What happens after death? Is there really an afterlife? Is
death just and illusion and do we continue our
existence in a parallel Universe?
These questions have been debated since the dawn of our own existence. A majority of all ancient philosophers, pagans and Christians alike, agreed that death
is the separation of a soul and a body. But happens to your soul once your body ceased to function?
Modern scientists have so far been unable to offer anything than speculation on the subject of near-death experience. The "other side" remains unknown.
Perhaps it is necessary to have an out-of-body experience in order to learn more about what happens to us when we die?
Dr Eben Alexander, a Harvard-educated neurosurgeon was skeptical to the idea of an afterlife. However, an accident forced him to reevaluate his views and
he became convinced there is a heaven.
In 2008 Dr. Alexander fell into coma for seven days. What happened to him changed his entire life.
"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,"
Dr. Alexander an essay for American magazine Newsweek.
As a scientist Dr. Alexander did not put much, if any faith in God. And he would hardly describe himself as a believer.
In 2008 during his coma, Dr.Alexander's brain was inactivated
and he says that he experienced something so profound that it gave him a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.
What happens to our soul when we die?
"I know how pronouncements like mine sound to skeptics, so I will tell my story with the logic and language of the scientist I am.
Very early one morning four years ago, I awoke with an extremely intense headache. Within hours, my entire cortex-the part of the brain that controls
thought and emotion and that in essence makes us human-had shut down.
Doctors at Lynchburg General Hospital in Virginia, a hospital where I myself worked as a neurosurgeon, determined that I had somehow contracted a very rare
bacterial meningitis that mostly attacks newborns. E. coli bacteria had penetrated my cerebrospinal fluid and were eating my brain.
When I entered the emergency room that morning, my chances of survival in anything beyond a vegetative state were already low. They soon sank to near nonexistent.
For seven days I lay in a deep coma, my body unresponsive, my higher-order brain functions totally offline.
Then, on the morning of my seventh day in the hospital, as my doctors weighed whether to discontinue treatment, my eyes popped open.
Alexander discusses his experience on the Science channel's 'Through the Wormhole.'
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.
But that dimension-in rough outline, the same one described by countless subjects of near-death experiences and other mystical states-is there. It exists,
and what I saw and learned there has placed me quite literally in a new world: a world where we are much more than our brains and bodies, and where death is
not the end of consciousness but rather a chapter in a vast, and incalculably positive, journey.
People who have near-death experiences often recall seeing a white light.
I'm not the first person to have discovered evidence that consciousness exists beyond the body. Brief, wonderful glimpses of this realm are as old as human history.
But as far as I know, no one before me has ever traveled to this dimension (a) while their cortex was completely shut down, and (b) while their body was under minute
medical observation, as mine was for the full seven days of my coma," Dr. Alexander says.
While being in coma, Dr. Alexander says he visited heaven where he met beautiful blue-eyed woman in a "place of clouds, big fluffy pink-white ones"
"It took me months to come to terms with what happened to me. Not just the medical impossibility that I had been conscious during my coma, but-more importantly-the
things that happened during that time. Toward the beginning of my adventure, I was in a place of clouds."
Dr. Alexander say he was taken to a place above the clouds.
He continues: "Birds? Angels? These words registered later, when I was writing down my recollections. But neither of these words do justice to the beings
themselves, which were quite simply different from anything I have known on this planet. They were more advanced. Higher forms."
The doctor adds that a "huge and booming like a glorious chant, came down from above, and I wondered if the winged beings were producing it. The sound
was palpable and almost material, like a rain that you can feel on your skin but doesn't get you wet."
"Seeing and hearing were not separate in this place where I now was. I could hear the visual beauty of the silvery bodies of those scintillating beings
above, and I could see the surging, joyful perfection of what they sang," Dr. Alexander explains.
"I know full well how extraordinary, how frankly unbelievable, all this sounds. Had someone-even a doctor-told me a story like this in the old days,
I would have been quite certain that they were under the spell of some delusion. But what happened to me was, far from being delusional, as real or more
real than any event in my life. That includes my wedding day and the birth of my two sons.
What happened to me demands explanation.
Modern physics tells us that the universe is a unity-that it is undivided. Though we seem to live in a world of separation and difference, physics tells
us that beneath the surface, every object and event in the universe is completely woven up with every other object and event. There is no true separation,"
Dr. Alexander says and he is now more convinced than ever that there is an afterlife and heaven is real.