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Shabd Mystic

[Merged] Proof of Heaven

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Good article from the new Newsweek:

... Although I considered myself a faithful Christian, I was so more in name than in actual belief. I didn’t begrudge those who wanted to believe that Jesus was more than simply a good man who had suffered at the hands of the world. I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.

In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.

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I know how pronouncements like mine sound to skeptics, so I will tell my story with the logic and language of the scientist I am. ...

Much more:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/07/proof-of-heaven-a-doctor-s-experience-with-the-afterlife.html

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I read the article but fail to find the 'proof of heaven', therein.

To be clear, in the headline of the story, it say's 'Heaven is Real'... in this one person's account.

He says in the article, "According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent."

That part is curious, but offers no proof.

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20 years when i was 18 i was in a coma for two weeks, While in the coma i remember experiencing sounds like swishing swirly sounds?

There where colors all around me like i was swimming in an ocean of color, I seemed to be aware of these sounds and colors around me enough to think, where am i whats going on? but at the same time i seemed to be happy and content to stay in this state.

when i woke up i remembered it all but never thought for one second hat i had experienced heaven or hell or anything paranormal.

It seemed to me that my body was just doing what it had to do to get me through this traumatic situation that it had got it self in.

And still today i firmly believe that thats what happened.

Edited by david_36
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20 years when i was 18 i was in a coma for two weeks, While in the coma i remember experiencing sounds like swishing swirly sounds?

There where colors all around me like i was swimming in an ocean of color, I seemed to be aware of these sounds and colors around me enough to think, where am i whats going on? but at the same time i seemed to be happy and content to stay in this state.

when i woke up i remembered it all but never thought for one second hat i had experienced heaven or hell or anything paranormal.

It seemed to me that my body was just doing what it had to do to get me through this traumatic situation that it had got it self in.

And still today i firmly believe that thats what happened.

What you experienced is nothing even close to what the doctor experienced and countless mystics have experienced throughout history. Your statement that "I seemed to be aware of these sounds and colors" clearly shows that there is no chance you experienced the same thing.

What this doctor, and thousands of near-death experiencers have said is that the experience is so far beyond what the human mind thinks of as "real" that our every day life seems false, as if we are in a dream state.

And the near-death experiences, as incredible as they are, aren't even 1/1,000 as amazing as the higher states of accomplished mystics. Unfortunately, in order to ever hope to understand this you must experience it yourself. Unless that happens then the human mind is incapable of understanding it, never mind believing it.

Even this doctor said a couple times that he couldn't explain some things and that thing he experienced had nothing "earthly" to even compare it to. There is so much "out there" that the human mind has no basis for comparison to because there is so much that doesn't even exist here. Trying to describe it would make trying to describe what milk tastes like seem easy.

Edited by Shabd Mystic
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Not only wasn't there any "proof" of heaven, or an afterlife of any kind, presented in the article, but it's noted that the man didn't actually die; ergo, he can't have had any experience of an afterlife, whether one exists or not, at all. The fact is that nobody, ever, has been revived after brain death: the actual death. He may have been in a coma, and parts of his brain were malfunctioning, but his brain was still operational, and, for example, something like dreams are still very-much possible under such conditions (after all, your brain effectively "shuts off", in some sense, when you fall asleep; that doesn't make the dream experiences of ice-skating hippopotamuses, or mile-wide tangerines, or yes, even clouds and shiny people any more meaningful).

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I read the article but fail to find the 'proof of heaven', therein.

To be clear, in the headline of the story, it say's 'Heaven is Real'... in this one person's account.

He says in the article, "According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent."

That part is curious, but offers no proof.

The headline is a poor choice designed to attract attention and hits. This is something that can never be proven "scientifically" no matter what. it can only be "proven" to one who has been there. Everyone else will just say it was his mind or imagination, even though he has scientific proof that his mind wasn't functioning.

People who want to believe will, and people who don't want to believe won't. This won't change anything except for the person who actually experienced it.

While all of what he details sounds great, the one thing that convinces experiencers more than anything is how, upon death, they experience "universal knowledge." Though the human mind is incapable of recalling all that when the person returns to a "life state," countless people come back knowing an amazing amount of things they never knew before.

Most amazing, when studying near-death experiences is the profound effect it has on the experiencer and how they all change in very similar and incredible ways. Ways that are most remarkable in people who admit they were rather nasty selfish individuals before. But there are many other ways they change.

And those ways are the same ways countless mystics have changed after they have experienced the "heavens." All this is on record in great detail from countless sources, but it will only be of interest to someone who actually wants to know the truth no matter where it leads. When it comes to human egos most people are only interested in what they already believe and interested in being thought of as being "right." ;)

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Not only wasn't there any "proof" of heaven, or an afterlife of any kind, presented in the article, but it's noted that the man didn't actually die; ergo, he can't have had any experience of an afterlife, whether one exists or not, at all. The fact is that nobody, ever, has been revived after brain death: the actual death. He may have been in a coma, and parts of his brain were malfunctioning, but his brain was still operational, and, for example, something like dreams are still very-much possible under such conditions (after all, your brain effectively "shuts off", in some sense, when you fall asleep; that doesn't make the dream experiences of ice-skating hippopotamuses, or mile-wide tangerines, or yes, even clouds and shiny people any more meaningful).

Thousands have been revived after being dead for many minutes. No breathing, no heartbeat and no brain function. There are many books on this subject by various scientists and researchers, and I have read several of them. You might want to give that a try.

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And the near-death experiences, as incredible as they are, aren't even 1/1,000 as amazing as the higher states of accomplished mystics. Unfortunately, in order to ever hope to understand this you must experience it yourself. Unless that happens then the human mind is incapable of understanding it, never mind believing it.

Even this doctor said a couple times that he couldn't explain some things and that thing he experienced had nothing "earthly" to even compare it to. There is so much "out there" that the human mind has no basis for comparison to because there is so much that doesn't even exist here. Trying to describe it would make trying to describe what milk tastes like seem easy.

Yes, very interesting. There is much that we cannot comprehend. Yet I still fail to find the 'proof of heaven' in the article, or what you've stated thusfar.Perhaps "Yet another example of one person's afterlife experience" might be more appropriate?

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I sure am glad I'm not a skeptic. Just saying...

Thanks for sharing your story! :)

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If anyone wants to read a great paper on near-death experiences try this:

http://spiritualscientific.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/GreysonNDEandSpirituality.79194349.pdf

It's a 22-page PDF file that is excellent. The abstract that starts it off is somewhat of a hard read as it is rather dry, but the paper itself is a great read. One of the things it points out is that very few NDEers "come back" with the same "religious" convictions they had before it happened. A few "believe" they saw Jesus or Krishna or whichever figure leads their religion, but most of them reported the "being" as made of pure light that they just "assumed" was Jesus or Krishna, etc. Most of the others who had such religious beliefs came back no longer following their religion.

the paper also touches upon the similarities with mystical experiences, but that is only describing mystical experiences that happen in the earliest stages of mystical practices.

Here is the abstract:

Some individuals when they come close to death report having experiences that they interpret as spiritual or religious. These so-called near-death experiences (NDEs) often include a sense of separation from the physical body and encounters with religious figures and a mystical or divine presence.

They share with mystical experiences a sense of cosmic unity or oneness, transcendence of time and space, deeply felt positive mood, sense of sacredness, noetic quality or intuitive illumination, paradoxicality, ineffability, transiency, and persistent positive aftereffects. Although there is no relationship between NDEs and religious belief prior to the experience, there are strong associations between depth of NDE and religious change after the experience.

NDEs often change experiencers’ values, decreasing their fear of death and giving their lives new meaning. NDEs lead to a shift from ego-centered to other-centered consciousness, disposition to love unconditionally, heightened empathy, decreased interest in status symbols and material possessions, reduced fear of death, and deepened spiritual consciousness.

Many experiencers become more empathic and spiritually oriented and express the beliefs that death is not fearsome, that life continues beyond, that love is more important than material possessions, and that everything happens for a reason. These changes meet the definition of spiritual transformation as “a dramatic change in religious belief, attitude, and behavior that occurs over a relatively short period of time.”

NDEs do not necessarily promote any one particular religious or spiritual tradition over others, but they do foster general spiritual growth both in the experiencers themselves and in human society at large.

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The headline is a poor choice designed to attract attention and hits.

I congratulate you on your honesty there. Might I suggest that you contact a moderator to change the title of your thread (because you can't do it yourself) or, mark my words, you are going to be bombarded by people demanding your 'proof' (as the person who initiated this thread) of heaven.

Edit: Take this advice or ignore it at your peril. "The headline is a poor choice designed to attract attention and hits." This forum (and its' members) really, really frown on that.

Be that as it may, good luck with that.

Edited by Likely Guy

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Yes, very interesting. There is much that we cannot comprehend. Yet I still fail to find the 'proof of heaven' in the article, or what you've stated thusfar.Perhaps "Yet another example of one person's afterlife experience" might be more appropriate?

I hear ya. I'm definitely not the type to believe anyone or anything unless I am convinced by overwhelming evidence or reason (that can't be otherwise explained). I am as skeptical as they come about most everything. I spent several years as an investigative reporter and tend to believe most things are a "crock" until shown otherwise. I spent my time trying to prove that things were lies or frauds.

I was raised a Catholic and have an aunt who is a nun. By 13 I gave it all up because it just didn't make sense in countless ways. There was something there that I very much believed was true, but I didn't buy much of what Christianity taunt in the way of "virgin birth" or "resurrection," etc..

Long story short, years later I turned to mysticism. I didn't want to wait until I died to find the truth. I didn't believe that if God was real He wouldn't offer absolute proof to anyone who sincerely wanted it - before we die. And that proof is there for anyone who cares enough to seek it. (Little did I know that mysticism would not only be "proof" but the only way to ever get back to heaven, as all religions where formed on the teachings of mystics but the teaching that it took mysticism to follow their teachings were later lost or changed by people who wanted to form 'churches" - churches are worthless if the teachings say that heaven is inside you and you must go inside to get there.)

History is filled with stories of exceptionally advanced mystics such as Jesus and Buddha and many more, but enough 'proof" can be had by even "low level" mystics. I know several such mystics. Know them well. But it takes time and dedication.

Paul said in The Bible, "I die daily." What he was describing was mysticism. Mysticism is the only way one can "die while living" (except an NDE, which is but a brief and minor mystical experience). It is the only way the soul can leave the body and can traverse the heavens and experience them, and God, at any time. It's the only way one can truly experience God and interact with Him. And there is nothing even remotely imaginary. These NDE's are fantastic because there are thousands of them and they are confirming what mystics have said for centuries.

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I congratulate you on your honesty there. Might I suggest that you contact a moderator to change the title of your thread (because you can't do it yourself) or, mark my words, you are going to be bombarded by people demanding your 'proof' (as the person who initiated this thread) of heaven.

Edit: Take this advice or ignore it at your peril. "The headline is a poor choice designed to attract attention and hits." This forum (and its' members) really, really frown on that.

Be that as it may, good luck with that.

Why change it? It's the headline of the Newsweek article. I'm not saying I wrote it. I'm saying Newsweek wrote it that way to attract attention and hits.

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Thousands have been revived after being dead for many minutes. No breathing, no heartbeat and no brain function. There are many books on this subject by various scientists and researchers, and I have read several of them. You might want to give that a try.

As a biologist myself, I must insist that brain death is death; and that nothing has ever been revived after brain death. You might want to read about that. Yes, one can cease breathing and the heart can cease its beating, and that is a sort of death; one which a person can be revived from (and is done frequently). What hasn't happened, ever, is the revival of a person from brain death. Ergo, nobody has ever been revived from the dead; not truly. Because you aren't dead unless you're brain dead; and brain death is an incurable condition.

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As a biologist myself, I must insist that brain death is death; and that nothing has ever been revived after brain death. You might want to read about that. Yes, one can cease breathing and the heart can cease its beating, and that is a sort of death; one which a person can be revived from (and is done frequently). What hasn't happened, ever, is the revival of a person from brain death. Ergo, nobody has ever been revived from the dead; not truly. Because you aren't dead unless you're brain dead; and brain death is an incurable condition.

Okay, instead of arguing semantics, I will say that the brain has stopped functioning. If you want to claim that the brain is still working after a person has been clinically dead for 20-30 minutes before being revived, then enjoy your beliefs.

Also, if you want to argue with this neurologist and share your opinion as a biologist about what he claims, I'd suggest you take your argument to him. Or to any of the countless scientists who have been studying NDE's.

The only reason they are called "near-death" is because the patients were revived. Death, as a term, stands for a permanent state. So, "technically" it can't be "called" death. But until another word is invented I will use the term "dead." The only thing that changes about their "death" when they are revived is that it was clearly not "permanent."

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Okay, instead of arguing semantics, I will say that the brain has stopped functioning. If you want to claim that the brain is still working after a person has been clinically dead for 20-30 minutes before being revived, then enjoy your beliefs.

Also, if you want to argue with this neurologist and share your opinion as a biologist about what he claims, I'd suggest you take your argument to him. Or to any of the countless scientists who have been studying NDE's.

The only reason they are called "near-death" is because the patients were revived. Death, as a term, stands for a permanent state. So, "technically" it can't be "called" death. But until another word is invented I will use the term "dead." The only thing that changes about their "death" when they are revived is that it was clearly not "permanent."

Death, in the true sense, cannot be reversed. Clinical death, in which the heart stops and breathing ceases and the brain's functions begin to diminish from lack of oxygen, that can be cured, and the patient revived. If the brain has not died, then the person has not died; ergo, nobody has been revived from death, given nobody has ever been cured of brain death. I'm beginning to repeat myself... but it really is that simple. True death = brain death = nobody has ever been revived after brain death = nobody has ever been revived from death. The brain ceases function at the time of brain death (hence... brain death); yes, people have been revived from clinical death (the stopping of the heart and breathing) after 20-30 minutes, as you say (though that's stretching it a bit; after 13-14 minutes or so the odds of successful revival begin to decrease rapidly), but then, that doesn't count as technical, biological death.

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Death, in the true sense, cannot be reversed. Clinical death, in which the heart stops and breathing ceases and the brain's functions begin to diminish from lack of oxygen, that can be cured, and the patient revived. If the brain has not died, then the person has not died; ergo, nobody has been revived from death, given nobody has ever been cured of brain death. I'm beginning to repeat myself... but it really is that simple. True death = brain death = nobody has ever been revived after brain death = nobody has ever been revived from death. The brain ceases function at the time of brain death (hence... brain death); yes, people have been revived from clinical death (the stopping of the heart and breathing) after 20-30 minutes, as you say (though that's stretching it a bit; after 13-14 minutes or so the odds of successful revival begin to decrease rapidly), but then, that doesn't count as technical, biological death.

Once again we are into semantics and we are discussing a scientific term. If the brain has stopped sending electrical signals then the brain has stopped functioning. If, through CPR or electric shock or anything else, the brain again starts sending its signals and the heart and everything else begin to function then the person is "alive." If nothing EVER changes from that state they are in, then they are officially "dead."

The only thing that prevents a death certificate, an "official" certification of death, is if something can be done to "change" the patient's state. If NOTHING changes then he is dead. If it does change he is alive. To claim that a person who suddenly had changes that made him alive was never "dead' is just a semantics game.

If you wish to play word games please continue but I have no interest in such ridiculous exercises.

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If anyone is interested in this story here is a link to an MP3 file that is a 52-minute interview with the Harvard doctor who the Newsweek story is about.

[media=]http://www.skeptiko.com/upload/skeptiko-154-eben-alexander.mp3[/media]

The interview is done by a site called "skeptico.com" so it should be interesting (I am downloading it now but haven't listened yet).

The page with that interview in text form is here:

http://www.skeptiko....ath-experience/

Edited by Shabd Mystic

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Why change it? It's the headline of the Newsweek article. I'm not saying I wrote it. I'm saying Newsweek wrote it that way to attract attention and hits.

I reiterate; "To be clear, in the headline of the story, it say's 'Heaven is Real'... (and as I said), in this one person's account." Which, taken by itself, is fine.

To declare the 'Proof of Heaven', is a whole different matter. I'm just saying there's going to be a whole lot of people asking you for your proof, not anyone else's, and a bunch of NDE examples aren't going to sate them.

Edited by Likely Guy

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I reiterate; "To be clear, in the headline of the story, it say's 'Heaven is Real'... (and as I said), in this one person's account." Which, taken by itself, is fine.

To declare the 'Proof of Heaven', is a whole different matter. I'm just saying there's going to be a whole lot of people asking you for your proof, not anyone else's, and a bunch of NDE examples aren't going to sate them.

Well then, let 'em ask away. I'll tell them what I already told you, "I" was not the one who claimed to have proof. If they want to ask the Harvard neurosurgeon who made the claim referenced in this thread's title, they can contact him via his Website here:

http://www.lifebeyonddeath.net/

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If anyone is interested in this story here is a link to an MP3 file that is a 52-minute interview with the Harvard doctor who the Newsweek story is about.

[media=]http://www.skeptiko.com/upload/skeptiko-154-eben-alexander.mp3[/media]

The interview is done by a site called "skeptico.com" so it should be interesting (I am downloading it now but haven't listened yet).

The page with that interview in text form is here:

http://www.skeptiko....ath-experience/

I just listened to the interview and it's great and well worth a listen. Especially for any self-proclaimed "scientific minds." Of course if you are one of the many people here who believe they already have the answers to everything in the world, just feel free to show yourself so everyone can admire your incredible knowledge. :)

.

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More from the doctor:

After many minutes up to tens of minutes or so of no blood flow, flow might then be restored and what remained of the brain would begin to heal. Permanent damage to brain cells begins after four minutes of zero blood flow. Often, neurons in that situation go into an idling mode from which they may be rescued to start functioning again, at least partially, depending on their reserves and on the time they are without blood flow. Longer periods of cardiac arrest lead to more diffuse brain damage, and under most conditions are not survivable after tens of minutes.

It is crucial to understand the importance of my illness being acute bacterial meningitis. Those lacking a medical background need to understand why that is so critical. “Dying” of a cardiac arrest, then being brought back to life can do very little damage to the brain, compared with spending a week in deep coma due to bacterial meningitis. To borrow an analogy from Annie Dillard, comparing the two is like comparing "kissing a man, to marrying him." Not even in the same ballpark!

Medical situations leading to loss of consciousness for many hours or days (head trauma, stroke, brain hemorrhage, meningitis, etc.) bring a patient much closer to death than transient cardiac events leading to unconsciousness due to decreased blood flow (which includes most cases of patients declared “dead” during cardiac arrest, then resuscitated). Most of these conditions, except for meningitis, tend to involve only part of the neocortex, often with deeper, more primitive parts of the brain involved.

Meningitis is unique in its diffuse destruction of the outer surface of the brain, the neocortex (eg. the ‘human’ brain). It thus has the greatest efficiency in mimicking human death, and still allowing for possible recovery to tell the tale (due to relative preservation of deeper 'housekeeping' structures common to most higher animals). That is why my particular case is having such a dramatic effect on the medical community.

No one knowledgeable about my medical specifics doubts the miraculous nature of my full recovery. It is also a miracle that I remember so much from within coma. But there it is, and I must deal with it. It happened for a very big reason.

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A different section with Q&A about mysticism compared to his NDE:

Carol asks:

I have been thinking that parts of your experience might coincide with the reported experiences of some of the Christian mystics, or of enlightened people from other religions as well. Their descriptions are remarkably similar to yours, but presumably their brains were functioning normally. There is some evidence of altered states produced during meditation that might lead to profound spiritual experiences.

These were characterized by an absence of most brain activity. I'm beginning to think that the enlightenment phenomenon is at the root of all spiritual systems, and that our organized religions and personal convictions may be somewhat irrelevant, as if we're looking in the wrong place for the truth.

I assure you that I have never had an enlightenment experience, although I've done some meditation, but I believe in my bones the truth of what other people report -- the oneness of All and the "love that passes all understanding".

Eben replies:

Carol, thank you so much for your thoughts.

"Light from Light," the anthology on Christian Mystics, and "Gnostic Gospels" were most helpful in my attempts to explain my experience. I meant to emphasize the role of meditation in seeking that enlightenment when I discussed how Buddha was "Awake," but I was running short on time. It is clear that one does not need a near-death experience to achieve enlightenment.

I have been musing over Ken Wilber's Quantum Questions, an excellent anthology he edited in 1984 containing essays pertinent to mysticism written by some of the leading scientists of the Twentieth Century (Einstein, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Planck, Pauli, deBroglie, Jeans and Eddington).

Hints at my main message about quantum mechanics and science were conveyed in some of the quotes presented at St. John's, and especially the one from Einstein about "behind all the discernible concatenations [in peering into the secrets of nature], there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable [a force beyond our comprehension]."

Current science at the cutting edge of investigating quantum gravity (synthesis of QM and General Relativity) and the holographic principle of the universe leaves the door wide open for the critical and fundamental reality of spiritual experience.

I agree with you on the issue of organized religions - their only relevance is in providing spokes to the hub that we all share. And the coin of that Realm is -- LOVE!

.

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Shabd Mystic, there is no need to nearly die to encounter "heaven", the mystic sages agree you merely need to "die to the world".

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I don't agree with that as being proof of heaven or any kind of afterlife, it was just a weird experience. Just because he's a doctor doesn't mean he's right and has superior knowledge of this matter. He wasn't actually dead. If he has come back from the dead then is he a zombie?

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