Throughout my formative years, I avidly followed the space program starting in my first grade year in May 1961 when I watched Alan Shepard’s 15-minute suborbital Mercury flight. I became a huge fan of the space program and followed all of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions as if I were just another member of the crew, all the way through Apollo 17 when I was a senior in high school. Apollo 8 was a fantastic gift in 1968, when Jim Lovell, Frank Borman and Bill Anders orbited the moon on Christmas Eve and broadcast over their primitive black-and-white television camera a message of peace for all of humanity. But the holy grail clearly involved walking on the moon – and Apollo 11 owned that absolute distinction.

Fifty years ago, during the wee morning hours of the midsummer days of 1969, I read Arthur C. Clarke’s fantastic science fiction novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, usually reading in those early morning hours before going out around 4:30 am to deliver newspapers in the dawn twilight. Looking up at the starry heavens, my mind only half on the job of delivering newspapers, I mused over all of the advanced civilizations I imagined to be up in that velvety sky. My mind was completely captured by the implications of how going to the moon would change our collective human destiny.

In the days leading up to that historic moon landing, families would cluster around that first generation of television sets, watching intently as Walter Cronkite described the momentous occasion we were privileged to witness firsthand. The images were uncolored and fuzzy and the audio was filled with static, but the magic of bringing the moon’s surface to life intoxicated everyone. At 4:17pm EDT on Sunday July 20, 1969, the first humans expertly and precisely landed on the moon, announced by Armstrong: “Houston, Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.” The last-minute dodging of the boulder field can only be attributed to the human skill of proper piloting by Neil Armstrong with only 20 seconds of fuel to spare. Armstrong’s first steps on the moon occurred at 10:56pm that evening as 500 million people followed from planet Earth, hearing him proclaim for the ages, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” What an understatement!

This moment is arguably the greatest historical achievement of humanity to date – mankind’s first exploration of another heavenly body. Copernicus bravely defied the accepted viewpoint of his time and challenged the idea that we were the center of the universe by demonstrating that planets revolve around the sun. It’s easy now to look back and see that event as the initiation of the Scientific Revolution that led to our current amazing technological achievements. I believe that historians of say, 5,000 years in the future, will come to regard our first tentative spacefaring voyages off of planet earth to be of singular importance.In fact, some have suggested that the only name from our current epoch that will merit inclusion in the history books of the future will be that of Neil Armstrong – the first human being to step on a celestial body other than earth.

Many in my generation grew up believing our entire lives would be spent actively pursuing the spacefaring activities of a modern civilization. Those alive at the time will remember that the United States and the Russians were locked in a “Cold War,” and President Kennedy had set the agenda back in 1961, when he dedicated the United States to a program of flying men to the moon, and returning them safely to earth, before the end of the decade. Even today, we probably would have trouble scaling up the technical abilities in rockets and equipment at such a quick pace.

The early program was decidedly competitive, even military, in its nature. For both the Mercury and Gemini programs, men would ride capsules atop ballistic missiles designed mainly for hurling nuclear warheads around the world (the Redstone, Atlas and Titan rockets). Only when we graduated to the actual moon-focused Apollo missions did the astronauts ride atop rockets designed for this more peaceful purpose – the Saturn V. A most effective rocket it was, 363 feet tall, weighing 6.5 million pounds, its first stage burning 15 tons of liquid oxygen and refined kerosene every second, hurling the 310,000 pound third stage/command-service module/Lunar Excursion Module into earth orbit from which they then accelerated into a trans-lunar trajectory. If so tasked, the Saturn V was mighty enough to boost a many-ton payload off to one of the nearest stars, but the journey would take hundreds of thousands of years.

Mission planners knew the importance of the operation, especially its symbolic power: they chose Neil Armstrong, a civilian test pilot, and formerly a naval aviator during the Korean conflict to lead the mission. He had proved his mettle by flying the X15 rocket plane almost 4,000 mph at a peak altitude of 207,000 feet, and was selected over his fellow military astronauts to lead the Apollo 11 mission. By the time of the actual Apollo landings, a more peaceful goal than the military race with the Russians, one shared with all of humanity, was reflected in the language of the commemorative plaque they would leave at Tranquility Base – “We came in peace for all mankind.”

Armstrong had already witnessed harrowing escapes from death during his career as an astronaut. During the Gemini 8 mission in 1966, after successfully docking in orbit with the target Agena vehicle, their spacecraft went into an uncontrolled roll that became so fast that Armstrong and fellow astronaut David Scott came within seconds of blacking out before Armstrong was able to correct it. In May, 1968, while test piloting the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, he ejected with less than a second to spare before the experimental craft slammed to the ground, exploding into a fireball, as Armstrong drifted gently to earth under his parachute a few feet away.

When the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey came out in 1968 and depicted a spaceship landing at a city on the moon, we all assumed that that was a reasonable version of our future – that we would be the ones inhabiting those lunar cities by the early 21st century. Alas, the fickle nature of the American public, as predicted by the mastermind behind the Saturn V, Werner von Braun, judged the brief adventures of the Apollo program to be sufficient for their desires, and dropped the ball on further manned exploration of space. Thankfully, we now appear to be getting back on track, not only for a return to the moon, but, more importantly, towards the goal of building a sustainable colony on the planet Mars.

I’ve had the distinct honor and privilege of meeting and talking with four of the highly skilled Apollo astronauts, including Neil Armstrong himself, as well as Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, both of whom flew to the moon on the moon-orbital mission of Apollo 8. Lovell also commanded the Apollo 13 mission, a harrowing journey in which the astronauts demonstrated the utmost skill in returning safely home after an explosion crippled their craft en route to the moon.  I also met Edgar Mitchell, who served as the Lunar Excursion Module pilot accompanying Alan Shepard down to the Fra Mauro Highlands they hiked during the Apollo 14 mission in February, 1971.

One of the great joys of my life was having Edgar share his reflections on that monumental journey while I was a guest in his home in 2012 (more fully shared in my book Living in a Mindful Universe, co-written with Karen Newell, 2017). Edgar was so deeply affected by his experience during the Apollo 14 moon-landing mission, especially by a profound epiphany that occurred during the ride back to earth: He clearly saw the fundamental presence of consciousness throughout the universe while gazing out the window of Apollo 11’s command module returning from the moon. He came back to found the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which to this day carries out his bold mission to more fully explore the profound mystery of consciousness itself – a frontier beyond outer space.

Edgar realized how closely his life journey of elucidating the consciousness underlying the universe paralleled my own observations of the primacy of consciousness resulting from my near-death experience (NDE) due to severe bacterial meningitis in November 2008. Edgar shared my vision that the coming awakening of humanity to the true nature of consciousness would rival in importance the 16th century Copernican revolution that had moved man’s notion of the center of the universe from the earth to the sun. We are on the verge of another monumental scientific revolution – one that validates the notion that we are all in this together.

I recall how all of the astronauts shared similar observations about the fragility and undivided beauty of our earthly home. Their firsthand experiences make them kindred spirits with the NDE community I have come to know so well over the last decade — we all share the sense of oneness and connectedness with each other. Those Apollo astronauts all professed how seeing our lovely planet from space only heightened the sense that there are no boundaries of countries visible, that the entire beautiful planet is one we all share together. They also remarked on how fragile our atmosphere is, just the tiniest blue sliver, tenuously embraced by the lands and seas of our extraordinarily precious home planet.

One major impetus for pursuing space exploration is to serve as insurance against our own extinction. During the half century since the first moon landing, we have come to discover in increasingly alarming fashion that our addiction to burning fossil fuels might well render our planet uninhabitable in the next century or so due to the greenhouse gas effects of all of that carbon dioxide our modern civilization belches into the atmosphere. We must colonize other planets, if for no other reason than to survive if we are foolish enough to wreck our own home.

A grander overall vision for the importance of these spacefaring efforts is one of joining that much bigger club of sentient life throughout the cosmos, a vision that was quite clear to me during my coma journey. This grander vision of humanity as part of the interstellar community is one more consistent with the maturity of humanity suggested by the NDE community, where we bear responsibility for our choices and acknowledge at every step the importance of our choices for the higher good of all involved.

So, cherish the world’s reliving of the Apollo 11 moon landing a half century ago, and reflect on how such ventures tend to unify us, to fire our imaginations to engender the best future we can envision. We are truly all in this together, sharing this star-faring journey on the good earth, and we have the capacity as human beings to most fully enjoy this voyage through expressions of kindness, mercy and love towards our fellow travelers.

Those who want an in-depth, personal experience in reminiscing the Apollo 11 mission should go to to relive every second of the adventure.

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence. To understand the true nature of the universe, one must think it terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

—    Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943)

Today, November 16, 2018, marks the tenth anniversary of my return from a deep week-long coma due to an aggressive and should-have-killed-me case of E.coli gram-negative bacterial meningo-encephalitis. And what a decade of discovery it has been! As Tesla noted above, ten years with a freshly opened mind of my own has truly led to boundless new understandings. One fascinating aspect of my personal journey, as a neurosurgeon who experienced a profound near-death experience, are the tremendous parallels in my personal revelations with those of the scientific community at large – all related to fascinating developments in the science of consciousness.

Karen and I recently returned from the Beyond the Brain conference in London, where the Galileo Commission Report was publicly revealed. The report summarizes the opinions of over a hundred scientists who study consciousness and demolishes the long-ago disproven notions of deterministic Newtonian thinking. Similar to previous such consensus statements from the scientific community (such as those from Mario Beauregard and Etzel Cardeña), this newest elaboration announces to the world-at-large that consciousness includes remarkable properties that, studied from a scientific perspective, support the reality of a spiritual universe.

The commission’s name comes from similarities between Galileo’s time, and ours. Galileo simply asked a church bishop to look through the telescope and see with his own eyes the moons of Jupiter, but the bishop refused to even look. Even today, so many conventional materialist scientists refuse to even look at the evidence concerning the broader implications of consciousness research. The report, like our book Living in a Mindful Universe, is a powerful rebuttal of the simplistic and false assumptions of materialist scientists, who attempt to debunk and deny the evidence not only for the afterlife, but for reincarnation. Those wanting to learn more about the study of reincarnation should also visit the University of Virginia’s Division of Perceptual Studies.

For most of humanity’s last few thousand years, questions concerning the continuity of consciousness after death of the physical body, or of the afterlife, hinged on the personal experiences of very few people. Usually this involved the occasional saint, prophet, or mystic who reported personal experience in realms beyond the material world. I believe that all of our modern religious systems emerged from such courageous reports of the realm of the unseen, often engendered during physiological stress or “near-death” situations. For the vast majority of us, it boiled down to a question of faith – whether or not we chose to believe those experiences of the relatively rare “others.”

All of that changed half a century ago, when physicians developed techniques to resuscitate, or return to life, tens of millions of people whose hearts had stopped, who had been “clinically dead.” This has populated our world with many souls who have been to “the other side,” and returned to tell the tale that death of the physical body is not the end of conscious awareness, but merely a transition to a different realm, very similar to physical birth.

My most recent blog addressed the remarkable conclusions of a recent medical record review of my coma, most notably the supposition that my miraculous recovery might have been related to my profound near-death experience, itself a refutation of the physicalist/materialist assumption that the brain produces consciousness. Of course, many skeptics claim that, given the fact that near-death experiencers don’t actually die, that none of those stories are truly telling us what happens when we do actually die. Yet the very existence of so many similar stories, irrespective of one’s prior beliefs in an afterlife or religious predispositions in general, is quite shocking and unexpected, that is, if the materialist model of brain-creates-consciousness, were actually true. Why these elaborate journeys, even in those who have been declared dead for days, which often occur when the physical brain is very demonstrably shut down?

The paltry and inadequate explanations from materialist scientists trying to attribute such journeys to pathophysiological challenges such as diminished oxygen levels or increased carbon dioxide fail completely in explaining shared-death experiences. These are identical in content to NDEs and yet occur in physiologically normal bystanders. Loved ones at the bedside of a dying patient (although they could also be hundreds of miles away) witness the soul of the departing loved one, sometimes even to the point of joining them for a full-blown life review, before returning to this realm completely mystified by their inexplicable journey.

Recent books supporting the scientific verification of the reality of such experiences (such as John C. Hagan III’s peer-reviewed book The Science of Near-Death Experiences, or Titus Rivas’s The Self Does Not Die) endorse the world-changing vision shared in our newest book, Living in a Mindful Universe. Thus, the question of an afterlife no longer need be answered merely by faith in other people’s accounts. The preponderance of scientific understanding about the nature of the mind-brain relationship, indeed of the fundamental nature of consciousness itself and the survival of awareness beyond death, already exists!

The Galileo Commission Report refers to many facets of non-local consciousness such as the reality of telepathy, precognition, out-of-body experiences, remote viewing, near-death and shared-death experiences, after-death communications, some psychic medium communications with the deceased, past-life memories in children indicative of reincarnation, etc. This opens the door widely to a scientifically-based statement about how best to see our consciousness and our very existence as human beings that extends far beyond physical bodily existence limited to the birth-to-death interval. Important to note is that one of the most important revelations from the NDE community is that we are responsible for our choices, and will reap what we sow in the life review. The fact that the golden rule is thus written into the fabric of the universe should help us all treat others with more kindness and compassion.

The most valuable lesson of the last decade has concerned the growing realization that every soul is crucial in this process, and we are bound together in this mission through the infinitely healing force of unconditional love. This is not a truth that requires unanimous endorsement by the scientific community at large – this is the deep and empowering truth available to all souls open enough to manifest it. The evidence supporting this much grander world view, where placebo effect and extraordinary examples of healing are just the beginning of our capabilities as manifesters of the world of our loftiest dreams, is available to all who care to look. We must simply choose to make it so.

This, combined with personal exploration of consciousness through centering prayer, or meditation, provides a pathway towards gnosis. Personally, I listen daily to the differential-sound enhanced brainwave entrainment produced by Sacred Acoustics to enter expanded states of awareness, but the important step is to have some means of going within, and of developing a richer relationship with that “higher soul” and primordial mind. As Tesla said in the quote opening this article, energy, frequency and vibration are the keys to understanding the universe, and exploration of consciousness using sound is an excellent starting point for a much broader understanding of our true free will in manifesting the world of our dreams.

We are currently planning a 5-day course in fall of 2019 for therapeutic practitioners who wish to incorporate Sacred Acoustics recordings into their practice. We’d love your help by filling out this survey for practitioners.



The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.

— Werner Heisenberg (1901 – 1976), Nobel Prize in Physics 1932

In the ongoing discussion concerning the nature and meaning of near-death experiences, one quickly comes to realize this is not simply a debate between those with various religious beliefs and those with a more scientifically-minded approach in understanding the universe. The discussion is actually one at the leading edges of modern science, concerning the very relationship between the mind and the brain – the fundamental nature of reality itself, once one realizes the all-pervasive influence of consciousness on one’s perceptions of the world. The conventional scientific world-view of materialism (or physicalism) has never even gotten out of the starting blocks in addressing the nature of consciousness (witness “the hard problem of consciousness”, as it was defined by Australian philosopher of mind David Chalmers in The Conscious Mind in 1996).

A recent Scientific American blog entry (4/19/18) by computer scientist Bernardo Kastrup helps to sharply define the framework of this debate, referring to Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and recent results in quantum physics experiments to elaborate an inevitable revolution in our thinking that fully opens the door to such concepts as an afterlife and even of reincarnation. Bernardo does not make those same leaps in his Scientific American article, but he clearly opens the door to such thinking, especially for those who mistakenly believe that current science eliminates the possibility for such human experiences to be more than hallucinations and delusions.

Our book, Living in a Mindful Universe, connects the dots in this discussion, one in which we see science and spirituality as actually strengthening each other – but this is best accomplished through a broad opening of our minds to accommodate all of human experience, and not just that which fits the currently accepted (yet obviously broken) paradigm.

The issue was succinctly delineated by early quantum physicists, such as Werner Heisenberg, quoted above. A cursory knowledge of modern science (deeply steeped in the assumptions of physicalism, i.e. that only physical stuff exists) does indeed lead one toward atheism, and away from any possibility of humans actually having free will (especially given conventional science’s notion that all of consciousness is no more than the epiphenomenon of chemical reactions and electron fluxes in the substance of the brain). But the revelations from increasingly refined experiments in quantum physics (specifically taking Einstein’s 1935 argument for the incompleteness of quantum physics, and physicist John Bell’s brilliant 1964 theorem hinting at experimental approaches to addressing Einstein’s concerns) demonstrate with increasing power the need to relinquish our broken fiction of materialist thinking – a whole new paradigm is in order.

This is Kastrup’s conclusion in Scientific American, and in our book, Living in a Mindful Universe, and its companion free email course “Your 33 Day Journey into the Heart of Consciousness.” In the book and companion course, Karen Newell and I explore not only the implications of this paradigm shift for individual humans trying to make sense of their own lives here on earth, but also the absolute necessity for humanity to awaken to this new paradigm. We must stop the errant and misguided forces of scientific materialism (and its false notion of separation and competition, as opposed to oneness and collaboration) from leading us further along a pathway of self-destruction.

The phenomenon of consciousness consists of the very relationship between the mind and the brain, especially as exemplified through all manner of human experience (including the huge swath of paranormal and other anomalous human experiences of non-local consciousness). These rather common experiences and rigorous empirical data from the realm of quantum physics are forcing humanity to resolve some of the deepest issues raised over the last five millennia of human experience. It’s high time we woke up to these troubling contradictions to the pervading paradigm of materialism and shifted our collective worldview appropriately.

We live in a mental universe, projected out of consciousness, just as Heisenberg (and Max Planck, Wolfgang Pauli, Erwin Schrödinger, and other brilliant founders of the field of quantum physics) realized based on their experiments. More modern physicists (e.g. Henry Stapp, Brian Josephson, Roger Penrose, Bernard Carr, Fred Rosenblum, Menas Kafatos, Amit Goswami, among others) would agree that recent experimental results force the primacy of consciousness even more than those early results that befuddled the likes of Albert Einstein and Neils Bohr. We can make far better sense of our world by acknowledging our spiritual nature, and the spiritual nature of the universe itself. Heisenberg’s God is alive and well, buried behind the false dichotomies of conflicting religious dogma, in plain sight as the very origin of our conscious awareness.


We live in fascinating times. The world at large, as well as the scientific community, are in the process of an unprecedented awakening that we see as an inherent part of human destiny over the last few millennia.

This awakening is empowered by our very investigations into the nature of consciousness, and into the metaphysics underlying the mysterious workings of quantum physics.

This investigation into the fundamental nature of reality is directly relevant to us all, ultimately leading to far more meaning and purpose to our existence. We have much greater power over our lives, and over the emerging consensus reality, than we have previously been led to believe.

Our modern world often puts science and spirituality at two ends of a spectrum. In this complimentary 33-day course, we bring them together as a companion to the book, Living in a Mindful Universe. The course serves as a sneak preview, including bite-sized nuggets of complex topics.

Personally, I find it most satisfying that Day 1 of the course begins on my father’s birthday. Although he passed from this world in 2004, four years before my coma, he has had a profound influence on my ongoing journey – it is fitting that this 33-day course launches on the anniversary of his birth.

Receive a new lesson each day along with daily practices and access to unlimited streaming of four Sacred Acoustics recordings, all completely free—no soul left behind!

Sign up today and begin Your 33-Day Journey into the Heart of Consciousness.

Coming Soon!
Living in a Mindful Universe

As you may have heard or seen, I’ve written another book that I am looking forward to sharing with you all.

On October 17, 2017, Rodale Books will publish my latest work, Living in a Mindful Universe: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Heart of Consciousness, which I’ve co-authored with Karen Newell, co-founder of Sacred Acoustics. Those who know us will recognize the valuable nature of her contributions.

Living in a Mindful Universe relates the emerging view of consciousness that is revolutionizing the scientific community, and is, in many ways, the continuation of my journey since writing Proof of Heaven. This journey parallels an unprecedented shift in the western scientific paradigm that, when fully incorporated, will lead to far more meaning and purpose in our lives. Read more

For some time now, I have toyed with the idea of writing an article for the mainstream press on the fascinating turns that have recently emerged in the mind-body discussion. Such notions included the possibility of writing for Scientific American, a magazine I have always appreciated, but also one that I have come to realize is a bastion of materialist science. Anticipated resistance by the editorial board has given me pause, but I was heartened by the recent appearance of a guest blog posted by someone whom I have come to see as an ally in some of my evolving ideas concerning the nature of consciousness.

Bernardo Kastrup’s Scientific American blog posting of March 29, 2017 is a sign of significant progress along these lines. Entitled “Transcending the Brain: At least some cases of physical damage are associated with enriched consciousness or cognitive skill,” Bernardo’s article opens as a response to Sam Harris’s blog attack on my book Proof of Heaven. Harris had scoffed at my claim that my mental experience had been greatly enhanced despite the extensive neocortical damage incurred through a global case of bacterial meningo-encephalitis. Harris joked about how a “few well-placed hammer blows should render a person of shallow intellect a spiritual genius.”

In my presentations, I offer the examples of terminal lucidity (great clarity seen in the mental worlds of elderly demented patients as they approach death) and acquired savant syndromes (in which brain damage, whether trauma, stroke, autism, etc. unmask superhuman mental capacities) as commonly observed evidence that the brain is not the producer of consciousness, but instead only functions as the receiving filter that allows in limited forms of primordial consciousness. Another example, which I wrote about in a blog posting, “Compelling Studies on Drugs and Consciousness,” on 4/18/16, concerns three recent scientific papers on the shocking findings concerning brain activity under the influence of powerful psychedelic drugs, like psilocybin, dimethyltryptamine, and LSD. Note that I do not recommend the use of these substances outside of any sacred or investigational context.

Completely contrary to what conventional physicalists like Sam Harris would expect, the studies revealed that the most extraordinary mental experiences occur in those who have the greatest inactivation of major junctional regions in the brain! This finding was so astonishing that it prompted Christof Koch, Chief Scientist for the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, to write a column in Scientific American entitled “This is Your Brain on Drugs: To the great surprise of many, psilocybin, a potent psychedelic, reduces brain activity.” His column portrayed the extraordinary nature of the findings, especially because of the dramatic reduction in activity of the most complex junctional regions in the brain, and the fact that no regions of the brain showed any increase in activity – widespread suppression was seen, and its degree correlated with the power of the psychedelic experience itself!

Bernardo has taken these same observations and written a very coherent article concerning the mind-brain relationship, in a way that clearly portrays the existence of mind as something that cannot be explained by brain alone. His article is a breath of fresh air for those who have come to realize the fatal errors of the materialist position (that consciousness arises from the brain). My hardiest congratulations go out to Bernardo for his excellent ongoing work adding some intelligence to the mind-body debate that is now entering a very fruitful phase.

The main reason I have been so occupied the last few months (and have not been posting regular blog entries) is that I have been hard at work over the winter writing my 3rd book. It is the natural extension of the story told in Proof of Heaven, but covers the nine years of growth and understanding with which I have been blessed since awakening from coma in November 2008. My life partner, Karen Newell (co-founder of Sacred Acoustics) is my co-author. Those who know us will realize her hearty contributions have greatly enhanced the quality of this offering, which will be published in North America on October 17, 2017 (foreign editions are still pending). We are most excited about the book, and feel that it will continue the robust awakening for humanity that was foretold in Proof of Heaven in 2012. I will be sharing more of that book and what it promises in blog postings over the next few months. In the interim, we have several workshops planned at which we will discuss and share some of the methods and techniques from the book.

We hope you can join us for one of these workshops, talks and retreats:

August 3-6 in Denver, CO – Explore the Extraordinary IANDS National Conference

August 11-20 in Montreal, Canada – Ancient Wisdom, Science & Spirituality IIIHS International Conference

August 25-27 in Rhinebeck, NY – Riding the Wave of Consciousness: Life in the New Paradigm Omega retreat

September 22-24 in Scotts Valley, CA – Behind the Illusion: Revealing the Soul’s Journey 1440 Multiversity retreat

And for our European friends,

November 11-12 in Madrid, Spain – Mas Allá De La Luz  Symposium on NDEs and Consciousness

These events and more are listed on my Events page as soon as they are made public.

True open-minded skepticism is our greatest ally in trying to better understand the mind-brain connection as it is revealed through the extraordinary lens of near-death experiences (NDEs).

True skeptics will thus greatly appreciate the rich presentation of NDEs in a new landmark book, The Self Does Not Die, originally published in the Netherlands in 2013 and recently expanded into an English edition. The authors, Titus Rivas, Anna Dirven and Rudolf H. Smit, have gone to great lengths to objectively analyze over 100 cases of veridical perception during NDEs, when the brain (according to the accepted principles of modern neuroscience) was in no condition to support such conscious experiences. The quality of empirical data and the objective assessment and refutation of possible materialist interpretations make this book a refreshing, and very worthwhile, read.

The authors begin with 14 cases of extrasensory perceptions of the patients’ immediate bodily environment. Then they progress through 18 cases of such perceptions beyond the range of the patients’ physical environment. Next they describe 36 cases of such perceptions, including the oft-discussed case of Pam Reynolds, during conditions incompatible with any conscious awareness – many of these well-documented cases occurred during cardiac arrest. Four robust cases of telepathy are examined where either the NDEer had a telepathic experience in relation to someone else, or alternatively, where someone had a telepathic awareness of the NDEer. Here they recount the extraordinary case of George Rodonaia, who was declared clinically dead for three days. After-death communications (ADCs) of NDEers with both strangers (5 cases) and with people familiar to them (6 cases) are then shared. Seven observations of NDEers having out-of-body experiences are then reported, including several in which others at a distance perceived the NDEer being out of body, and vice versa.

The authors include ten fascinating cases of healing in NDEers that are inexplicable by current medical science (so-called “miraculous healing”), including such well-known cases as Anita Moorjani and Mellen-Thomas Benedict. Finally, they cover four cases of paranormal psychic abilities, such as after-death communications (ADCs), extrasensory perception (ESP), psychokinesis (PK) and precognitive dreams after NDEs. They conclude by pointing out the materialist explanations for such phenomena are illogical and inadequate (including extensive discussion of the extreme tactics involved in trying to debunk my book Proof of Heaven).

In short, this book goes a long way towards eliminating once and for all the feeble counterclaims of the materialist position which tries to deny, ignore and generally dismiss some of these truly remarkable NDE accounts.

The Self Does Not Die is an important and timely book that offers significant empirical support to the emerging scientific view that consciousness is fundamental in the universe, and that the soul exists and does not depend on the physical brain for its conscious expression.

As one studies the scientific evidence included in this book and recent works on the mind-brain relationship (eg. Irreducible Mind and Beyond Physicalism, etc.), it becomes clear that to reach a deeper understanding, we must reject the materialist position. These empirical data refute the production model, which states that the brain produces consciousness out of physical matter. Rather, the filter model (i.e., that the brain serves as a receiver of primordial consciousness) is far more reasonable in accounting for all the available evidence. Sooner or later, the sheer frustration with the ongoing inadequacies of materialist pseudo-explanations will nudge the prevailing western paradigm towards the deeper truth, as it is objectively represented in this remarkable book.

Karen Newell and I invite you to attend one of our upcoming multi-sensory evenings or workshops to explore the mind-brain relationship firsthand.

Please see our Events page for full details.


Rivas, Titus, Anna Dirven and Rudolf H. Smit. The Self Does Not Die: Verified Paranormal Phenomena from Near-Death Experiences, Durham, NC: IANDS Publications, 2016.

Kelly, Edward F., Emily Williams Kelly, Adam Crabtree, Alan Gauld, Michael Grosso, and Bruce Greyson. Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

Kelly, Edward F, Adam Crabtree, and Paul Marshall (eds). Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Just as people began responding to my blog on “Confronting Evil,” reports started coming in about the tragic deaths in Nice, France on July 14 – the killing of innocent people around the world continues to shock us daily. Yet again, we are confronted with unbelievable crimes against humanity, no matter what the cause, from mental instability to terrorism. If this is earth school, what are our lessons today? And more to the point, how does the force of pure love felt by so many who report near-death experiences play a role through all of us in healing?

After extending the deepest condolences and prayers of love and comfort for the victims and their families, we have a choice to make – to meet hatred with hatred or to bring love and compassion into the equation. Forgiveness may take some time, but is also key to shifting the dynamic of love in our world.  The one who benefits most from forgiveness is the forgiver.

Each of us individually has the free will to choose our response, and each of us is at a different level of awareness, learning, and spiritual growth.  It is not about being better than another, or always choosing wisely (because we do learn from mistakes), or even sharing a common belief system.  But it is, I think, about reaching closer to a mutual goal of unconditional love, at our own rate. After all, some may not yet realize that love is a worthwhile goal, and no amount of being told “this is what you should or must believe” will get them there.  We all learn and grow based on our own experience and understanding.
We know, from the sheer numbers of NDEs and the commonality of their reports, that the soul is not limited by the existence of the physical body, and is eternal. Yet, many people do not believe the soul is eternal, because they have not personally experienced an NDE or other spiritually-transformative experience (STE), nor read much about their evidential nature. They may not have had the opportunity to meditate, pray or experience the spiritual aspects in their lives — yet.  They have their own lessons to learn, as do we all.

My worldview has been shaped not only by my profound NDE deep within coma, but also by the confirmatory testimony from many souls I have met along the pathway of sharing my experience and its most positive message about humanity and our earthly existence. The underlying message is one of unity, Oneness, and the higher good of all being the goal. I believe that this focus on the primacy of love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness is at the core of all of the great faiths of the world, although it has often been twisted and distorted by those humans who take it on themselves to interpret and present to the masses an altered version of the original message of the prophets, often towards the goal of controlling others. This mode of control is completely at odds with the simpler and more profound message originating in those great teachers of love and compassion – Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad being prime examples.

This worldview is centered in the Oneness of all consciousness, and the source of that Oneness is the infinite healing power of unconditional love at its core. As always, a cardinal transgression at the heart of this worldview is the act of killing — the killer violates the miracle of life through killing, whether of self or others. From my journey, it is clear that suicide and homicide are wrong at the deepest levels. Homicide is justified only if it prevents the homicide of others. Peaceful solutions and avoidance of escalation of violence through retribution and revenge represent the ideal. But in our complex world, one must often support the actions of good police officers, who endeavor to protect all citizens without bias or prejudice, and of soldiers, who protect the innocent by defending against threats and violence. When the intent to value and protect life is central, such actions are manifestations of this same fundamental love and respect for the sanctity of life. The deep love of this universe is just, and honors not only life but the expression of free will by those who respect others. We are all co-creators of the world we wish into being from our loftiest dreams.

To clarify specific questions regarding the “life review” that a terrorist might have, my journey witnessed the broad mechanism of souls having their life review as a crucial part of the soul school aspect of existence, that we are all here to learn and teach as consciousness evolves.

The life review is not what an individual perceives simply from their own perspective, but rather it is an omnidirectional evaluation from everyone with whom we have interacted – we feel our words and actions through their eyes, and through their extended family and friends’ eyes and hearts, and through those who may read a news article about a public incident, etc. Crucially, we feel the emotional impact that our actions and thoughts have on others, from their perspective.

The perceived boundaries of our individual self turn out to be ephemeral, and the Oneness we share with all other beings becomes apparent. So, the murderer will feel the emotions, pain and sadness of the murder victim, and there is no escaping this. Magnify that by the number of people harmed or killed, and by the number of people around the world who are shocked around feelings for that murderer.  These are intense feelings that will likely be a personal hell for the one having such a “life review.” After he completes his review, in the brilliant healing light of the unconditional love of Source, he will come to better understand the crucial role of love.

Free will is available to all – it is not whether, but how it is used, that can assist one in evolving swiftly or slowly, or remaining stuck.  And, as far as the force of love at the source getting through to someone cast as “evil,” it depends on all of us, doesn’t it?  If such actions are countered with hatred, love will have a hard time being seen or felt. On the one hand, we could allow the terrorists’ agenda to trap us in fear and hatred of them and their actions, and to separate us from others.  If, on the other hand, enough people shift to love and pray for all, that some kindness can penetrate the wall of hate the terrorist has constructed, then we begin to chip away at those hardened beliefs that lead them to repeat their cycles of destruction. Of course we must try to contain their actions and protect others, but there is a fine line in our approach, our intent.

As a civilization, we have a responsibility to defend people from such violence, and how we go about it is another free will choice—one that benefits from many thoughtful people engaged in finding answers. Most people, including myself, would defend themselves or their families if they were personally threatened. But what do we do after the danger passes?  Do we forgive, do we pray, do we re-center ourselves in love?  How do we honor the fallen in this seemingly perpetual cycle of violence? Perhaps their extreme sacrifice can lead us to review our laws (internationally) about allowing guns in our communities, to reword our every message and action based in love, and to enter more publicly into dialog about our mutual journeys of soul that endeavor to bring down walls rather than build them higher. We are truly One, and the more we come to know and live this, the better off we all will be.

True forgiveness is an essential choice that many successfully embrace in seemingly despicable circumstances. In my younger years, I sensed great truth in the saying “Tout comprendre, tout pardoner.” Translated, this oft-quoted phrase means “if you understand someone else completely, you can pardon all of their actions.”

This supposition hinges on the notion that humans react similarly to various specific challenges, and assumes that we all pursue rational solutions to our problems with others. Does this apply in the face of apparent evil, such as the spasm of terrorism and efforts at counter-terrorism that grip our modern world? Can we truly come to fully understand the life and motives of a terrorist, to the point of “pardoning” their actions? Doesn’t the rampant killing of innocents violate everything that a sane human being holds dear?

Our official response, as a culture and as a nation, is often to label the perpetrators as “evil,” and to base our actions on a standing principle of retaliation when wronged, and on a newer policy, at least in the USA, of destroying anything or anyone we label as “evil.”

After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, then-President George W. Bush referred to the rogue states of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the “axis of evil,” which he claimed to be the main source of terrorism at that time. Since then the world has witnessed an expansion of institutional terrorism as well as a spike in “evil” activity by individual, disgruntled terrorists or malcontents across many countries and continents. The concept and consequences of “evil” are as old as time, but the choices we make about how to confront it or root it out in today’s world have more far reaching consequences than ever before.

Episcopal priest Steven Paulikas recently wrote a thoughtful op-ed piece in the New York Times (6/27/16) concerning the “fool’s errand” of trying to stamp out the evil expressed through terrorist acts. He highlighted the writings of philosopher Paul Ricoeur, who was orphaned when his father died as a soldier in the first World War, and who himself spent five years as a French prisoner-of-war held by the Germans. Ricoeur realized that evil exists not as a thing per se, but as a black hole of thought, making it a much tougher entity to simply “extinguish.” He stressed the importance of responding to evil appropriately, mainly in the form of addressing the suffering of the victims. This wisdom espoused by Ricoeur involved “an unwavering commitment to relieve and prevent suffering,” as Paulikas put it.

Ultimately, I believe any such eradication of evil will come from a deeper understanding of the experience, emotions and motives that drive all involved. As much as the National Rifle Association would urge us all to take up arms and take this fight to the level of Armageddon, I know that our ultimate solution will involve love, compassion and forgiveness. Otherwise, it all mires down into an endless cycle of repetitive violence, revenge, and misery for all concerned. The falsehood that one can destroy such “evil” through military might has been exposed and disproven time and again in the recent decades of escalation— the status quo is not leading towards a solution. And these cycles, when replicated on a micro-scale in our own neighborhoods and families, deliver no better results.

The way out? To express our free will in the face of this madness. To break the cycle of revenge and retribution will involve choosing a higher view, one that is broad enough to engage a win-win strategy and that includes all of us together on this journey. This view is no Pollyanna dream, but a potential goal strongly supported by emerging scientific notions of the nature of consciousness, and the ever-evolving evidence that we are all part of One Mind — thus to harm my neighbor (or my enemy) is to harm myself, in a very real sense. Combine this awareness with compelling evidence from the study of the mind-brain relationship: that the consciousness of which we are all a part is eternal, and that the rich literature on near-death experiences (NDEs) offers much evidence for a fundamental reality that is spiritual at heart – a reality that derives its essence from the power of unconditional love at the core of all creation. With clearer vision, one begins to glimpse a pathway out of this morass.

Having your life “flash before your eyes” is not just some recently discovered concept – the “life review” aspect of NDEs has been described across numerous cultures, belief systems and continents for millennia. The life review at the end of one’s physical life is the stage on which our higher souls (and soul groups) judge the various thoughts and actions of our lives that still have important lessons to offer. Given the strong purpose of justice and of learning that is inherent in one’s life review, it serves as a powerful corrective in one’s eternal soul journey, gently but firmly providing lessons that steer us more towards love, compassion and forgiveness. Each lesson helps us to integrate our individual desires with the Oneness so often and affectionately described by the millions who have been there as a result of an NDE or similar forms of spiritually-transformative experiences (or STEs).

The life review of someone who has killed others will be a hellish experience that involves feeling the pain and suffering not only of each of the victims, but also of all the other souls who felt pain when coming to know of their act of killing. This reality comes not from the dogmatic preaching of ideologues, but from the empirical evidence of human experience–from those who have been there, as revealed by the increasing number of stories of NDEs and similar STEs liberally annotated over the internet in recent decades. Much of the absolute tsunami of such evidence comes as a result of enhanced techniques of cardiac resuscitation available to physicians worldwide over the last half century or so. The world is populated with literally millions of souls alive today who have been to the other side and returned to share their experiences. And, the increased number of incidents and expanded reporting through books, media and the internet are not by accident or coincidence. Ignoring such evidence is a choice we should not make.

As the reality of the One Mind, of our interconnectedness, and of the core presence of love as a fundamental constituent of our evolving universe becomes more established and begins to alter our perceptions of ourselves and of our role in this evolution of consciousness, this reality will displace the false sense of separation so prevalent in our current materialistic world view. We will finally begin to mature as a sentient civilization, choosing to move towards the loftiest of realities of human potential—one based in peace, harmony, and a focus on the higher good. Even if only a small percentage of souls currently recognize this reality, it is nevertheless present in every soul’s fundamental essence, waiting to be turned on, to be expressed instead of repressed. On a practical level, we can exercise free will guided by oneness and love in matters of everyday experience as well as in those of international policy.

We are all, truly, in this together. But we have fooled ourselves into a false sense of separation, whether from secularist and deterministic Newtonian science or the competitive dogma spewed to the masses from religious zealots of diverse beliefs that run counter to the original unifying principles in the mystical traditions of all of the great faiths. The fundaments and birthright of this universe are based in love, compassion and forgiveness.

I believe we have reached a major juncture, from which we can choose either awakening to these eternal truths, or committing planetary suicide. The choice is ours. I, for one, am optimistic that our destiny is to choose awakening.


In a provocative article concerning free will (The Atlantic, June 2016), British philosopher Stephen Cave alarms readers with a discussion of the apparent damage that a belief in determinism—the idea that events are predetermined and completely defy any human notion of free will—would cause in our social systems. Fortunately, his commentary is based on erroneous materialist assumptions, rendering his alarming conclusions as unfounded.

Cave opens by pointing out how “the sciences have grown steadily bolder in their claim that all human behavior can be explained through the clockwork laws of cause and effect,” which he claims is an extension of the 150 year-old intellectual revolution that began with Charles Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species. He then proceeds to discuss how the tools of modern neuroscience to investigate the workings of the brain have helped to resolve the nature-vs.-nurture debate, and specifically he illuminates how neural networks are shaped by the forces both of our genes and of our environment.      

He then steps off the cliff that has doomed so many such philosophers (and others, including neuroscientists) by stating that “…there is also agreement in the scientific community that the firing of neurons determines not just some or most but all of our thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams.” He couldn’t be further from the truth – not only is there no such “agreement,” but in fact many thought leaders are actively rejecting the simplistic physicalist falsehood proposed by Cave.[1]

He could have then saved himself the trouble of pointing out the abhorrent consequences to our society of completely eradicating free will. As revealed by studies in the article, it is the belief in determinism that causes the societal issues. Propagating such a belief (as Cave does) actually contributes to this problem, especially when it flies in the face of the empirical evidence.

The emerging neuroscience of consciousness and related philosophy of mind suggest that consciousness is fundamental in the universe. The physical brain does not produce consciousness, so much as serve as a filter that allows primordial consciousness to trickle into our awareness in a very limited fashion, which is the “here-and-now” that we experience in normal waking reality.

The more research performed on the brain itself, the more elusive is the phenomenon of consciousness. Dr. Wilder Penfield, one of the most renowned neurosurgeons of the 20th century, wrote a fascinating book in 1975 entitled The Mystery of the Mind. In it, based on many decades of electrically stimulating the brain in awake patients and based on all of his scientific work studying consciousness and the brain, he concluded the brain does not create consciousness or free will. Period. But the world was not ready to hear that in 1975. I believe the world is fully ready for that message now, although many adherents to scientific materialism remain willfully stuck in past theories by ignoring the overwhelming body of evidence supporting non-local consciousness (i.e., telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, out-of-body experiences, remote viewing, near-death and shared-death experiences, past life memories in children indicative of reincarnation, etc.).

The notion of a purely “clockwork,” deterministic universe (“objective physical reality”) should have died a natural death as the result of experiments in quantum mechanics began illuminating the fine structure of the material world more than a century ago — yet it still lingers on, with all of the damaging effects wrought by such false materialistic (and decidedly deterministic) thinking. The associated concept of atomism, which posits that all in the universe can be understood as consisting of the smallest possible material constituents that exist separately from one another, encourages a false definition of separation that leads to confusion and distortion when trying to approach the deeper truth.

A more refined quantum view sees all in the universe as interconnected, as one. Quantum physics is the most proven theory in the history of science and strongly implies the holism of the universe (not atomism, or the false division of the universe into separate parts). The fundamental nature of primordial consciousness yields the best approach to understanding reality, to heed the deep lessons of the empirical quantum data. Fortunately, those lessons leave the possibility of true free will as absolutely real.

The consciousness implied by the measurement problem in quantum mechanics is the “observer within,” the most primordial awareness of existence. By cultivating our sense of that observer self, we are able to transcend the simplistic automatic behavior purported by materialist philosophers as evidence of our lack of free will, and instead approach the full-bore capacity for manifestation implied by fundamental primordial consciousness, to truly actualize the world dreamed by our higher self—the ultimate expression of our free will.

Karen Newell, co-founder of Sacred Acoustics, and I offer teaching sessions for groups around the world in accessing this deep observer state, and using it to manifest the world of our dreams — to manifest the free will of our higher soul. We invite you to participate in one of our upcoming Events.

The evidence suggesting consciousness as fundamental in the universe is strengthening —  the notion of free will remains alive and well in human endeavors. The sooner we assimilate this understanding into our modern worldview, the sooner we begin manifesting, through our free will, a world that lives up to the finest of human aspirations, unfettered by the bleak falsehoods of deterministic materialism.


[1] Explore Journal, May-June 2016, vol.12, no.3, pp. 162–164 “Declaration for Integrative, Evidence-Based, End-of-Life Care that Incorporates Nonlocal Consciousness,” by Stephan A. Schwartz, Gary E. Schwartz, PhD, and Larry Dossey, MD