Heaven is Real!!!

Via David Romanelli
on Oct 13, 2012
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Photo courtesy of swanksalot via Flickr

Famous last words before their death:

“Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”  ~ Steve Jobs, 2011    

“Am I dying or is this my birthday?”  ~ Lady Nancy Astor, 1964

“Beautiful.” (In reply to her husband, who had asked how she felt.) ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1861

This is #39 of 108 Ways to Livin the Moment. Let’s take back our lives one beautiful, funny and delicious moments at a time.

#39 of 108: Love Your Foreverness

You might have seen the cover of this week’s Newsweek.

It’s the account of Dr Eben Alexander III, a Harvard-educated neurosurgeon who said, “As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences.”

Dr. Alexander noted that he relied on “good, scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys, described by those who narrowly escaped death.”

Doctors and scientists had always proffered that “the bright lights” people saw during a near death experience were the result of a minimal, transient or partial malfunctinong of that part of the brain known as the cortex.

When Dr. Alexander went into a seven day coma, under intense medical observation, there was proof beyond doubt that his cortex was completely inactive; he could not possibly have had any kind of near death experience. But then…

Dr. Alexander shocked everyone when he awoke from the coma claiming to have witnessed something incredible, an intelligence that spoke to him in crashing waves of light, color, love and beauty; his book, Proof of Heaven, tells the story in vivid detail.

This is BIG NEWS, quite possibly the closest we have come to proof that life goes on.

It’s a reminder to keep one eye on infinity or else we become like the tourist who spends their whole vacation redecorating their hotel room.

As Wayne Dyer writes, “Love your foreverness!”

What does that mean? Foreverness?

  • Foreverness means lead a modern, high tech life but have an indigenous soul.

  • Foreverness means this is a roundtrip journey and you want to be a contented traveler on the flight home…not the girl staring out the window, feeling like there was so much she didn’t see.

Neale Donald Walsh said, “When you find that your life is out of alignment with your grandest idea of yourself, seek to change it.”

So this weekend, if not just for this weekend…see what it’s like to let the grandest idea of yourself into the cockpit for a test drive.

This is the part of you who starts the day with a deep breath, who plays Mozart for your plants, who indulges the changing seasons with more than an Instagram post.

Just this weekend, give your Foreverness one chance to put her hands on the steering wheel…and watch where she takes you.

Then on Monday, we can get back to freaking ourselves out, all over again.


Editor: Bryonie Wise

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About David Romanelli

David "Yeah Dave" Romanelli has played a major role in pioneering the modernization of wellness in the United States. He believes wellness and feeling good is so much more than fancy yoga poses, green juice, and tight-fitting clothes. Dave launched his career fusing ancient wellness practices with modern passions like exotic chocolate, fine wine, and gourmet food by creating Yoga + Chocolate, Yoga + Wine, and Yoga for Foodies.  His work has been featured in The Wall Street JournalFood + Wine, Newsweek and The New York Times; and his debut book, Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment reached #1 on the Amazon Self-Help Bestseller List. Dave's new book launches in Fall 2014 from Skyhorse Publishing. Check out his new show Yeah Dave! brought to you by Scripps Network, the people behind The Food Network, Travel Channel, HGTV, and more.  He is a current contributor to Health Magazine, Yoga Journal, and various other publications. Discover more about his journey on www.yeahdave.com.


12 Responses to “Heaven is Real!!!”

  1. Mark Ledbetter says:

    There are basically two possibilities.

    Spirit/consciousness is non-material and not enclosed in or confined by the body. Life goes on after the body dies and does so outside the realm we're normally aware of.

    The universe is material (in the larger meaning that includes light and energy). Everything can be explained through physical laws. There's no need (except a psychological need) to postulate spirit or God or life after death.

    Unfortunately, both possibilities are absurd. The first is irrational after all that science has discovered and explained. But even science hasn't explained or even offered a reasonable hypothesis for how the cortex could create consciousness. The idea that consciousness is mere and meaningless chemical reactions is also absurd.

    So there we have it, only two possibilities and both are absurd. We are left with the inescapable logic that one absurdity is true. Near Death studies, over the last several decades, have virtually proven (and prove is not too strong a word) that the first of my absurdities is true, that consciousness is separate from the physical body and does apparently survive the body intact.

    This is so outside the standard scientific thinking that, despite the overwhelming evidence, it's not part of modern science or medical training. If it had been, Dr. Eben wouldn't have been surprised at his experience.

    In any case, a superb Newsweek article. It's not something new, but just a beautiful and persuasive confirmation of what researchers in the field have known for quite some time. Thanks David for letting Ele readers know about this. It is, after all, the most important scientific question there is.

  2. His cortex was functional – but he was not dead. By definition this is not a near-death experience, it is a -we-don't-yet-understand-the-brain experience. The simplest answer is that there are a great many things the brain does in creating experience that we are not yet able to understand. And one more point – dreams are a function of the brain stem, not the cortex, so this could have been one very cool dream.

  3. Dave says:

    Whether there is some form of consciousness after "death" aside, to see this story anything other than pure anecdote is to try and justify something you want badly to believe.

  4. Mark Ledbetter says:

    William and Dave, there was a point in my life when I would have been with you on this. I mean, life after death is either simply not possible or it's outside the realm of scientific investigation. Anecdotes prove nothing and the brain can do all kinds of amazing things under stress.

    In fact, though there are lots of anecdotes, there has also been lots of down-to-earth scientific research, many of the researchers former skeptics (typically heart surgeons with lots of 'samples' to work with) who entered the field to disprove this latest fad in junk science before unexpectedly proving their own assumptions wrong.

    Unconvinced skeptics (and of course there are some) have offered many explanations – oxygen deprivation, the brain producing some sort of dream or halucination, medication etc. – but none of the explanations is satisfactory. For one thing, none of those theories taken alone explains more than a fraction of the NDE experiences. To explain away a significant number, you need a whole array of unrelated explanations, not a good way to do science.

    And even that still leaves lots of NDE features unexplained, most particularly, specific and otherwise unknowable knowledge of events in the operating room concurrent with the operation, and even events outside the operating room. Surprisingly enough, once you have looked at the evidence (not anecdotes, which do have their place, but real evidence subject to corroboration by nurses, doctors, and relatives related to the operation) the burden of proof is clearly in the skeptic's court.

  5. Ramon Jose says:

    So-called "out of body" and other hallucinatory experiences can be caused by a variety of factors, neurological & psychological in nature. The author makes a fantastical leap of faith when he claims his experience is "proof" of Heaven. Even IF I believed in an afterlife, what he relays is anecdotal and hardly constitutes "evidence." I'm skeptical and a little disappointed that elephantjournal would post this as a credible article.

  6. Ramon Jose says:

    By the way, Sam Harris' response to this article is worth reading: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/this-must-be-h

  7. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Hi Ramon,

    Just read Harris's article posted by Jose. The problem with the article is this… It's assuming that anecdotes like Dr. Alexander's are all we have to go on. As pointed out above, and without getting into the details as I don't have a whole lot of time at the moment (but if much interest develops here I'll make the effort), there have been numerous and rigorous studies of the phenomenon. Dr. A's report, when taken in that context, is meaningful. When taken without that context, it's just interesting and hardly proof of anything.

    Oh, one more thing. Dr. A connects his experience with his own religious beliefs, something the Harris article derides, but that is just Dr. A. Some people after an NDA strengthen their previous religious beliefs, some weaken them. But there's nothing Christian about the NDA. Dr. A, for example, met the being of light and seems to identify it with Jesus. But, if you read carefully, you will notice that the being of light did not identify itself to Dr. A.

    As I was reading Dr. A's article I expected that (the non-identification part). This, actually, for me, is one of the fascinating commonalities of NDEs. Those who meet the "being of light" identify it in various ways, Jesus, Buddha, God, an angel, or just a being of light. But the B of L itself has never, it seems, in all the thousands of instances that have been recorded by NDErs, identified itself.

    For me, this means two things. 1) making things easy for us by revealing the one-true-religion is not part of the program. 2) such uncanny consistency on this detail is highly unlikely if all these experiences were created by the experiencers brains. I mean, why would all brains in the world have this rule built into their synapses… "As part of a death fantasy you might meet an all-knowing all-loving Being of Light but the Light will never identify itself" ? That specificity and consistency of chemical programming seems rather unlikely.

    Good day all

  8. Timmy_Robins says:

    This can hardly count as evidence .
    Although scientists havent completely nailed down how consciousness works there is a lot of research on people with brain damage that suggests that some areas of the brain (brain stem, thalamus) are essential for consciousness to work properly.

  9. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Timmy, glad you showed up here. For one thing, by clicking on your name, I was able to finally find that other thread where I talked just a bit about some of the evidence. For another, I actually missed some of your contributions to that earlier thread the first time around, so I was able to catch up on your thoughts. For anyone interested in that discussion, here it is:

    Back to this thread.

    No, this Newsweek article, in and of itself, is not evidence. It’s an anecdote. But numerous studies HAVE provided powerful evidence. In the context of that evidence, Dr. Alexander’s anecdote is meaningful.

    And, scientists "haven't completely nailed down how consciousness works." Well, you know more than I do. Have they even gotten to Step One? So far as I know, there's no reasonable explanation or hypothesis for how chemical reactions, or any other mechanical reaction that we know of, could produce human consciousness.

    Yes, I know the position I'm arguing for here is absurd. But so is your position, a mechanical basis for consciousness. And (barring some minor tinkering) since there are basically no other possible positions besides our two positions, both of which are absurd, we are left with the necessity of recognizing that one absurdity lies at the base of who we are as humans. The case is not settled, but the evidence we have now, provided by NDE scientists (as opposed to collectors and writers of anecdotes) clearly makes the absurdity that consciousness is not part of, made by, or dependent on the body more likely.

  10. Padma Kadag says:

    The good doctor was not dead. Nor are those who are nearly dead. Nor are those who "clinically" are dead and "come back". These experiences are nothing more than our mind.

  11. Mark Ledbetter says:

    I'm with ya, Padma, I understand your feelings. If, for example, near death studies are a new agey thing promoted by air-headed thinking – as they must be for any well-educated person – then anyone with a bit of rationality and scientific training should be able to quickly slice away the veneer of scientific pretense with a few quick strokes, and without the need to actually look at the research. There was a time when I would have done the same. But it's not possible to take such a dismissive attitude once you have delved into the seriousness and depth of near death studies.

    For starters, researchers never claim that anyone has come back from the dead. Obviously they haven't. Thus the name NEAR death studies.

    And yes you could say that these experiences are "nothing more than the mind," but you can only say that if you are willing to broaden your definition of the mind to make it something that can detach itself with full consciousness and perception from the body and observe, for example, the operating room from, say, the ceiling (a common occurrence). And you have to accept in your definition of the mind that it can leave the operating room and venture into the outside world (a less common occurrence). This mobility of the mind has actually been proved beyond reasonable doubt. The more extraordinary occurrences like visits to other dimensions are, of course, harder and maybe impossible to prove. But, as a first step, the fact that the mind can and does detach itself from the body and roam about is pretty much beyond the realm of reasonable dispute if you look at the evidence.

  12. Padma Kadag says:

    Can't find anything we disagree on. Mind is mind. If you find yourself watching yourself on the operating table then of course that is mind. As far as "leaving" the body or going elsewhere…that is mind too. Who can say for sure mind goes here or there. You cannot point to it nor can you measure it. The mind I agree appears to be mobile but I think it's appearance of being mobile is ..again…mind.