Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Review Club: Proof of Heaven

Proof of Heaven 
by Eben Alexander, M.D.
Simon & Schuster, 2012

When I heard about this book, I pre-ordered it for my Kindle. Apparently I wasn't the only one. His website says the book debuted at #1 in e-book sales!

I've been interested in NDE (near-death experience) literature since reading Raymond Moody's Life After Life in the mid-1970s. So I didn't approach the book as a skeptic but a believer, and one who is familiar with the genre.

Dr. Alexander's experience is unique in several ways.

1. As a neurosurgeon, he was very much a scientist and a skeptic, so when he went into a protracted coma, he had no preconceived ideas about what to expect. No one was more surprised than he when he had a revelatory spiritual experience.

2. His coma was caused by an unusual condition in adults: gram-negative bacterial meningitis, which shut down the neocortex of his brain, the part that medical scientists say makes us human. That part of his brain was completely inactive during his coma. After he recovered, Dr. Alexander tried, and failed, to find a rational, scientific explanation for what happened to him. In addition, his survival of the meningitis without any brain damage is quite remarkable.

3. His NDE differed somewhat from those reported by other survivors. For one thing, while in coma, he had no idea who he was/had been on earth. Most patients who suffer NDEs have all or some part of their neocortex still functioning. As a result, he felt no compulsion to return to his previous life. Nevertheless, his family gathered around and prayed for him and he was ultimately drawn back to his life on earth.

During the coma, he initially spent a lot of time in a murky, undistinguished state he called the Realm of the Worm's Eye View. In time, a light appeared to him and he rose into a bright and beautiful spiritual realm where a lovely young woman acted as his guide. He traveled through areas of "heaven" he dubbed the Gateway and the Core. The message he brought back is simple:
You are loved and cherished.
You have nothing to fear.
There is nothing you can do wrong.
Before his coma, he would have said that all consciousness comes from the brain. Now he believes we are spiritual beings inhabiting mortal brains and bodies.

If you have any interest in this subject, I recommend the book. I found it quite fascinating and Dr. Alexander does a good job of explaining medical and scientific concepts in ways a non-scientist can understand. You can read more online at


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@Barrie Summy


pattinase (abbott) said...

This looks fascinating. As my mother was dying, she said, "I almost feel joyful," That has brought me a lot of comfort.

Linda McLaughlin said...

That's amazing, Patti. I think you'd find the book interesting.

Barrie said...

I do have an interest in this subject. I especially like the idea that the doctor was skeptic before experiencing NDE. Thank you for reviewing, Linda. And thanks for doing your best to get around to the other reviews.

Sarah Laurence said...

How very unusual to have a book like this written by a neurosurgeon. Thanks for the summary.