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26 July 2013

Eben Alexander: Proof of Heaven

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How can we know until we get there?
Eban Alexander is a talented neurosurgeon with extensive experience of how the brain operates and how it closes down under physical trauma and life threatening infections. One day Eban is a healthy person, the next day he is fighting for his life with an extremely rare e-coli bacterial meningitis which has shut down all of the neocortex of his brain - the part that makes us human. "Inoperative, In essence, absent. When your brain is absent you are absent, too."

This book is about Eban's experiences (memories?) when he was completely absent and on the edge of death for seven days. He didn't have a body but he remembers visiting places in a beautiful dream world - which to him was completely real. No words are spoken there but he clearly gets the message "You are loved - love is without doubt the basis of everything." During his NDE Eban remembers being allowed a grand tour of the most amazing and indescribable places with different levels of comfort before he miraculously returns to reality and life.

This was an interesting and well written book but not as much of an epiphany to me as to some others who have stronger beliefs. I was especially reassured by the theme of love which is absent from so many of the things that happen throughout the world every day. I am an agnostic and don't really know what all of this means, how it affects me or even if I believe Eban's experiences, which could easily have been generated at the time his brain function was starting up again.

This book is outside my normal reading diet of best-selling thrillers and mysteries and provided an interesting interlude. I was amazed by the popularity of this book and the number of reviews which are only normally exceeded to my knowledge by erotica like Fifty Shades of Grey and YA tastes for Harry Potter.

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