The first book about my NDE, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (2012), hit a resounding chord with readers around the world, and yet I felt that the title prevented some in the scientific community from reading the book. Those who have read it realize that it is a commentary on the nature of the mind-brain relationship, and especially of the fundamental nature of consciousness itself. While my story certainly supports the reality of an afterlife, the book is far from being just a discourse on “heaven.”
The revelations of my message address the very fundamental nature of reality and human experience, and cover territory well beyond the question of whether or not some aspect of consciousness survives the death of the brain and body. Such knowledge is directly relevant to how we approach life in myriad ways. It is a mistake to assume that Proof of Heaven is simply a clear-cut confirmation of the teachings of modern-day Christianity (an accusation from close-minded skeptics who I’m convinced have not read the book, but rather are simply recoiling at the title). Of course, my overall message greatly supports the original teachings of Christ, which places love as the central guiding force and stresses the connectedness we share through love, but it is not limited to Christians alone.
Many times each month, I am asked to give interviews and presentations. In a recent interview conducted by Elise Loehnen in New York, while Karen Newell and I were guest presenters at Gwyneth Paltrow’s in Goop Health event, we were able to crystallize the main points of our message succinctly. The appropriately titled podcast (one that makes our message accessible to all), “Is there Proof of a Spiritual Universe?” was posted on May 24, 2018, and we felt it would be of particular value to our friends and followers to hear it. Also just posted is a Goop Q&A with Karen where she discusses her own path of spiritual awakening.
The spiritual realm is not exclusive to any one group of people – it is accessible to us all and this fact greatly affects how we live our lives here and now. My books and talks have resulted in a deluge of communications from practitioners of some of the deep mystical traditions of many faiths (Kabbalah, Christianity, Islam, Sufism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Bahá’í Faith, among others), confirming the resonance of my journey and message with their own understandings. I can’t stress enough that our message is for all humans. But, at its core, my mission and process are scientific, based on personal experience and on a modern rational approach to understanding how best to interpret such experiences in drawing conclusions about the nature of reality.
My second book, The Map of Heaven: How Science, Religion, and Ordinary People are Proving the Afterlife (2014), demonstrated the ubiquity of such spiritually-transformative experiences across all cultures, religions, belief systems, and millennia. From a scientific point of view, Proof of Heaven was a question-mark that challenged the status quo. But my newest book, Living in a Mindful Universe: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Heart of Consciousness is much more about the modern scientific study of the brain and mind, and certainly goes much further in trying to get to some answers about how to understand it all. Some of these deep scientific concepts, and their importance to us as spiritual beings living in a spiritual universe, are crucial in trying to heal our somewhat broken world.
This process of awakening will ultimately involve the synthesis of both our scientific and our spiritual nature as human beings. Some physicists are already comfortable with the notion of our universe being fundamentally mental, not physical, based on a maturing view of the metaphysics underlying the experimental results in quantum physics. The deepest lessons and refined experiments in quantum physics nudge us gently toward this realization.
And the wealth of human encounters that include near-death experiences and similar spiritually-transformative experiences richly opens our understanding of ourselves and our universe so that the most reasonable conclusion involves the fact that all of our existence is spiritual, in the sense that our lives matter. We are here for a reason, and we have great responsibility for our choices in how we deal with our fellow beings. Acknowledgement of the scientific underpinnings of our spiritual nature will help in this grand awakening of humanity. Replacing our erroneous materialist (or physicalist) world view with one based in our connectedness and purpose, i.e., our spiritual nature, will provide the most beneficial revolution in the history of human thought.