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Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife" by Eben Alexander, MD ~ Lacks Umph!


Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.
Then, Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.
Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.
Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.
This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.

Particulars of the Book :
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster
Pages:  196
Genre:  Nonfiction

About Dr. Alexander :
Eben Alexander, M.D., has been an academic neurosurgeon for the last twenty-five years, including fifteen years at the Brigham & Women’s and the Children’s Hospitals and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Visit him at http://LifeBeyondDeath.net.

The Bookish Dame Reviews :
I wanted very much to find something special about this book, and bought it for my Kindle with great anticipation this weekend.  Sadly, I found it disappointing.  While there are certainly many redeeming qualities to the book in terms of a biographical profile of him and his family, telling us about the "other side" or "out there," as Dr. Eben refers to it, isn't one of them in whole.  There's really nothing new to be learned in the book if you've ever read anything about Near Death Experiences.  In fact, this man's story isn't as exciting as many I've already read.

What struck me about the book is that it's an apology of sorts.  Dr. Alexander sets about to tell us his life story accompanied by his experience as a desperately ill man, comatose and then experiencing his meeting with "beings" and God (whom he calls "Om") in the "out there."   Then, he tells of how scientists and the medical profession should believe him based on theories which would be difficult for the lay person to understand. It took some real concentration on my part to understand his explanations, and I couldn't tell you exactly what he meant, though I can give it a ball park try.  He completely lost me in this second section of his book.

I felt the book was a sort of conceit, if you will.  A person's saying, and he did, by the way in so many words, and I paraphrase: "I know this sounds like I'm saying I'm special...but I am unique.  I got to experience something nobody else ever has. Even other NDE's haven't experienced it in the same way...."   He actually made this sort of statement a couple of times which undermined his story, in my mind. 

His descriptions of the other side seemed infantile and not well developed; i.e., a beautiful girl on a butterfly wing, an earthworm view, people frolicking and dancing in circles in a grassy meadow in plain clothes, bright flying objects in the clouds.  This is the stuff of every child's kindergarten picture. 

Other than the universal messages we have heard from other NDE people's experiences:
You are not alone,  You are loved and cherished, You can do no wrong, You have nothing to fear. 
And that God is always near and here with us, there was nothing new or amazing about Dr. Alexander's visit or his message to us.   I believe in the divine spirit of God, so I believe we all have the opportunity to see and know Him.  I don't discount Dr. Eben's message, but his telling lacked something real.

I know I sound angry.  I don't mean to be angry, I'm just disappointed.  I was expecting something different and more profound, I guess.  And it bothered me that he spent such a goodly amount of time in his book trying to convince a scientific/medical community of the truth of his "visit" when he had made a point of saying that his point was to send a message of spiritual significance.

This is a book best borrowed from the library or waited for in paperback.   If you've read any other books by those who've been to the other side, you'll have read Dr. Alexander's book, except the others will most likely give you more insightful and spirit-building information.

2.5 stars                       Deborah/TheBookishDame



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Marlene Detierro

I found Dr. Alexander to be a well educated, intelligent man but his journey was not what I expected. Seemed to be more about his life and his illness. I did not find Proof of Heaven in this book.

Marlene Detierro (Photo Booth Rental)

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