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I feel a strange discomfort in being unable to find anything you write with which I can disagree. I am a scientist and, God help me, a lawyer, so you understand my dilemma. Yet, I am learning two wonderful lessons.
1) It is ok to say, "I don't know". Indeed, it feels good, very freeing.
2) I can learn from other people, if I listen, and feel no need to debate.
Thanks.

Wow! Thanks Michael. Great post. All the things I've been sharing for years. Same thing Carl Turner says in his "kundalini" experience (what he calls it), what Michelle M shares in her NDE description, what Mark H says in his, etc. I've read a plethora of NDEs and about a third of them have this same message, "everything is okay." And if you are a believer in the holographic universe theory as I am that makes sense because in a hologram it is all already written just as the whole movie is on a Netflix DVD. The soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it is holistically imprinted with what it needs to learn regardless of who we are, or where we live, or what we believe. We are all healed when we make contact with that light. The separation we experience in this life simply does not exist in the next. It is impossible to "sin" in the next life simply because we are so connected with everything that we would feel the pain of those whom we wronged. You can't hurt someone in heaven without hurting yourself.

"I suddenly became completely aware that everything was absolutely okay."

And yet this, and related comments, are what Abram Maslow wold describe as the 'peak experience: an indication of psychological health.

Heaven sounds beautiful :)

Everything is okay and happening the way it is supposed to.

Excerpt from Dr. Taudo's mystical experience, from Transcendental Experiences of Scientists,
"Although no words were exchanged in that brief eye-to-eye encounter, it seemed to me the message was clear: "So, for a moment, you see. Relax. Don't take yourself so seriously! All is well. We are forever one."
https://issc-taste.org/arc/dbo.cgi?set=expom&id=00070&ss=1

From Jame's E's NDE description,
"I was not "told" anything in the light, as much as, I just knew everything there was to know. I knew why there was bad in the world, I knew why there was good, I knew that every little thing that will ever occur here, is exactly planned out, in order to bring about something else. Everything we have ever done or known or will know, is perfectly planned out and perfectly in tune."
https://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/james_e_nde.htm

From Michelle M's NDE description,
"I felt an understanding about life, what it was, is. As if it was a dream in itself. It's so very hard to explain this part. I'll try, but my words limit the fullness of it. I don't have the words here, but I understood that it really didn't matter what happened in the life experience, I knew/understood that it was intense, brief, but when we were in it, it seemed like forever. I understood that whatever happened in life, I was really ok, and so were the others here."
https://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/michelle_m%27s_nde.htm

Excerpt from Carl Turner's mystical experience,
"I had the realization that I was everywhere at the same time...and I mean everywhere. I knew that everything is perfect and happening according to some divine plan, regardless of all the things we see as wrong with the world."
https://www.beyondreligion.com/su_personal/dreamsvisions-kundalini.htm

From the Universe as a Hologram,
"At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously."
https://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html

I see where Keith Augustine is publishing "The Myth of the Afterlife." I am assuming the same ole tired "logical" and "natural" explanations will be given. Thing is I don't think life as by product is natural and I don't think brain chemistry producing all reality is more logical than consciousness being foundational instead of something created out of nothing by chemicals and matter that came out of ? Anyway, I am skeptical but I still have hope and books like "Map of Heaven" to me at least offer some reason for the human condition. I admit I'm biased. I really don't put any of my hopes in the prospect of personal oblivion. ;-)

"This, says Bohm, is precisely what is going on between the subatomic particles in Aspect's experiment. According to Bohm, the apparent faster-than-light connection between subatomic particles is really telling us that there is a deeper level of reality we are not privy to, a more complex dimension beyond our own that is analogous to the aquarium. And, he adds, we view objects such as subatomic particles as separate from one another because we are seeing only a portion of their reality".

I think what Bohm says shows much about a human's understanding of experience, and is relevant to the discussion on reality - that it is outside our senses and understanding.

We have poor sight and senses compared to many animals, and we are what we experience.

I know since the early rat study they have done more studies and found that if they gave a specific protein to mice immediately after a memory, they would not encode it. But if delayed by hours, the consolidation would occur, and you could not erase the memory. It also worked on humans, if they were distracted immediately after given information, they failed to encode the memory. So encoding and consolidation of information in humans was a process.

Human memory ( I did so many bloody cognition papers at uni) is involved with categorisation too. So if you see a dog- all the sub- categories that are attached come forward when recalling information. They find with specialists, say a botanist for example, that the categories for plants are more layered and complex.

Categorisation suggests that what we experience and understand is coded into our brain in a specific way and really makes us what we are. And memory (even though particles may be connected) seems to be retained by us in accordance with how we experience it.

Perhaps that is what science is yet to understand, although reality seems a certain way, it may be quite different to how it is seen to be, experienced or readily understood.

Its why I think scientists, skeptics etc can't really think any other way. Meaning, categories etc are just wired that way in their brain, and for some like Bernado Kastrap, it is only an anomalous experience that breaks that conditioned reasoning. Lyn x.

Art,

From one of your excerpts:

"I knew that every little thing that will ever occur here, is exactly planned out, in order to bring about something else."

I'm always very troubled by this sentiment and my metaphysics leans heavily in the direction of indeterminacy. Are we to believe that the rape of a child, for example, has been deliberately planned - whether by God, the system, the soul, or whatever?

I am sorry to be a bit of a spoilsport here, after having read all those glowing comments.

This book, although certainly not bad, was a little disappointing for me. I had hoped that EA's second book would be a thorough scientific refutation of the sometimes downright nasty even brutal criticisms leveled against him.

Perhaps he thought that it would not be worth the trouble?

I've just read "The modern book of the dead" by the co-author Ptolemy Tompkins. It was very good.

I've yet to read the map of heaven. Might buy it. Didn't read his first book "proof of heaven". The title put me off!

Chris, rape is another way of experiencing separation. "I am not you." It has to be emotional enough so that we remember it forever. There is a strong connection between emotion and memory. The good thing is though that after we die our soul is healed in that light. All the bad stuff we experienced in this life we let go of. I think we look back on this life like it was a dream or an illusion. Everyone is healed when they enter the light.

excerpt from Michelle M's NDE description,
"I felt an understanding about life, what it was, is. As if it was a dream in itself. It's so very hard to explain this part. I'll try, but my words limit the fullness of it. I don't have the words here, but I understood that it really didn't matter what happened in the life experience, I knew/understood that it was intense, brief, but when we were in it, it seemed like forever. I understood that whatever happened in life, I was really ok, and so were the others here."
https://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/michelle_m%27s_nde.htm

We have to believe we have free will so the soul's lessons evoke the emotion that is necessary to imprint on our consciousness the memories of the lessons we experience throughout our life. There is a strong connection between emotion and memory. The more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates.

Emotions Make the Memory Last - WebMD
Jan 31, 2005 - "Ever wonder why some memories can stay vivid for years while others fade with time? The answer is emotion."

If we knew absolutely 100% for certain that one day we were going to be reunited with our loved ones in heaven we might not mourn as much when we lose them and the death of someone we love would cease to be the most powerful lesson separation that it is.

We here in this life can't begin to comprehend the overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness in heaven. We come here simply to experience and learn the things that can't be learned in heaven. Separation, time and space, what it's like to be inside and control a physical body, and make memories of living in a 3 dimensional + 1 time Universe.

You can't learn to drive a car simply by reading a book about it watching a video of it. You have to actually get behind the wheel and drive the car to learn how to drive it. The same thing is true of learning about being in control of a body. You have to get in it and take ownership of it to learn about being in a physical body. Before that we are just pure consciousness, without limits and without any knowledge of time and space or being in a body or what it means or how it feels to be separate.

This side is just a holographic illusion, a projection. Nothing happening here is real. After we die we will look back on this life like it was a "dream in itself" or an illusion.

excerpt from Roger Ebert's final moments with his wife,
"That week before Roger passed away, I would see him and he would talk about having visited this other place. I thought he was hallucinating. I thought they were giving him too much medication. But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note: "This is all an elaborate hoax." I asked him, "What's a hoax?" And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn't visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can't even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once."
https://www.esquire.com/blogs/news/roger-ebert-final-moments

And by the way what Roger Ebert stays matches exactly with what Michael Talbot wrote about one might expect if someone were living in or on holographic film.

The Universe as a Hologram - Michael Talbot
https://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html

Thanks to you, Michael, I just started reading this and am really enjoying it. It's erudite yet unabashedly mystical.

I love his discussion of what's real and what's not, and his explanation of the importance of Plato and Aristotle, and how they differ from each other.

And I'm pleased to see that he makes a big point of stressing something I always like to talk about, as captured in this quote from Plato:

"What we call learning is only a process of recollection."

So we come to Earth agreeing to forget our true nature. And returning to our source (to heaven, in Alexander's lingo) means, above all, undoing our amnesia.

Side note: boy, do I enjoy reading on my new Kindle Paperwhite!

I found this part especially moving - or familiar? - to me, the part about homesickness:

"It’s water that’s deeply familiar – so that when you see it you realize that all the most beautiful waterscapes you ever saw on earth were beautiful precisely because they were reminding you of it."

I've experienced this feeling so many times, maybe thousands of times. It's almost feeling sad when seeing something beautiful.

Art, your idea that everything is meant to happen also makes sense on an intuitive level. But then, it's hard to make sense when the horrible things happen. Then again, there are many accounts of good things happening out of bad things. We see this every day. So, as usual, I don't know.

Kathleen, it's not about this life, it's about the next. This life is temporary, and in reality "not real", not the main show. The other side is home and is permanent and eternal. This side is temporary and in reality just an illusion. Or as Roger Ebert calls it "a hoax."

This life has to be the way it is in order to overcome those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness in heaven. The lessons we experience have to evoke enough emotion to overcome those feelings of oneness and connectedness in heaven. It has to do with the physics of holographic film. If we don't come here and experience separation, time and space, what it feels like to be inside a body, etc. you can't become a separate unique individual.

We here in this reality can't begin to comprehend the feelings of oneness and connectedness in heaven. We interpret those feelings as "love" but it is so powerful and overwhelming we would lose our identity or sense of individuality, even knowing or understanding what it means and how it feels to be separate, if we didn't have experiences that evoke enough emotion to imprint on the soul what it means and how it feels to be separate.

Smithy said:

"I had hoped that EA's second book would be a thorough scientific refutation of the sometimes downright nasty even brutal criticisms leveled against him."

I haven't finished the book yet, but I have a different take on this. I agree that winning an argument can be satisfying (perhaps), but I think Alexander is playing a bigger game than punch and counter-punch.

Rather than arguing with the scientific establishment on its own terms, he thinks that the conversation, and science itself, needs to undergo fundamental changes. He's saying that science needs to become intellectually humble and more open to learning as the mystic learns: through experience, rather than mere logic.

(And I'm talking here about *mainstream* science. Because, as he points out, the original cutting edge physicists like Planck, Heisenberg, and Schrodinger were long ago "driven into mysticism in their efforts to fully comprehend the results of their experiments about the working of the subatomic world.")

At one point, he talks about the ancient Mystery Schools that Michael wrote about recently. He says that science needs to adopt some of their methods -- that it needs to foster the sorts of powerful experiences that can re-connect us with the spiritual truths we left behind when were born into this world.

And I couldn't agree more. As a long-time atheist, I can tell you that all the best arguments and evidence in the world couldn't possibly have convinced me of the reality of what I encountered during my own peak transformative experiences.

That's why the book is replete with the experiences of his readers. And it's why it ends (though I haven't gotten to that part yet) with suggestions about how readers can enter those states of consciousness and learn for themselves what he has learned.

And for my taste, that's a more potent and uplifting premise for a book than simply rebutting the objections skeptics always use to downplay what they've never experienced, and thus can't be expected to understand.

"We here in this reality can't begin to comprehend the feelings of oneness and connectedness in heaven."

The peace that passeth all understanding?

\\"We here in this reality can't begin to comprehend the feelings of oneness and connectedness in heaven." (Art)//
------------------------------------
"The peace that passeth all understanding?"- Julie//
----------------------

Julie that statement is actually a quote from a near death experience I remember reading one time. I can't remember the woman's name but I remember what she said. It is congruent with the holographic universe theory so that is why I repeat it so often. I am always sort of amazed by the connection between NDEs and the holographic universe theory so I figure it can't be by accident. I think it is telling us something very profound about life and our Universe.

"I haven't finished the book yet, but I have a different take on this. I agree that winning an argument can be satisfying (perhaps), but I think Alexander is playing a bigger game than punch and counter-punch."

Often, when people have a Near-Death Experience, they seem to loose interest in arguing or debating. They seem to embrace what they experienced with total confidence. It's not surprising that Eben Alexander does the same after his NDE.

Isn't it also a quote from the Bible?

I've bought it and started reading it.

You can experience a NDE for yourself you don't have to die. Leave your body by means of astral projection -OBE.

Or, a very fast way is to take a high dose of paychedelic like LSD or DMT. T

Both will provide the spiritual experience exactly the same as NDE and proof of the after life, and reality is an illusion.

Psychedelics exist for this purpose exactly - that's the big secret kept back from us.

Wake up and take some LSD.

Hey, Alexander needed more product. So he wrote another book. Nothing mysterious about this, all novelists do it.

Hi Michael -

Can you link to a source that references that specific quote from Huxley? It's hard to discern, due to the formatting you used on the quote - where Huxley's words end and yours begin. I tried to google the part of the quote I assumed were Huxley's, using quotations to keep it specific - but the only results that come up are your blog post, which is unusual for a well documented piece of prose from a well known author like Huxley.

I do know that he exited this world with a good amount of LSD in his system....and the days leading up to his death are pretty well documented in writing by those at his bedside - so if you have a link to that quote, I'd love to see it and read it again myself. :-)

The Huxley quote is from:

https://www.sirbacon.org/links/huxley2.htm

Here's the relevant paragraph:

"Prospero is here enunciating the doctrine of Maya. The world is an illusion, but it is an illusion which we must take seriously, because it is real as far as it goes, and in those aspects of the reality which we are capable of apprehending. Our business is to wake up. We have to find ways in which to detect the whole of reality in the one illusory part which our self-centered consciousness permits us to see. We must not live thoughtlessly, taking our illusion for the complete reality, but at the same time we must not live too thoughtfully in the sense of trying to escape from the dream state. We must continually be on our watch for ways in which we may enlarge our consciousness. We must not attempt to live outside the world, which is given us, but we must somehow learn how to transform it and transfigure it. Too much 'wisdom' is as bad as too little wisdom, and there must be no magic tricks. We must learn to come to reality without the enchanter's wand and his book of the words. One must find a way of being in this world while not being of it. A way of living in time without being completely swallowed up in time."

Great Huxley quote, Michael. One I agree with whole heartedly.

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