Dr. Eben Alexander is a leader in advancing knowledge of near-death experience science.
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Audio Clip: [00:00:01] I’m so bored of living. I wake up every morning in the same bed, I get dressed and I eat the same breakfast and then take the same commute to work. I’m 28 years old and I’m terrified, this is all there is.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:19] That’s a clip from the Amazon series Undone, about this woman who has this after death experience. I actually like it, I think it’s kind of interesting. Of course, it doesn’t really follow near death experience science. But then why would we expect it to. I mean we have all these really good accounts like the one from Dr. Eben Alexander, the Harvard neurosurgeon but of course, we have to attack those people, take down those people, smear those people, and then substitute and entertaining and well done account of what after life experiences are. Well, no big, the afterlife is a big tent. There’s room for all. But if we want something closer to the truth, listen to people like Dr. Eben Alexander.
Auido Clip: [00:01:08] And getting back to your original question about the attacks on me. I will also say it’s a very good thing that three physicians not involved in my care. And of course, one of them was Dr. Bruce Grayson, who spent more than 45 years studying NDEs, but they wrote up a case report on my medical records and that came out in September of 2018, in the Journal of nervous and mental diseases. And that case report went a very long way towards painting the picture, I tried to paint in proof of heaven, I actually go much further than I did, I had a lot more time to look at my medical records, three of them did it independently, objectively and I think they were even more shocked than I was that when my brain was so demonstrably offline, given my neurologic exams, given the lab values, given the CT and MRI scan showing all eight lobes of my brain affected, that I could have had the most robust, profound experience of my life in that setting. And in fact when the peer reviewers had Journal of neurosis and mental disease, ask them how do you explain this case? They said it’s because he had an NDE. There really shouldn’t have been any controversy because this manufactured controversy, I just wanted to kind of put an exclamation point on that because there are still these lingering doubts which there will be because the effectiveness of smearing somebody of taking somebody down culturally, is very well understood, you will carry that forever, It just never comes clean because they’re really, really good at that. I just pull up short when we start talking about doing and we have to do and we got to reduce that plastic thing in the in the ocean. Of course we do but we just have to be, we have to be with each other. I would say you’re absolutely right on the beam and you know early on in all these discussions after my NDE is always trying to come to a deeper understanding of it all, trying to explain to people trying to come up with a shift and worldview that made sense. I remember, Karen pointed out to me very brilliantly, that really all we are here to do is to be the love that we are.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:26] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris and today we welcome Dr. Eben Alexander to Skeptiko and I can say back to Skeptiko but it’s really been so long, not that he hasn’t been a frequent topic of conversation on the show but it’s been so long since we had him back on that I almost have to reintroduce him. So, Dr. Alexander, welcome and thanks so much for coming.
Dr. Eben Alexander: [00:03:57] Well Alex, thanks so much for having me back on. I remember having a really good time. The last time we talked and of course, a lot has happened since then so it’s great to be back with you again.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:04:07] Yeah, you know what I always remember about that time is I remember 2012 when you’re, really it’s hard to share with people how groundbreaking your book, Proof of Heaven was but what I remember was being on an airplane and walking from the front to the back, and how many back covers of proof of heaven I saw as I was walking through the aisles. And of course I was you know, really into near death experience science and saying this is important science and we need to understand this. And bam there it was the cultural shift that we all want it and we’re all waiting for, was I felt like it was happening right before my eyes and I felt like it was happening after that as I talked to people. You know what was it like for you to experience that, to experience one that huge success, which was well deserved because it’s such a fantastic book, Proof of Heaven. But then the cultural shift that came along with that, what was that like?
Dr. Eben Alexander: [00:05:17] Well, it was absolutely extraordinary and in many ways of course you know, I have to kind of reflect a bit on my own kind of tangling with that whole world in terms of understanding it. But the reality is, to me it seems like the culture has made a tremendous kind of up shift over the last decade or two, concerning NDEs and nature of consciousness you know, afterlife stories even reincarnation I think is being much more seriously considered by many. I know I was presenting at a scientific meeting in Belgium about a year and a half ago, when one of the investigators from Lesion Belgium showed a slide showing the number of papers, scientific papers on NDEs and that in the year 2012 and 2013, there was this giant kind of upsurge. They attributed it to proof of heaven but I think there’s much more going on in the cultural landscape. Of course, it was very gratifying to be part of that. Oh and I can tell you that, really in the 12 years since my coma, the thing that to me has been most gratifying has been working with scientists around the world, and realizing that there is a tremendous kind of impetus in the scientific community. Now, that may not be the The New York Times science section version of science or Scientific American version of science. But some scientists who were deeply involved in the science of consciousness are really in many ways banding together and that’s where I think a tremendous amount of progress is being made. And I feel like a kid in a candy store because you know, I went through this experience, it absolutely rocked my world, it turned my worldview 180 degrees. I mean I promise you, and NDE is not what you expect if you’re a materialist scientist, and to have this profound expansion of consciousness. And then later in the months after my coma, going through medical records, talking with my doctors, realizing that all the medical evidence was there, that I should have had no ability to even have a dream or hallucination given the damage to my neocortex. And yet I had the most robust, profound, detailed, memorable, important, impactful experience of my entire life when my brain was documented to be offline, the neocortex was absolutely damaged beyond function according to my medical records, my brainstem was damaged. So it’s really been an extraordinary journey to be part of that. Although I will confess early on you know, I knew I was going public with a story that was very much antithetical to a lot of my career, there was at least some concern that you know, my career could suffer from it all, although I knew you know, this happened and other similar stories have happen to other people. So we need to understand it more. It’s you know, it was a bit of up and down though because there were a lot of attacks and things like that. And so anyway, I think the bottom line is the world is shifting dramatically. I think I’ve had a little bit to do with that but more importantly it’s just that scientists around the world are now taking this much more seriously. And we’re starting to develop a worldview kind of an encompassing system, a hypothetical system that can enable it, that goes beyond materialist thought. And that’s, I think been a stumbling block for science for a long time, is trying to come up with a kind of a theoretical framework that would support all this. And I think certainly a lot of what we cover in our third book, Living in A Mindful Universe, goes that direction in helping to take the world to the next level.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:09:05] Yeah and I really did enjoy this book, Living in A Mindful Universe. And I thought it was a good, in a lot of ways follow on it’s again, has some great personal accounts. Were just talking for a second before we started the interview that I love the story where you and Karen meet Ram Dass I’ve always had a special affinity towards Neem Karoli Baba, although I’ve never met him or experienced them in person but I thought his teachings, and Ram Dass is obviously the one who brought us that and he’s an interesting character to. Two Harvard guys kind of chatting, I’m sure you had a good conversation. But then Terran takes it to the next level in the book and this is in Living in A Mindful Universe, where she talks about this heartfelt meeting and this encounter of expanded consciousness which I thought you know, in a way, this book living in a mindful universe is allowed to exist because of proof of heaven, because of the space that you created because of the dialogue that is possible. But I want to fill that back in because I don’t want to get a little bit, I don’t want to get too far into inside baseball and you did a wonderful job of explaining kind of the rough sketch of the big picture this guy, Eben Alexander the third right? Dr. Eben Alexander the third. And part of the reason for the book is it tells this almost epic story of kind of like a hero’s journey kind of story of challenges and difficulties in life experiences that I thought connected with so many people certainly connected with me on a deep level on a parent level. And again, in the second book, Living in A Mindful universe, you have so much to say about how that journey has evolved and how the family dynamic journey has evolved. So as much as you care to do you want to share any of that aspect of this because I don’t think it’s talked about a lot. I love talking about the science, I love talking about near death experience science and culture and all that stuff. But what about that part of it?
Dr. Eben Alexander: [00:11:25] Yeah certainly the you know, those who’ve read Proof of Heaven will realize the kind of interesting dynamic in my life of being adopted. And you know, I was put up for adoption when I was 11 days old. I was very fortunate I was adopted into a beautiful and loving family and I went through my life very much blessed by that adoptive family. And, but like most adoptees, I was wondering about my heritage, my origin story. And so I would write letters to the children’s home you know, back when I was in my teens and 20s, seeking information about my birth mother, I sensed my birth mother was out there but had no notion about a family or anything. And it was really in 2000 that I actually got a response back from them, I gave up looking for a long time of through most of my years and just kind of forgot about that adoption story because I figured it wasn’t really important, my life was going well so you can forget about it, even though we…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:12:31] Can I just interject because I picked this up from the second book and this is so powerful, so so powerful and you’re so open and honest about this. Your dad said, Eben forget about it, you couldn’t possibly remember anything and besides it doesn’t matter. And this is from the again, the parent adoption thing. Eben we love you ,we’ve given you everything, I gave you my name, you got it buddy, you got everything. But that doesn’t mean that’s how you felt you know what I mean?
Dr. Eben Alexander: [00:13:02] Well you know the interesting reality is, intellectually I knew he had given me all of that, my adoptive family couldn’t have been better, they honored all my hopes and dreams. All that was beautiful. But the thing that my dad did not realize and that it took me a long time to realize, was being left behind by your mother at age 11 days, what happened was I stopped eating, I went on a hunger strike, I was hospitalized for failure to thrive. And that’s what a lot of infants left behind, will do that. And it’s, from my point of view, it’s because they basically do not feel they have a reason to live, if their mother has left them behind. They have a serious challenge at a deep emotional level about whether or not they’re worthy of love and that is something we discussed a little bit in that book Living in a Mindful universe. But that was a lot of what I wrestled with and of course, I was very loved by my adoptive family but that doesn’t change the fact that I still had memory of events that happened when I was 11 days old, that were so shocking, it caused me to try to off myself you know, with that hunger strike of failure…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:14:10] And if you will tell the story, I thought it was again, I don’t want to just dwell on this but it’s super important I think to have a larger picture, is that your adoptive parents, your parents, I’ll just say that, then are able to conceive and have a child which they didn’t think was possible. And then what happens to you again, the knowledge that we carry as you know, pre verbal, amazing.
Dr. Eben Alexander: [00:14:37] It is amazing and we do carry it. In fact, it’s one of the biggest kind of problems with our modern societies. We believe that everything, the only things important and the only things that are real are linguistically described narratives. And so of course, we miss a tremendous amount of what’s kind of going on in our lives. But to me that adoption story was a fundamental part of my whole journey because in many ways, I could see kind of the shadow side, the echoes of my not feeling worthy of love through a lot of my life before coma. And it had to do with, it affected my relationships in many ways. But it was really a huge part of the journey and of course, those earliest days, I was having trouble even visualizing as an issue in my life, even though it was a very important one in my early life. But this entire journey, including my NDE and then of course, including the 12 years plus of resolution beyond that point, has been a tremendous lesson in how all aspects of our lives, the good, the bad, the challenges, the hurdles, these are beautiful gifts and that was something that I kind of sensed after my NDE, it was apparent to me that some of the biggest kind of hardships of my life had actually been the catalysts or the kind of milepost that marked my greatest progress as I grew into things and kind of grew into a deeper knowing of myself. And that’s really been the best part of the journey, It’s this extraordinary richness of having that, for one thing, a very expanded view of self relative to the universe through an NDE and deep kind of spiritual sense of a certain role in life and a certain responsibility and an acknowledgement that our choices absolutely matter at every level. But then to have this kind of resolution of that whole adoption issue and the worthiness of love, and that tough kind of feeling of being less than for much of my life and so it really has been an extraordinary gift. But it could not have come without the hardships, it could not have come without those difficulties. And for that, I’m just grateful and that’s why what I try and share with people is to embrace those challenges the hurdles in life, illness, injury, because in so many ways, they can be the, basically the engines of growth, to help our souls come into the higher soul that we came here to be. And I love being awakened to that and that’s been a huge part of the kind of expansion of my idea of self and a relationship to the universe that resulted from my NDE, but I must confess a tremendous amount of my growth has also been due to meeting you know 1000s of other experiences and working with the scientific community worldwide that realizes consciousness is fundamental in the universe. So I was gifted tremendously by this what you know, some people would look at a weakened coma due to a severe Gram negative bacterial meningoencephalitis as something of a you know, bad luck. Well no, in my case, it was an extraordinary gift to show me ways of healing, of understanding of our kind of alignment of our purpose with the universe that I think can be useful to all beings and that’s why I love sharing the story and expanding on it because the science is fully there, supporting this primacy of consciousness and what that does is returns a very powerful notion of free will you know, freewill is pretty much on the chopping block with materialist neuroscience. Because basically they’re pretending that all those ion channels are still behaving like Newtonian billiard balls and with you know, a perfectly determined course of action. But no, the deepest message of quantum physics is really one of freewill, it opens the door to freewill of sentience, of the mental layer of the universe. And that’s where our healing can come in full force. You know I mean, the medical community has admitted to mind over matter for more than six decades by honoring placebo effect, as their gold standard for assessing any new medical treatment or modality. And a placebo effect is nothing more than an admission that our beliefs, attitudes and thoughts can have a tremendous influence on our health. And I would say that this revolution in understanding of consciousness greatly expands that notion of our freewill and ability to become more whole more of the soul, we came here to be.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:19:08] Awesome and I do want to circle back on something because you mentioned hardship, and what you had to go through. And also you know, you’re a humble guy in terms of talking about your influence here. But as we talked about at the beginning and I can’t emphasize it enough, you were that swing, you were that upswing in the chart that the guy had you know. You were selected for whatever reason to be, we have to understand it for whatever reason. But you were also the guy who faced really unbelievable hardship when we look at it, but I think it’s such an important lesson. I think it’s a lesson and we might not totally agree with this, but we can agree with the data, maybe not the interpretation of the data. But what you experience from a cultural takedown standpoint. A takedown of Dr. Eben Alexander, which was really so absurd on some level ,so over the top that anyone should have been able to spot it. But let me recap because we’ve talked about a lot on the show. So you come out with this book ,again folks the way that I always like to relate this to people is like, when I tell people that the quote unquote prominent atheist Sam Harris, he’s also a neuroscientist, said that, what did he exactly say? It’s alarmingly unscientific this guy’s book. And then he went on to say, this guy doesn’t know neuroscience and when I relate to that story to people, people always have this quizzical look and they go, but I thought you said he was a Harvard neurosurgeon as if you know, he was in the Harvard Medical School teaching students neuroscience in neurosurgery. And I go yeah and I’m like, well then why would, it doesn’t even raise to the level of, he would kind of even be reasonable. Or you know, another prominent guy and he’s passed now but Oliver Sacks. Oliver Sacks who was loved by the psychology community and all that, he felt the need to come out. Esquire magazine which we covered you know, on the show extensively, came out with a cover story. Eben Alexander you know, and when you really break it down, they’re caught just with bold faced lies. We broke it down, lies, misrepresentations. Look, we’re, the physician who was your primary care physician in the hospital has to write a response and say, I have been misrepresented, I’m deeply concerned about what Esquire magazine has written, It’s not at all my opinion about Dr. Alexander or about what he’s. This is a cultural takedown, It’s in my opinion, it’s not accidental, It’s not organic, It’s not some guys sitting around and going, well gee you know, I have a different scholarly opinion on that based on my analysis. What do you think about that? Are you willing to even explore the possibility that there was some design behind that take down?
Dr. Eben Alexander: [00:22:27] Oh, I would say that you know, we everybody has a certain addiction to their beliefs. And this is true for all people and that includes scientists and philosophers. You know, we like to think we understand things and so people kind of are attracted to a set of beliefs that they develop over time. And in our culture, unfortunately, scientific materialism has held sway for you know, many generations now. And that, I would say has led to a tremendous amount of damage. But when I look at, for example, the critique so that Sam Harris and Oliver Sacks came at me with, mainly it was because they didn’t, they hadn’t really read my book for one thing they basically would ever…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:23:16] No they read your book no they, I talked to Sam Harris, they read your book. That’s why, and you don’t have to go there but I think we kind of do our community a disservice if we don’t address this head on. So if you’re saying you believe differently, if you believe Sam Harris is an honest player who just is you know, just doing his best and just couldn’t understand it and all that. I mean fine, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as spirituality is an assault on scientific materialism and there are certain people that have a vested interest in seeing that not prevail, and that they just like in everything else in life, they are going to exercise whatever extent of control they have to see that that doesn’t happen. So you don’t have to agree with that but to me that seems self evident.
Dr. Eben Alexander: [00:24:06] I would say in many ways you’re exactly right and for example, if you compare Sam Harris’s attack on me where he was basically trying to say if this experience happened at all, it looked like a DMT experience. He went that far to try and say, this is nothing more than that, It’s a biochemical thing, we can forget about it. And then if you simultaneously go and read Bernardo Kastrup’s blog postings, at the same time responding to Sam Harris, Kastrup comes at it with a far more kind of intelligent, open minded and I would say realistic way of interpreting my experience, where he is fully open to the reality of that experience. And I would say, first of all I think you’re making a good point in many ways that there is kind of this groundswell kind of angsty and recoil and in some members of the scientific community, and also in those who claim to be science journalists. That’s a bias, It’s a prejudice and it goes into attack mode as soon as you mention anything about heaven or God or an afterlife, they go ballistic. And yet you know, the 300 plus scientists now associated with Galileo commission.org for example, and I’m one of the scientific advisors for that group, will actually argue that these experiences are helpless and in that I would say not only afterlife NDE deathbed vision experiences, but also the tremendous scientific literature on reincarnation. And there’s a lot of it out there but the biggest body I know of it is the UVA group, University of Virginia division of perceptual studies, more than six decades of work. And what you realize is that a lot of scientists currently studying consciousness completely go with the reality of these experiences, because they’re not forbidden by science at all. In fact, in many ways, when you look at quantum physics and how it’s evolved over the last few decades, not only is kind of the spiritual realm, a realm of unified mental function and of kind of shared purpose, not only is that allowed by the findings of scientific experiments in modern paradigms, it’s actually demanded, I mean the alternative for example, in interpreting the measurement paradox in quantum physics, is the many worlds interpretation in infinite parallel universes. And I think that most of us can agree that doesn’t appear to be the world we live in. And that’s where I would say that science will actually benefit from appreciating you know, this bigger database about the afterlife and about reincarnation, about what it tells us about consciousness, about the relationship of ontology with epistemology, and how we can come to a deeper understanding of ourselves. So it’s really a very important shift to move us to the next level. And I think one specific example of how I see science as growing into this, would be the the recent set of scientific papers over the last nine years or so. Using fMRI, functional Magneto you know, magnetic resonance imaging scans, as well as Magneto encephalography and other techniques of looking at the brain. And when you study people under the influence of certain serotonin to a type plant medicines, like Psilocybin, Magic Mushrooms, DMT of active principle and Iosco, LSD. There are papers out there from London from South America, that show that the brains of people under the influence of these substances goes dark, there’s no part of the brain that increases in activity. In fact, the whole brain gets out of the way. And from a scientific perspective, that doesn’t mean we have to stop, It just means we have to realize that within the materialist paradigm and trying to look at phenomenal experiences, the result of chemical reactions and electron fluxes, answer is no, they’re higher ordering principles involved. They give us our phenomenal experience and they’re not simply the result of atoms and molecules following the laws of physics, chemistry and biology. And so it really helps for science to expand its worldview beyond materialism. I don’t think that science well practice is limited to materialism, except for the fact of course, that people like to measure things and most measurements kind of occur in the material world. But I think that a scientific mind, for example, when I look at the work coming out of UVA Dopps, and especially those three landmark books from Ed Kelly you know, Irreducible Mind Beyond Physicalism and now Consciousness Unbound, they’re a beautiful example of how science can go far beyond materialism, in trying to explain the nature of reality as In fact it must, because there’s more to this universe than the physical world. And you know, getting back to your original question about the attacks on me. I will also say it’s a very good thing that three physicians not involved in my care and of course, one of them was Dr. Bruce Grayson who spent more than 45 years studying NDEs, but they wrote up a case report on my medical records and that came out in September of 2018 in the Journal of nervous and mental diseases, and that case report went a very long way towards painting the picture, I tried to paint in Proof of Heaven. I actually go much further than i did. They had a lot more time to look at my medical records, three of them did it independently objectively, and I think they were even more shocked than I was that my brain you know, that when my brain was so demonstrably offline, given my neurologic exams, given the lab values, given the CT and MRI scan showing all eight lobes of my brain affected, that I could have had the most robust, profound experience of my life you know, in that setting and in fact, when the peer reviewers at Journal of nurses and mental disease ask them, how do you explain this case? Because just like when I reviewed my records, I was like this, these are the records of someone who is bound to die, not someone who is going to end up having a full recovery. So it was a deep mystery to me, likewise to these three doctors who reviewed my case until when they were challenged, how do you explain this horrific medical circumstance resulting in a full recovery? They said, it’s because he had an NDE, that was enough to satisfy the peer reviewers of a scientific medical journal. Oh, now we have an explanation and it’s because they knew of other cases, like Anita Moorjani, who wrote the book Dying To Be Me and had an advanced stage four lymphoma, that she was within hours of death by any doctor’s reckoning and yet she had a profound NDE, came back to this world almost 20 years ago, it was when she did all this. And it was because of her NDE that she came back. Likewise Dr. Mary C. Neal, the orthopedic surgeon she wrote a book called To Heaven And Back, a warm water drowning in Chile kayaking, back in 1999, she was underwater more than 30 minutes, her legs broken under a boulder. She was brought to the surface dead, resuscitated ended up making a full recovery, she had a profound NDE. So it’s it’s simply taking our lesson from placebo effect at acknowledgement of beliefs, thoughts and attitudes playing a tremendous role in our health and realizing well, in these deeper kind of spiritual journeys to NDEs you have extraordinary options for returning health to a soul on a journey. But it involves waking up to that much bigger role that we play, the much bigger soul that we are, a soul that has been here many lives before, will be here many lives to come and participate in this evolution of all of consciousness. And that’s where I think so much of the current revolution in science, about primacy of consciousness and this deep debate about freewill and whether it really exists and how can it manifest is so important, if for nothing else to heal ourselves to come into wholeness, that’s what this is really all about this awakening.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:32:45] know, I want to just return. I want to make sure people got that little story that you did there. There really shouldn’t have been any controversy.
It was really cut and dried, but it was this manufactured controversy, but the story behind it, and you just said that now it’s been medically reviewed and you know, just had a Dr. Bruce Grayson on the show recently. And of course he’s written this terrific book after, and you are, uh, uh, mentioned, uh, throughout that.
But I, I love the story that he tells about kind of the personal part. Again, of you have this experience and you get some pretty Sage advice from your son who says, dad, Don’t read anything. You’re going to be tempted to kind of go there. Don’t just get your account down. And that turns out to be really good advice.
You do that. Then you get in the car and you drive and you guys meet with, uh, Dr. Grayson. And, uh, so that’s kind of an important meeting. And then later on, he says, what you just were counts that just a couple of years ago, they finally published this, but he had investigated it prior to saying, okay, let me examine this case from a medical standpoint.
And they had three independent people. And I just love this little snippet, which I was trying to lead to Grayson goes, well, then I, you know, kind of powwowed with my colleagues to see where there were any discrepancies, because to me it was clear cut. And he said that. There were no discrepancies.
Everybody came back and said, this is why am I even examining this? This is a slam dunk. Of course, this is a non-functioning brain. This person should have died. And if they, if they didn’t die, which they, 99%, they would have died. They’ve no way they would ever recover. So again, to me, that all points to a manufactured con, but I’m going to get into that.
You already tit, you already handled that. I just wanted to kind of put an exclamation point on that because there are still these lingering doubts, which there will be because the effectiveness of it smearing, somebody of taking somebody down culturally is, is very well understood. These guys do a great job.
You will carry that. You will carry that forever. It just never comes clean. Cause they’re really, really good at that. But Back to your other point. Let me kind of wrap that into a question. That’s kind of a related question. And again, we might not see it the same way, but I just interviewed this wonderful guy, Dr.
Steve Taylor, and he’s written this book and I hope I can get the name, right? Why science needs science, spiritual science, exactly why science needs spirituality fill in the blank. And I love the guy, but he’s got a completely backwards. It’s not that science needs. Spirituality, science stood everything.
It fricking can to keep spirituality out of the picture, to keep her out of their game. Their game is up when they let spirituality in. So you can talk as you are about the advancements and maybe we can ground up, you know, from the ground up from the bottom up. You know, change the tide and we certainly have to, so we have to try, right.
So what you’re talking about is certainly true, but I do kind of call into question whether or not we should consider the alternative is that science is actively trying to keep spirituality out of the equation because it’s not good for business. It’s not good for science as we know it’s business.
Eben Alexander: [00:36:18] Well, those are, um, interesting points.
I’ve read the Steve Taylor’s book. I thought it was actually quite good. Um, and, uh, you know, as I was mentioning a few minutes ago with talking about the, uh, psychedelics and looking at the brain and the brain goes dark, That’s why I’m saying science does need to expand beyond material. The material is thinking of brain creates consciousness.
It’s clearly false. And, uh, and, and so that’s where that’s, for me an example of how science can be more open-minded and grow into a bigger picture to try and get to the truth. I mean, ultimately we all would like to know the capital, teach fruits, you know, the, the, the, the true nuts and bolts of how the universe works.
And, uh, you know, I I’d say, especially given all the study of Indies, uh, and all the evidence accumulating and saying the hospice literature about the power of deathbed visions, the, the reality, the transformative abilities that they bring. And then you’ve got this tremendous body of evidence. On reincarnation, not just from groups like UVA, Dopps where they have more than 2,500 cases, a past life memories in children, suggestive of reincarnation.
But you have this whole world of transpersonal psychology beginning with the work of Carl Ulum and Charles tart. And then, uh, moving on to Stan Grof and Michael Newton, Brian Weiss, and others, where they realize that to deal with the issues faced by their patients. Uh, you know, a very psychological psychiatric issues that by.
Doing of hypnotic regression and uncovering memories of past lives. You start to explain and understand why certain challenges are there in this lifetime. And not only that you gain the tools to start to heal them. So this is not just some kind of idol, you know, cheer philosophy question of, you know, afterlife and reincarnation.
Are they real or not? Uh, you know, just to tell us what happens when we die. It’s a much bigger question. How do we live the lives we have here? And now day to day, how do we make choices? How do we see ourselves in relation to ship to others and to the universe? And I would argue that this kind of expanded vision.
Of a study of consciousness, uh, allows us to greatly expand our own kind of self vision of our relationship with the universe and, uh, really how to act, how to be, uh, how to think of ourselves so that when we come to the end of life of a physical body, we don’t get that extreme shock of having your body die.
And all of a sudden realize you’re more conscious than you’ve ever been before. And damn did I waste that life following a false hood that was promoted by the material of scientific community, just because their theoretical models were inadequate and they couldn’t figure out what the empirical data was telling them.
Doesn’t mean we have to just kind of give up and pretend total ignorance and follow this materialist. Um, Uh, mindset down into the abyss. No, this is about, and as I said earlier, with placebo effect and healing, uh, it’s such an extraordinary capacity to kind of improve ourselves and gain health and wholeness.
Why in the world would we keep pursuing a very limited disproven worldview like materialism? I mean, essentially it should have been banned from the world eight years ago with the advent of quantum physics, you know, materialism really has died. It’s just that a lot of materials have not read the memo yet, but it’s an absolute fact when you study the data and if human beings want to understand human experience, They need to realize this science of consciousness is about trying to get to a deeper understanding of some of the toughest, most challenging experiences humans have ever had.
And yet they reveal some very profound and refreshing and liberating truths about our true nature. Uh, and that’s where I think this is a very important thing to do to share this discussion, get it out there. I’m glad you do exactly what you do because I think you are, uh, playing a central role in helping to catalyze tremendous awakening of this planet, which I would say is absolutely necessary if we’re going to survive.
I mean, with all the addiction to fossil fuels, plastic pollution, we are in deep trouble from material is thinking in a false sense of separation. We need to take responsibility for our choices.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:40:44] Well, let’s, you know, you, you touch on something that’s a super important, and those are very kind words. And I appreciate it.
But you touched on, you know, where a lot of your energy in mission has gone in, in recent years. And that is the tools of healing, the tools of becoming whole, the tools of, you know, because one of the things we know from this near-death experience and we’ve explored on this show, it doesn’t mean that the journey’s over and it doesn’t mean that the challenges aren’t over and it doesn’t mean that you’re still not going to face stuff.
And in some ways it, it does make it worse. Right? It makes some of our relationships worse because not everyone went through the experience with us. So they might not see it the same way and the world hasn’t gone through the experience. So there’s a lot of issues there. So I want you to talk about healing.
And, uh, you and Karen, your partner have done some, you know, specific work, some specific products that might help that. But the other aspect of that, that you just touched on earlier that I find super powerful, free, easy, low risk is just these accounts. These accounts, these heartfelt soul felt near death experience.
Accounts can be incredibly healing. They’ve been healing for me, but they’ve been healing to so many people that I’ve talked to. So. Can you speak to that for a minute?
Eben Alexander: [00:42:08] Well, you make a beautiful point there.
And you know, Ken ring, who was one of the founding members of the international association of near-death studies back in the mid 1970s, a few decades go, he wrote a paper about how influential. Oh, just knowing about NDE East, studying into EAs reading, some of the stories or hearing them presented from an indie ear can have a very profound, positive, transformative effect on people who get that knowledge.
Uh, and Karen and I realized early on in our collaboration beginning a decade or so ago, um, that you really have to meet people where they are, and don’t expect people to, you know, come to me to hear my story, but I’ve got to share with them what they are ready to hear in, in a way that can help them to grow to the next level.
Uh, and that’s always going to be through personal experience. So, and it’s not just about sharing the stories, uh, but, but encouraging people to develop a practice of going with him as you realize that the modern scientific. Model of consciousness is really one of one mind that we’re really sharing one mind.
I like to say it’s like the facets on a diamond. The diamond is the one mind. Each one of us is a facet. So where we have slightly different perspectives of what is going on with the one mind, but we’re all contributing to the knowing of the one mind. Uh, and personal experience is a way of, of gleaning that.
And especially like in our book, living in a mindful universe, as we argue for objective idealism, you know, the primacy of consciousness when we talk about the brain is a filter. So it filters in this primordial mind. But that’s when you realize that going within mind is actually way to go out into the universe.
That’s why meditation centering prayer can be incredibly powerful gifts. Um, and so sacred acoustics, uh, is, uh, is Karen’s company. As you point out. In in fact, I played a kind of a Seminole role in, in getting she and her business partner. Kevin costs you to join together, uh, back in 2011, to start bringing these differential frequency, brainwave, entrainment tones out to people because I was astonished at the power.
That they gave me, uh, and that included power to go back into my NDE and develop a much richer relationship. So this was not just about recovering, uh, information about my NDE, as much as developing an ongoing relationship with the various, uh, kind of entities and denizens and, uh, that infinitely, loving God force at the core of all, that was all part of my meditative practice.
And yet I also realize Karen had never had an NDE, and yet she had a profound sense of the infinitely healing power of that loving force at the core from her own meditative experiences. And so when I encouraged her and Kevin put together this company sacred acoustics and people can learn a lot more.
It’s sacred acoustics.com. It was really to help share loose tools and just to help your listeners understand why they’re different. I would point out that every sound you’ve ever heard, including a chant or Anthem or him that might’ve influenced, uh, you know, a transition into a transcendental mode of consciousness or a spiritual awareness.
All those sounds are processed up in the neocortex and the acoustic cortex in circuits that really have been finalized in the last few million years in, uh, homosapiens and in higher primates, the sounds of differential frequency, brainwave, entrainment, what are loosely called binaural beats? Uh, it’s a phenomenon that was first discovered in the 18 hundreds by a Prussian physicists, uh, w uh, binaural beats were used in the late 20th century to enhance out of body experiences, remote viewing, things like that, enhanced transcendental non-local consciousness, and, uh, That’s what piqued my interest and I believe, and this is something we go into more detail in, in our book, living in mind for universe to explain, but I believe the mechanism is because those differential frequency sound slightly different tones to the two ears are actually intersecting in the lower brainstem of, and that is a circuit that arose more than 300 million years ago.
Uh, there’s a general principle in evolutionary biology that if you want to more fully understand a function and an anatomic structure related to function, you really want to look back through the evolution of that anatomy, uh, going back millions of years, if you can. And when we do, we find that these differential frequency of sounds are, are processed in the lower brainstem, in the superior Alberry nucleus complex.
Okay. And that gives them an opportunity to have a tremendous modulatory roll on sending signals that we believe govern kind of the modulation of consciousness in the, in the neocortex. That’s the human part. Of consciousness, all the details of conscience awareness come from the neocortex, but it’s basically being driven from way down at this lowest level I’m talking about.
And that’s where we believe sacred acoustics and similar binaural beat brainwave entrainment can have such a powerful effect at liberating people, uh, from this kind of here and now, and, and bodily sense of self and being locked into a material world. It’s what allows our consciousness to really roam free just as it will be set free when our physical brain and body die at the end of our physical life.
And, uh, so to have a kind of a leg up on this, uh, kind of exploring consciousness beyond the veil of the brain, Is a tremendous benefit and it’s something that we see over and over in our workshops. And I see it in a lot of the feedback. Karen gets on her sacred acoustics website. She’s got tens of thousands of people all around the world using that technology for deep meditative experiences, uh, and it can bring extraordinary healing.
And, uh, I mean, we, we did participate with a psychiatrist in New York on, uh, a pilot study that appeared in the journal of nervous and mental diseases in February, 2020 it’s by Dr. Anna use him. It was looking at sacred acoustics tones as a modality for alleviating anxiety and depression symptoms. Uh, and in fact, this, uh, this, uh, study that Dr.
Yousome performed. Showed a 26% reduction in anxiety symptoms over two weeks, uh, listening to the tones, combined with talk therapy, whereas with talk therapy alone, it was only a 7% reduction. So that’s a pretty dramatic, uh, effect. And, and when you read the qualitative reports in our study, you find even more kind of interesting evidence of kind of the transcendental nature of these experiences and how people, um, Have benefited from this kind of meditative practice, even though it can be very simple.
Uh, and I think that that is where there’s extraordinary power. Uh, the only other point I’d like to make kind of along the same lines is there’s also a big literature coming up lately in addiction medicine treating, uh, uh, some of the worst addictions and also treating fear of death and cancer patients using psilocybin magic mushrooms.
The entertaining thing is you only need one or two doses of the mushroom. So it’s not as if you need siliciden in your system on a regular daily basis to accomplish these extraordinary goals of getting rid of a fear of death and defeating addiction. What you need is the proper therapeutic setting.
What I would argue is that is just another example of traversing, the veil. Getting in closer touch with your higher soul, uh, with that primordial mind, uh, in ways that NDE ears have done, uh, you know, for millennia, uh, that coming in touch with that one is, has a tremendous power to heal us in this life.
And likewise, I would say that, uh, those, uh, kind of siliciden experiments, uh, with, uh, fear of death and with, um, uh, addictions is just showing us the power of our higher soul and free will to do this. You’re using the silicide being as a catalyst. I would argue that you can easily use binaural, beat brainwave, entrainment to get at least as far, if not further.
So it’s a very important modality to help us in healing coming into better mental health, uh, coming into more alignment. And I believe ultimately a much more radical healing. Uh, like you would find on the Institute of Noetic sciences website, if you put in the search term, uh, spontaneous remission and uncover that book, they publish in 1995 with 3,500 cases of curing of cancer infections, other things beyond any expectation of medical intervention.
Uh, and I believe that that is the way of the future. Our healing, our medical arts are going to change dramatically over the next few decades because of the true power of our mind over matter to heal and bring us more into wholeness.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:51:13] Yeah. And the great thing about the binaural beats is safe. I mean, if you’re just listening to something easy, Inexpensive.
I mean, it kind of hits off all the things there. The one thing that I can’t remember if it was from reading it in your guys’ book or someplace else, but I thought, uh, the hypothesis for why it might work is interesting that if you have two different frequencies playing in two different. Two different ears and you’re getting at that primordial brain and it’s trying to resolve it at some point.
It just goes, Oh, to heck with it and kind of gets out of the way kind of thing to put it in simple terms. Do you have any quick thoughts on that?
Eben Alexander: [00:51:53] Say essentially what you’re doing is you’re kind of giving it another task. You’re taking all that circuitry in the brain that involves, you know, ignition circuits in the lower brainstem, 40 times per second, foul firing these now signals to coordinate the phlegm.
A cortical loops that whole engine of consciousness. And of course the ultimate details of consciousness dependent entirely. On the neocortex, you know, everything we see in the occipital lobes, everything we hear in the acoustic cortex are planning, bodily position, all these things in pridal in frontal lobes.
Every bit of that, uh, is this machine that we’re kind of used to being in and what these binaural beats do I believe is at a very deep level, they kind of disconnect your conscious awareness from all that machinery. And that is why they were useful for things like remote viewing out of body experiences as shown in the late 20th century.
And I believe that’s exactly what’s going on here. And, uh, I’ve learned to ride those tones beautifully. It’s a very powerful technique. Uh, and, and I mean, what you’re trying to do essentially is take the little voice in your head. You know, so many of us identify with a little running stream of thoughts in our head.
Well, never forget. I love how Michael singer calls that stream of thoughts in our head, the annoying roommate, because it’s that, you know, it’s a parlor trick, uh, that is not your consciousness. That is not the deep and profound mystery of consciousness. That profound mystery is the awareness. And it’s because in many ways the universe is self-aware and we that’s called the mental layer of the universe.
And it’s universal. It’s been there since, before the big bang and that is what we can tap into. And that’s what we do by basically, uh, uh, kind of monotonous noticing this machinery that normally keeps us in the here and now and sense of self, uh, and that allows our conscious awareness to really, uh, go places.
And that’s where we start to realize much our connection with the rest of the universe, the information we can clean. And also a much richer sense of kind of free will and our ability to influence our evolving reality. Uh, you know, you can easily argue if you’re stuck in your ego mind all the time. Of course you don’t have freewill, you’re an automaton, but by engaging your basically primordial mind by engaging the mind of the universe that we all share, uh, you start to reach a point where you’re actually, uh, able to manifest a free will, that can have tremendous influence on your life and on the, uh, evolving, uh, kind of human awareness and consciousness and kind of, uh, the mission of humanity will change dramatically.
As we realize this unification, I mean, I’ve mentioned a little while ago, the damage done to this world by the false sense of separation that comes from material is thinking, you know, it’s right there at the heart of reductive materialism, break it all down into the parts, understand how those parts interact, and then you can understand the whole world.
Well, that assumes that, you know, Electrons, protons, corks, all these things, dancing around, following the laws of physics. Um, give us the events of human lives. Well, no, that’s not true because there is a set of top down causal principles that are far more important in determining the events that unfold around us and that top-down causality, uh, is something that comes from that mental layer of the universe.
And for those interested in the quantum physics aspect of that, I would steer you to the writings of George fr Ellis, the South African mathematician. Who’s written extensively about top-down causality in quantum systems, but I believe that is really kind of the heart of where you go with objective idealism, filter theory.
Uh, and then, uh, kind of that notion of, uh, of a top-down causality and how it manifests in this world. Um, and there’s a tremendous amount of potential for that kind of a worldview to expand. This is something that we call the primordial mind hypothesis. We talk about it in chapter five of living in mind for universe, but a lot of my thinking on it has advanced since that book came out.
So I believe, uh, it probably is time to write another book. Okay. Great.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:56:05] Well, I want to talk about that in just a minute. Yeah. I want to know what’s what’s coming up for you, but I, I can’t leave that last part without touching on a couple things. One, I have a ton of speck and love Michael sinner. I think he’s, I think he’s wonderful.
And I love the yoga approach and, uh, your explanation for the binaural beats, potentially hypothetically how the, how they might be working on a more neurophysical level kind of thing I thought was so awesome. And it connects with me cause I’m a long time kind of yoga practitioner or Michael singer has that background, you know, in so many other people, but yeah, early on in, you know, the Asana kind of thing.
I had a really good teacher and it was the same kind of thing. Like, okay now. Okay. Move your left toe here while you do your hip and see the energy, this length is a bunch of instructions for what purpose till finally your mind goes, Oh, to heck with it. I can’t keep track of all these physical things that are going on.
And boom, that’s when that little shift opens up. And so I thought the way that you connected that is hypothetically is super, super interesting. And I think people that have gone there in that kind of in any kind of different modality where they’ve gotten that heck you can get there by driving, don’t do this, but you know, by driving a daydream, you kind of get to some of that same effect.
So that’s fantastic. But let me ask you this, cause you just, you teed it up. What is in the future? For Dr. Eben Alexander, where are you going? I’m sure there’s more books. I’m sure. There’s, you’re connecting with so many people and you’re bringing us this kind of reporting from the frontier because you are connected with so many folks.
I’m sure you’re going to continue to do that, but what are your plans for the future?
Eben Alexander: [00:57:50] Well, I can tell you in the near term, Karen and I are very busy, we’re participating in a certain competition that I’m sure many of your listeners are probably aware of. Uh, the Bigelow Institute of consciousness studies in Las Vegas is organizing, um, uh, basically an essay competition, um, to, for the best essay supporting the scientific evidence that, uh, there was an afterlife.
And, uh, I find that absolutely fascinating. I think the evidence, uh, is really there. It’s strong enough now that anybody who pursues the evidence will come to the conclusion. That the afterlife is more likely than not. Uh, and so we’re very excited about that competition. It kind of dovetails into a lot of our other, uh, kind of projects moving forward.
Uh, but I believe that, uh, I, I can confess that since I’m living in a mindful universe, came out in 2017, uh, I’ve really, uh, come to, uh, kind of a, a deeper understanding of my own mind that I, I believe in, uh, looking at how brain and mind connect in, uh, you know, in the brain in a way that would support this filter theory, uh, and a notion of primordial consciousness at all.
And that’s where I really want to go next. And, uh, this involves collaboration with, uh, scientists around the world. I do a lot of work, as I mentioned earlier, with Galileo commission.org with some of the other investigators there. And I really think that that is a. A major next step, because one of the tremendous hurdles to the scientific community, getting on board with all this, uh, has just been that kind of missing link of connection, uh, at the brain mind level of, uh, what all is going on and what most people get trapped into is they keep following the material side and the brain side and thinking that is going to lead us there, where you actually have to take the lead of phenomenal experience and of consciousness itself.
And I believe when we come at it from that direction, and that includes this much bigger, uh, kind of expression of consciousness, of afterlife, reincarnation, all of it writ large and, uh, present through your models. Uh, but that’s what I really would like to do in the next few years is come up with a much better explanation of kind of the hypothetical possibilities, uh, for, uh, the scientific community to, to relieve us of the shackles of materialism.
And that’s where I’d. Hope I would go next time. I’m not sure exactly. I’m sure this Bigelow project will lead us into a lot of interesting kind of territory. Uh, but from my point of view, the real gift to the world, uh, and the one that, uh, absolutely, uh, will help this, uh, help humanity to grow into this awakening would be a better, uh, kind of nuts and bolts explanation of, from a neuroscientist about what is going on with this kind of idea of primordial mind, uh, of objective idealism or analytic idealism, uh, how has it really working and how can we all, uh, interact with that kind of mental layer of the universe, uh, to, um, really bring the, uh, the dreams of our higher soul into fruition.
That’s essentially what this is about is coming into humankind’s, uh, potential, which I think. The beliefs of our modern society are, uh, incredibly falsely restricting, uh, as to what is possible for humans to accomplish. And I think the more we investigate, you know, a deep meditation centering prayer, the different modalities of kind of getting into deep conscious awareness and the information systems of the universe, and then being able to, uh, use that in terms of our freewill of, uh, manifesting the world of our dreams.
That is where this whole world can change dramatically. Uh, I mean, from my point of view, this shift of understanding is, uh, irreversible. And I know I, I, I, in fact, I recently rewatched your, uh, Uh, interview with, uh, with Bruce Grayson. And I also had seen the one that was Steve Taylor, uh, not too long ago.
Um, and I believe that, uh, the world needs this. I mean, we are in deep trouble, uh, but the material is model very self-centered egocentric, uh, you know, kind of completely out of balance economic and social systems, judicial systems. All of it is a reflection of the false sense of separation that comes out of materialist thought.
And so in so many ways, we will do a far better job and truly become homo sapiens. Sapiens means wise. Well, when I look around at us, Fossil fuel addicted world. That’s with 35,000 species on the verge of extinction of a plastic Geier twice the size of Texas floating in the Eastern Pacific ocean from all the discarded plastic bags.
I don’t see a very wise species in charge, and I think that we owe it to this planet, to the blessing of our very existence, to rise to the occasion, to come out of this absolute madness of materialist thought that has led us into such a dark abyss. It is time to awaken to the true potential of humanity and truly become homo sapiens for the first time.
So I am going to do everything I can. To help this world wake up to this far deeper truth and the importance of our responsibility, uh, to ourselves, to each other, to future generations. And of course, when you review that reincarnation literature, you can start getting a little bit selfish about that because our own, some aspect of this awareness is going to be living in another body in the future.
And we need to do a good job of making sure this planet is not completely wrecked for future generations.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:03:41] You are an incredibly, uh, powerful spokesman, uh, for this message. And, um, I’m so with you, and I’m so grateful for, for the work that you’re doing, do pull up a little bit on the last part of what you’re saying, and I want to just, I was going to let you go and that I want to kind of squeeze one more question in there and that’s it.
And you totally get this, but like from a spiritual standpoint, The doing stuff kind of takes a back seat, you know, which is essentially the most important part of your message is about love, compassion. Being there about the light is infinitely more powerful than the dark, you know, and I’ve focused plenty on the dark because I don’t want to ignore the dark, but I don’t for a minute, really concerned myself at that level.
I’m uh, you know, I love the quote from, uh, the hugging Saint, you know, it just works tirelessly to try and do everything, to help the world. And she’s in India digging with the, you know, untouchables digging women latrines at 18 hours a day. And just, how does she have that energy? And then her devotees go, gee, but you said, you know, we’re not about this world while you put all your energies into it.
And she goes world, what world? You know, she has in the biblical sense in this world, but not of that world of this world. And I don’t see a conflict at all with what you’re saying, but it is a subtle kind of shift. I mean, the compassion that we have to have, and I think you’re totally down with this for everyone, for all the people who are the, not maybe doing the best thing, or don’t seem to be acting in the interest of the whole, they’re not separate either.
You know, what, any thoughts on that as we wrap it
Eben Alexander: [01:05:34] up? Well, I have a lot of thoughts on that, but I think essentially just to try and boil it down, uh, you know, the deep truth that near-death experiencers come back with the blessing in their lives is a really realization that love binds us all together, binds all souls to the universe.
At large, we can trust in a very loving universe at the core of our existence. That’s the deep lesson of Indies. And of course the important thing that I would stress is it’s not so much, uh, crucial to, you know, the lessons they give us about what happens when we die. Of course that’s helpful, but far more important is how NDE ERs would express that their journey showed them how to live this life day to day, every choice, how they view the relationship with themselves, with the universe, with other beings.
This is where we can really. Uh, kind of improve and expand our human experience. Uh it’s and it’s by the work we do here in this world. That’s why it’s so crucial to realize. And that’s why reincarnation is absolutely essential. If you miss the piece of reincarnation, you’re absolutely missing the growth that occurs over time.
The, the progress of souls, uh, and, and reincarnation is a, a story that helps us get to a much deeper truth, but it also. Uh, points out that the, the true work of soul growth occurs here in these bodies, even temporarily dumbed down and believing that this is the only existence there is, um, you know, our higher soul knows differently from that.
But, uh, you know, we, we kind of buy into that. And as long as we don’t get too sucked into the ego side of it, we can start appreciating this, this benefit of helping others and being there for others and Alex, I think the biggest, uh, uh, shift, uh, certainly a major shift will be how we treat our fellow human beings.
But another absolutely essential piece of this is realizing, you know, homosapiens doesn’t have, uh, you know, a primary claim to. Spiritual life and the spiritual nature of the universe, the entire animal world, uh, plant kingdom. Every bit of it is part of this spiritual universe within consciousness within this one mind of infinitely bound together through love.
And that’s why we, we have a tremendous amount of kind of growth and transformation that society needs to go through, uh, to fully awakened and assimilate these kind of deep and profound truths. But they’re really about how we live in this world. ,
Alex Tsakiris: [01:08:16] I think that’s a fantastic point, particularly in the broader understanding of consciousness.
And I want you to go into that in a minute. You know, we know that. Whales are conscious dolphins are conscience conscious . So, you know, you go down the list and then why would we draw some arbitrary line and think it’s all, it’s all part of the soup, but, but if I can, I want to kind of make sure I make the point so you can address it.
We started with Ram DAS and neem Karoli Baba. And I love this story about neem Karoli Baba. That maybe gets more to my point. And he’s talking about, you know, all these Westerners who are coming to see him. This is rom DAS is guru. That’s a kind of an outdated term, but is the guy who really kind of leads him on this spiritually transformative experience because
he’s really kind of in the way that we’re all messed up. He’s really kind of has a lot of issues, you know, in his life and neem Karoli Baba is transformative. And he’s the first one to say that to completely transformative, but neem Karoli Baba says. You Westerners are all about doing, making, doing, he goes those guys up in the caves, those gurus, those subdues up in the cave that are sitting there, they’re keeping the planet spinning.
And I’m sure he’s talking about that metaphorically, but the point is I just pull up short when we start talking about doing and we have to do, and we’ve got to reduce that plastic thing in the, in the ocean. Of course we do, but we just have to be, we have to be with each other. We have to. Smile at that woman, who’s wearing a mask driving alone in her car and doesn’t understand the science of how that’s a complete sham, but we can’t hate on it.
We just have to have love and compassion. And the more that we can face the people that we don’t necessarily agree with with that love and compassion, you know, that’s the healing too. So I threw a lot out there.
Eben Alexander: [01:10:20] I would say you’re absolutely right on the beam. And, uh, you know, early on in all these discussions after my NDE is I was trying to come to a deeper understanding of it all, trying to explain to people, trying to come up with a shift in worldview.
That made sense. I remember Karen pointed out to me very brilliantly, that really all we are here to do is to be the love that we are. And when I fully absorbed the depth of what she was telling me, it was not an act of loving or, you know, uh, all of that kind of machination of, well, how do I love myself?
How do I love others, but becoming that love. And that, that is something I was very used to from my core experience, deep in my NDE and that sanctum saying term of the divine, becoming one with that infinitely healing force of love that God for us is something that is totally indescribable. Uh, and yet it’s exactly what Karen was, uh, uh, urging me to remember about my experience and the importance of unpacking that experience for this world, uh, is that we are all, uh, are truly bound together through love.
And that is what, one of the deepest lessons from the tip of the spear of NDEs, they’re the tip of the spear in changing this world around consciousness. Uh, but that is the profound lesson that. Indie ears agree upon is that we are fundamentally a essence of pure love. And that is something that I think comes out tremendously from the indie community.
And also from this larger community of, of the science of consciousness studies. It’s really all about being that love, but, uh, in doing so, uh, and becoming that, that’s how we can change this world.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:12:11] . It may come out through all of those things and let’s hope that it does, but it certainly comes out in the work that you’re doing, which is just terrific.
You know? I mean, I can’t stress it enough. I don’t know why you were chosen. But thank God you were chosen. You were the guy, you’re the right guy for the job. Let me tell you. And it’s fantastic.
Dr. Eben Alexander: [01:12:36] No the thing is, having been where I’ve been you know, in this NDE and trying to make sense of it. I realized that you know, an MD and Harvard and all that stuff doesn’t mean squat, doesn’t mean a thing. I’ve met you know, people from all different walks of life who have had profound NDEs that they shared with me, that helped me tremendously in my own understanding. So these events are out there you know, by the millions to help change humanity and help wake us up. I think the only importance of my story and our current cultural kind of paralysis, in some sense, has been that you know, by being a neuroscientist, even though my brain was so savaged by the infection, that when I woke up on day seven of coma in that ICU bed, I did not even recognize my mother, my sister’s, my son standing at the bedside, all I knew was where I had just been, my brain was wrecked. But that’s the kind of beauty of the message because it then all came back. And that’s kind of an extraordinary story but what it what it does is it helps me to understand kind of the depth of my own journey. I mean, if I had been a truck driver and had this experience as my doctors told me, when I woke up not knowing any neuroscience, having none of that knowledge they said, the dying brain plays all kinds of tricks so you can forget about it. We have no idea how you’re coming back to us, your brain was soaking in pus nobody thought you’d even live through it. But you can forget about that experience you’re trying to tell us about. And so I did you know, that’s where we get back to that story you shared with my son coming home two days after I got out of the hospital. And by then I bought what my doctors told me, the dying brain plays all kinds of tricks. So I told him, it was way too real to the real. And that’s when he advised me we’ll write it all down before you read anything about somebody else’s NDE because you need a pure version of your story, best advice I’ve ever gotten. But that was absolutely critical but then as my knowledge came back, I realized this is impossible, this cannot happen. And that of course is where that case report is so important because they thought the same thing. This kind of patient did not wake up and yet I did and not only that I had this profound experience and of course that’s what they explained scientifically as the explanation for why I had the recovery. And I think that’s beautiful, that shows us that the scientific world is certainly making progress and opening up to truth. I mean, that’s what we’re all after here, we want to understand the truth and we should not let our limitations of our theoretical models of our inability to assimilate and integrate empirical data, we shouldn’t let those weaknesses get in the way of trying to get at the deep truth of all of this. And that involves a very open mind and it also involves a responsibility to study the data. And I would also say encourage people go within, the answers truly lie within us all meditation, centering prayer, whatever your means of quieting that little voice of the annoying roommate you know, on a regular basis, I meditate an hour to a day with sacred acoustics and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s a tremendous gift and all of us can come into much greater healing with this kind of going with it.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:16:10] Well, fantastic and it’s been just terrific having you on. Thank you so generous with your time and sharing all this terrific stuff.
Dr. Eben Alexander: [01:16:19] Thanks for having me on and thank you for what you’re doing because I promise you, a lot of what I interpret as an improvement in the world’s kind of understanding of all this in the last decade, a lot of that is due to your work, so keep it up.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:16:33] Thanks again to Dr. Eben Alexander for joining me today and Skeptiko and thanks again for all that he does. It ain’t easy doing what he does. So the one question I’d have to tee up from this episode relates back to something we talked about early on in the conversation, and that is Dr. Alexander’s near death experience seems to be tied to his family dynamics in a very powerful way. And I wonder what y’all think about the role of near death experiences in our personal spiritual journey. I know that’s some next level stuff, but I’d really like to go there, I want to go there, so I want you to go there with me and share any thoughts you might have. Track me down on the Skeptiko forum or anywhere else you would like. Until next time, take care and bye for now.
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