you believe Dr. Alexander, you will love reading about what happened to him, and has happened to thousands of others since modern medicine has evolved to the point where resuscitation of patients formerly known as “dead” can be revived.

Tune in for this unparalleled look into what Heaven is like, and hear the story straight from Dr. Alexander’s mouth. Don't miss the Doctor and Oprah this Super Soul Sunday at 9 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 on OWN-TV or Oprah.com.

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