Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Dr Eben Alexander, Simon & Schuster, NY, 2012; 208 pages, ISBN 978-1451695199, paperback $15.99.

In 2008 Dr Eben Alexander contracted bacterial meningitis, a deadly brain infection, and he slipped into a coma for seven days. Even though his body lay seemingly lifeless in the Intensive Care Unit, this book describes his amazing spiritual journey whilst his body lay close to death. He describes how first he descended into a mucky jelly-like realm which he describes as the ‘Realm of the Earth-Worm View,’ then was guided by a beautiful girl on the wings of a butterfly onwards to an immense void through ‘The Gateway’ into a stunningly beautiful landscape with orb-like spiritual beings flying high above, and then gradually was absorbed into an ‘Orb of Light’ which taught him lessons on the nature of spiritual reality by becoming the reality which underlies our manifest universe. He goes on to reconcile his experiences with his neuroscientiific knowledge of medical conditions and even quantum theory from modern physics to show that his experiences were very real to him.

None of this will surprise theosophical students familiar with the various after-death realms described in theosophical classics and by ancestors from many lands. What is new is the impact this book has already had on millions of people worldwide, as this was an instant best-seller when it was published in late 2012 because of the author’s subsequent interview with Oprah Winfrey and the fact that the author is a medical doctor and a brain specialist at that. This book is an extremely valuable addition to rational or evidence-based spiritual knowledge which is very appealing to the modern Western mind and encourages those unlikely to accept spiritual teachings from more traditional sources. As Dr Alexander himself says: “it is my belief that we are facing a crucial time in our existence. We need to recover more of that larger knowledge while living here on earth…” This book is highly recommended as an influential contribution to the literature of near-death experience and rational spirituality. Andrew Rooke

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