Dr. Eben Alexander, author of international phenomenon Proof of Heaven, shares the next phase of his journey to understand the true nature of consciousness and how to cultivate a state of harmony with the universe and our higher purpose. In 2008, Dr. Eben Alexander's brain was severely damaged by a devastating case of bacterial meningitis, and he lapsed into a weeklong coma. It was almost certainly a death sentence, but Dr. Alexander miraculously survived and brought back with him an astounding story. During those seven days in coma, he was plunged into the deepest realms of consciousness, and came to understand profound truths about the universe we inhabit. What he learned changed everything he knew about the brain, mind, and consciousness and drove him to ask a question confounding the entire scientific community: How do you explain the origins of consciousness if it is not a byproduct of the brain? His challenge relates to a revolutionary shift now underway within our modern scientific understanding. Ultimately, direct experience is key to fully understanding how we are all connected through the binding force of unconditional love and its unlimited power to heal. In Living in a Mindful Universe, the New York Times bestselling author of Proof of Heaven and The Map of Heaven shares his insights into the true nature of consciousness. Embracing his radically new worldview, he began a committed program of personal exploration into non-local consciousness. Along the way, he met Karen Newell, who had spent most of her lifetime living the worldview he had only just discovered was possible. Her personal knowledge came from testing various techniques and theories as part of her daily routine. With Living in a Mindful Universe, they share techniques that can be used to tap into our greater mind, explore how the power of the heart, and discuss how both can enhance healing, relationships, creativity, guidance, and more. Using various modalities related to meditation and mindfulness described herein, you too can gain the power to access that infinite source of knowing so vital to us all.
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I'm sure, as a scientist, he could appreciate that the longer one makes observations, the more evidence there will be to support an informed conclusion. In the case of the author's writings, the longer I've become familiar with it, the more it becomes obvious how very parochial his worldview and mindset are, actually, despite all that he has constantly emphasized about what his NDE had showed him regarding infinity, eternity, omni-connectedness, the nature of illusory physical reality, etc. Throughout all of his books, especially this one, most notably because it is the longest, he has demonstrated almost no awareness or understanding of the history on the mind-body debate and philosophies of consciousness beyond what is interpreted from Western sources in the recent couple of centuries, for the most part, and a smattering of references from the ancient Greek tradition from time to time. In his consideration, most of human history must seem as good as a blank on this subject. It apparently escapes him that consciousness studies are the richest in Eastern philosophies where they originated, having inspired most of the Western ones as well. With few exceptions, all of this author’s writings would even give any observant reader an almost unmistakable sense that he seemed to have spared no effort to contrive certain inferences and interpretations from any and all sources of alternative Western tradition, no matter how distant the relationship, just to actively avoid mentioning anything non-Western on the subject, if at all possible, all while apparently being oblivious to the extreme irony of carrying on a simultaneous discourse regarding an overarching framework of the "one-ness" of all existence and the superficial reality of present worldly conventions and perceptions. Of course, no person's writing can be divorced from his personal experience. And here, perhaps echoing the point that personal experience is central to our perception of all physical reality, it should therefore be no surprise to also observe the very obvious parallel between the characteristics of those with whom he described associating and fraternizing in his own life and that of aforementioned parochialism.
Among the exceedingly scant non-Western sources that the author mentions anywhere, the "Dalai Lama" figures prominently as an object of his admiration. One wonders, then, why would a person who now claims to understand and preaches about the interconnected-ness of all souls and the grand unity of all consciousness which underlies all reality volunteer to be the mouth-organ of someone who had ruled over a slave society before his "exile", where the common atrocities committed against those who were condemned into lives of slavery from birth, all in the name of religious belief, were so unspeakably grotesques, horrific, and heinous that only a true Nazi could love? Now, let's assume for a moment, with all benefits of the doubt for the author, that he neither supports slavery, in the name of anything, nor had any clue about the true nature of the Xizang (tibetan) society under the "Dalai Lama's" rule, then there would still be the nagging question of why would an author who speaks of the "hyper-reality" of the "all-loving" spiritual realm being the only real existence, as gleaned from his own "transformative" experience, still even take sides on what constitutes "ours", "his", "theirs", worldly titles, positions, authority, political feuds, and all that which bleed a primitive and "un- enlightened" separation between us and them throughout not only ruminations on persons, events, and discoveries in the author's own life story but also especially his fawning over a "Dalai Lama" who's still in pursuit of the partisan goal of regaining his worldly position of authority in a fracture piece of this physical world?
FYI, the Buddha reportedly once said that he himself is nothing more than a "shit-stick". Compare the reflection inherent from that statement with the behavior of the "Dalai Lama", a self-proclaimed "reincarnation" of the Buddha's representative on Earth who, along with the exiled former class of slave owners which he represents, trots around the globe campaigning for sympathies from China's political rivals on the world stage with tales full of deceit, and it shouldn't be that difficult to see the difference between the real and the fake, even if you were not that observant or smart. Or, look at it another way. Ordinary people in the lower classes, including slaves, in Xizang (tibet) at the time, neither had such motivation nor the means to escape from Xizang. So, most of those who did escape had to be the richest and most powerful slave-owning "elites". Of course, the "Dalai Lama" can speak of having more awareness about the nature of consciousness than the average person, but so could all religious leaders throughout the history of all religions in this world. Yet, if you ever studied history, you would realize that all such leaders used their "understandings" of reality for personal advantage to further their very worldly agendas of grabbing political power and perpetuating tribalistic conflict. I think, even far worse than being un-enlightened is pretending to be "enlightened" in words but not action.
I could forgive the author for lacking the ability to read the charlatan, hypocrite, and the political hack so obvious in the "Dalai Lama's" character when gleaned from even one look at the person. But what about Karen Newell? Does Karen Newell, the co-author who is supposedly a "pre-cog", "telepath", or perhaps clairvoyant and the like, also not have any sense about the wolf in "Lama's" clothing? (Pun intended) That would seriously compel me to doubt the authenticity of the person whom she claims to be and the "aura" that someone ascribed to her in the book. Furthermore, how could an author who implores others throughout the book to keep their minds open in the spirit of scientific inquiry decide, a priori, to only believe an one-sided story when it comes to the "Dalai Lama"? That's very un-scientific, indeed! Where's the author's "spirit" of scientific inquiry? Does the author think that the "spirit of science" should only be narrowly tailored to investigations of quantum physics, neuroscience, and consciousness, but not that of everything else, including human events? That would certainly contradict the spirit of the author's message from this book at its essence. Unless, we would entertain the possibility that the author is a kindred hypocrite as the "Dalai Lama", which might explain the apparent kinship between them, if we were to also take a page from the common principle of "like attracts like". Thus, one possible conclusion from all these observations is that although the author had cogently argued the case for the nature of reality, it also seems pretty obvious that having intelligence in some areas (e.g. quantum physics, neuroscience, neurosurgery...etc) does not automatically translate into having intelligence in others(e.g. ability to read people, thinking critically in general, etc.). No matter how much the author believes his NDE experience has "transformed" him, it apparently did not change his nature as a person at the core. That is, the same Eben Alexander who used to naturally shut his mind off to anything paranormal and non-materialist still retains the same basic qualities, even though his mind is now more open than before but only in a tightly controlled way to specific areas of thought such as paranormal phenomena, the nature of reality and consciousness. In other words, no matter how many superlatives he uses to describe the extent of his experience at the "core" of the spiritual realm, there is no fundamental change in how his brain functions as a filter of the higher mind which could provide a much greater source of intelligence and insight, even though he is now able to appreciate the concept and contemplate its potential.
I used to like the author's writings until these patterns became all too obvious to ignore. In hindsight, I shouldn't have discounted the feeling I got upon my first-look at his gaze from a photo, one of presumptuous small-mindedness at best and a presence of evil and crookedness at worst. If it hadn't been for some positive influences from people like his dad under the circumstances of his upbringing, Eben Alexander's nature might have led him to do abhorrent things instead of becoming an accomplished neurosurgeon. Though I learned quite a bit from this book, especially in the first five chapters which discussed the current quantum-physical underpinnings for the clues to the problem of consciousness, I have lost almost all respect for the author himself in view of the totality of observations which I have made above, so much so that I wouldn't even feel comfortable to address him by his title of Dr. as a result.
Karen’s vocal performance was excruciating to listen to. She sounds like a robot talking to a 3 year old. The whole thing felt like Dr. Alexander had found his Yoko Ono and was flaunting his new infatuation and business endeavors. For people like me, who have studied the NDE field for years, this was rudimentary information and felt like an infomercial. I did try, but it was too annoying to finish. Returned for a credit.