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A Brain Scientist’s ‘No Brainer’ NDE


“The brain does not create consciousness,
but consciousness created the brain,
the most complex physical form on earth, for its expression.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
I regard consciousness as fundamental.
I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.
We cannot get behind consciousness.
Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing,
postulates consciousness.
~ Max Planck, Nobel laureate physicist, as quoted in The Observer (25 January 1931)
“The very study of the physical world leads to the conclusion that
consciousness is an ultimate reality and,
all the possible knowledge, concerning objects
can be given as its wave function”
~ Eugene Wigner, Nobel laureate physicist and co-founder of quantum mechanics

 



Introduction.

For millennia mystics and seers have realized experientially that our space/time/causality reality is but a play of consciousness; that all impermanent appearances, all apparent forms and phenomena – including human brains – are but holographic projections of timeless Universal Awareness.

But very few scientists have shared this revelatory mystical world view. Most scientists do not regard as “real” that which is beyond perception and conception.

Rather than recognizing consciousness as the ultimate and eternal Source of our reality, reductionistic and materialistic mainstream science says that brains generate consciousness, and that we see via our brains.

However, there have been innumerable published reports of near death and out of body experiences and other mystical experiences which contradict this mainstream brain hypothesis. (*See footnote re Near Death Experiences [NDE’s].) Nonetheless, until now most brain scientists have dismissed these reports as untrustworthy “anecdotal” evidence. Rarely have mainstream brain scientists transcended their mistaken materialistic paradigm. But there have been noteworthy exceptions. (see e.g. Atlantic Monthly: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.)

Dr. Eben Alexander

Thus, in October 2012 Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who has taught at Harvard Medical School, went public with an autobiographical account of a life changing dramatic and vivid near death experience (NDE) of what he called “heaven” while he was in a week-long comatose state with a non-functional brain neocortex. (His best-selling first book, ”Proof of Heaven”, was published by Simon and Schuster on October 23, 2012.)

Dr. Alexander reported being told in “heaven”:

“‘You have nothing to fear. There is nothing you can do wrong.’ The message flooded me with a vast and crazy sensation of relief.”


He has written that prior to his NDE he did not believe in such experiences, and ‘scientifically’ dismissed them.

“As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences. I grew up in a scientific world, the son of a neurosurgeon. I followed my father’s path and became an academic neurosurgeon, teaching at Harvard Medical School and other universities. I understand what happens to the brain when people are near death, and I had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death.”

“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.”

“There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.”


Raised as a Christian, Dr. Alexander used the religious concepts of “God” and “heaven”, to describe his extraordinary experience.

“Communicating with God is the most extraordinary experience imaginable, yet at the same time it’s the most natural one of all, because God is present in us at all times. Omniscient, omnipotent, personal-and loving us without conditions. We are connected as One through our divine link with God.”


Apart from referring to God, he also identified unconditional Love as the the ultimate Reality and “basis of everything” that exists.

“Love is, without a doubt, the basis of everything. Not some abstract, hard-to-fathom kind of love but the day-to-day kind that everyone knows-the kind of love we feel when we look at our spouse and our children, or even our animals. In its purest and most powerful form, this love is not jealous or selfish, but unconditional. This is the reality of realities, the incomprehensibly glorious truth of truths that lives and breathes at the core of everything that exists or will ever exist, and no remotely accurate understanding of who and what we are can be achieved by anyone who does not know it, and embody it in all of their actions.”


With newfound openness to “anecdotal” evidence, Dr. Alexander now expresses optimism that as science and mysticism ever more agree, humankind will evolve to wonderful new states of being.

And so may it be!

Footnote

*Near Death Experiences [NDE’s].

The term ‘Near Death Experience’ [NDE] was coined in 1975 by Raymond A. Moody, Jr., PhD, MD, in his book Life After Life which sold over thirteen million copies worldwide. Since then numerous NDE accounts have been published and discussed in mainstream media, on the internet, in films and videos, and in magazines and books. Many spiritually inspiring NDE stories have been published and researched by the International Association For Near-Death Studies [IANDS] and others. So NDE’s have become widely considered, especially by those who claim to have experienced them. And some non-materialist scientists cite NDE’s as evidence that consciousness survives physical death. For millions of people NDE’s, and other extraordinary mystical experiences, have proven to be spiritually inspirational, and transformative events, diminishing or ending fear of death and encouraging a newly open, trusting and loving lifestyle. (see e.g. Atlantic Monthly: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.)


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How Can We Think More Objectively?

“We are formed and molded by our thoughts.
Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts
give joy when they speak or act.
Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.”
~ Buddha
“Those who know how to think need no teachers.”
~  Mahatma Gandhi



Q. How can we think more objectively?

A. We can’t.

Thinking objectively is an oxymoronic illusion.
Thought is subjective; so everyone thinks subjectively.

To transcend thinking in the ‘subject-object’ box,
we can intuit our wholeness – as both subject and object.

Thus realizing that the essence of one is the essence of all,
we can more and more think holistically, compassionately and authentically.

So, think less, and intuit more;

Think with your Heart, not your head.



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Inner Illumination

“There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, …
beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in your Heart.”
~ Chandogya Upanishad 3.13.7



Beyond duality “reality” of darkness and light –
of outer light casting shadows –

There glows within each of us
a timeless shadowless effulgence;

The invisible Source of all visible light.

Knowingly or unknowingly,
but irresistibly,
we seek to emerge from all shadows

And to merge with That
shadowless inner effulgence

Which is our own true Self –

The light of universal Awareness:

Ever glowing,
Ever growing,
Ever knowing –

Itself.


Ron’s audio recitation of Inner Illumination

Listen to


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Tuned Out, To Turn On

“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self.
Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self.
Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self.
The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it,
he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi


Once, I found an artesian well
of bubbling bliss
deep down – within;
way below what I knew
before I found it.

Like a Divine bovine udder
it had several spigots.

Spigots for tears, for laughter,
for songs, and for sutras.

It flowed from different spigots
at different no-times,
but never at no no-time.

I often drank and bathed at that well.

Then Bush* was [s]elected.
What a turn-off!
What a spigot stopper!

I was looking for a turn on –
a spigot restarter.
Any spigot would do.

Then, Eureka! I found it!

I tuned out Bush, and it turned on bliss;
bubbling Bliss
from deep down – within.

Now, I’m a blissful old man

[or am I?] .

 

*This whimsical poem was written soon after the beginning of the 21st century: with Y2K, the unprecedented Supreme Court selection and inauguration of the Bush-Cheney administration, and the terrorism of 9/11/2001, as alleged justification for severe civil liberties deprivations and insane wars that followed 9/11. Now in March 2012, I’ve come to regard the name “Bush” as a metaphor for most American politicians and politics, which I then viewed with dismay and disdain. But now, though still deeply concerned with planetary crises and suffering caused by insane and undemocratic decisions of so-called leaders, I’ve gradually come to see “what is” as a mostly destined play of incarnate Cosmic Consciousness. And while intending to be a compassionate presence that helps our precious planet and its lifeforms with beneficent thoughts, words, and deeds, I long for existence as Oneness Awareness, even beyond bliss.



Ron’s recitation of Tuned Out, To Turn On.

Listen to


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Synchronicity Inquiry

“Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.”
~ Carl Jung
“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Friedrich Schiller
“People … who believe in physics, know that
the distinction between past, present, and future
is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
~ Albert Einstein





Q. What are synchronicities?

A. Synchronicities are noteworthy “premonitions” or “coincidences” in time mysteriously arising from unexplained causes and conditions which connect events, actions and thoughts; and, which show us that in Nature, there is no time and there are no “coincidences – that everything that is, was, or will be is NOW; and, that everything is inter-connected and happens in harmony and synchrony – concurrently, not coincidentally.

Q. Why are synchronicities in time often noteworthy or meaningful?

A. Synchronicities in time are often noteworthy or meaningful because as we live in linear time they remind us of our unchanging timeless consciousness – which is our true Reality. And they can show our complicity in co-creating our ever changing world “reality”.

Time is how human mind tries to measure the immeasurable NOW.

As Einstein observed:

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think.”


Space and time are but convenient conceptions of thought.

Though convenient, time is not congruent with Nature’s way –
the timeless Tao.

As thought, time is always then, not NOW; so living in time is living in the past.

As we transcend living conceptually in past time, and begin living authentically in timeless Presence, we notice more and more “synchronicities”.

And the more frequently we see synchronicities, the more they show we’re in the Flow – the Tao; the Eternal NOW.

So, when events seeming random happen in tandem,
it’s then we’ll know we’re in the flow

the Tao; the Eternal NOW.

Thus, because humankind almost always live in time, synchronistic signs of timeless Reality often seem so noteworthy or meaningful.

Q. How do synchronicities appear in our lives?

A. Synchronicities originate in now hidden depths of mind – at transpersonal and seemingly ‘chaotic’ quantum levels of existence. The more we intuitively entrain with those higher levels of consciousness, the more we are in harmony with the natural order, and the more we see synchronicities manifesting in our lives.

We live in an ever changing participatory vibratory relative “reality” wherein creation is vibration and oscillation, and where we are creative oscillating, vibrating vortices – interconnected and interdependent with all of Nature.

Thus, everything we think, do or say changes this world in some way.

Synchronicities are resonant exteriorations or manifestations of our subtle higher vibrations – our thoughts, intentions and emanations. The higher, subtler and more focused our vibratory frequencies, the more luminous our emanations. And as we become more luminous, our synchronicities become more numerous and more numinous.

Q. How shall we interpret synchronicities?

A. Synchronicities, like dreams, can be meaningful metaphoric messages that help guide us from deep levels of consciousness; and they can present us with evolutionary opportunities, if we recognize and act on them. Even the Dalai Lama has said: “I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.”

Synchronicities also can be seen as positive “biofeedback’ signs that we are in harmony with the natural order.

Synchronicities reveal the harmonious ONENESS of the Universe – both manifest and unmanifest, implicate and explicate. And the more we see that ONENESS, the more we see synchronicity as normality.

Thus, synchronicities can be seen as significant signs and reminders that temporal linearity is a cosmic irregularity, that “reality” isn’t mechanistic, and that the universe doesn’t work as we’ve thought or been taught.

And so, synchronicities can spur an inner search for a new “reality” paradigm, ultimately leading to the transformational discovery that our ever changing world “reality” isn’t really Real; that our unchanging timeless consciousness is our true Reality.

Q. How can synchronicities inspire us?

A. Synchronicities can infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for all miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet.

As we see each synchronicity as a mysterious, miraculous and numinous sign and reminder of our interdependence with all Life, we are inspired to BE – in sympathy and harmony with all Life.


Q. Can synchronicities help us harmonize with Nature?

A. Yes. To harmonize with Nature we must intuitively and reverently commune with our natural environment. Synchronicities can help us awaken from misconceived dreams of separation from Nature, so as to honor intuitive insights over mistaken or misguided mental processes.

Mistakenly thinking ourselves separate from our observations and perceptions, we try to explain them with thoughts and logical analyses. This mental process often leads to such preoccupation with details and minutia that we lose a reverent, holistic and macrocosmic view of our miraculous space/time natural environment. And we have thereby become alienated from Nature, and have ignorantly created ecological crises.

Synchronicities can remind us of the limitations of thought, and of the dangers of alienation from an intuitively participatory way of being in this world; that as thinkers, we do not and cannot understand Nature; that we are part of a participatory natural order in which everything/ everyone is interdependent; and, that everything we think, do or say changes this world in some way.

With this awareness we are spurred to harmonize with Nature.

And so may it be!


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