Transcript for Eben Alexander on Near Death Experience


Eben Alexander: The first thing I remember deep in my coma was this expanse, I was was as if I were underground or in more accurately, I think, kind of in very dirty jello because I had this sense that I could kind of sense what was around me going out many feet. But it was all very dark and murky. At no point did I have a body image at all. This was just awareness of being in that realm. It was very kind of coarse, murky, kind of a dark reddish brown if anything. It was very foamy and kind of bubbling. In kind of later stages I would even remember faces, generally kind of unrecognizable animal faces that would kind of boil up out of it and then some roar or chant and then they would go back into it. And there was a pounding machinery type sound that was deep beneath. And I remember a very strong sensation of roots, of black, kind of itchy, tickly roots around me, too, so it was very much like being underground. And again, a lot of it was just like being in this mass of dirty jello where I couldn’t really see very far. I often liken it to looking out a window on an absolutely pitch-black night in a pouring rainstorm with water streaming down the windowpane and trying to make out what is outside. It was...Nothing was in focus. Even though I had no language and no words, I do remember having this intense curiosity. You know, what is this? And there would never be any answer, never any response, never anything. It’s like I didn’t exist in terms of responsiveness. And that went for a very very long time. It had a very foamy kind of quality to it, kind of  bubbling and murky and part of how I put that together when I was writing it all up was that that was the fact that my memory formation was not working very well at all. And my best interpretation of that whole realm which I call the earthworm’s eye view is that it was the best consciousness that my brain could muster when it was soaking in pus. That was the very best I could come up with. I felt like I was in that realm for months or years. It was very long because I had no memory of anything before. No memory at all. Zero. Words, concepts of humans, earth, this universe, you know, family, all that kind of thing ... totally gone. There was none of that.  
And then, for reasons unbeknownst to me even now, there appeared this beautiful, spinning, kind of filamentous white light that had a melody associated with it. It was an absolutely beautiful, flowing, harmonious melody that was such a complete change from that pounding monotonous machinery sound that had been there forever. And this melody spun in front of me with this beautiful, clear, white light and got bigger and bigger. And then the whole thing expanded and my awareness went right through it as if it were a portal into this very steep valley going up. And it was a very verdant, beautiful valley. And again I had no body awareness, but I was a speck on a butterfly wing ... on a beautiful butterfly. And there were millions of other butterflies flying all around us in these lazy loops and swirls. And there were flowers blossoming and buds blooming on trees. They would blossom and bloom even as we were flying through. And these waterfalls were around me ... beautiful waterfalls going into these crystal blue pools. And the mist coming up, just sparkling and this bright light from these billowing, bubbling clouds was just coming right through those mist drops. And it was the most beautiful scene and beside me on the butterfly was this beautiful girl. And I remember that she was...when I was writing this up in those first few weeks, I remembered that she was in a peasant outfit. That’s the way I put it, very simple clothing, and yet very beautiful and I can even remember the colors, this kind of powder blue and this peach, kind of orange, and then a darker blue and just...she had the most beautiful face and this soft, kind of light brown hair and high cheek bones and beautiful blue eyes. And she just looked at me. And she never said a word, but her thoughts would come straight into my mind. And again when I wrote these down, I was putting words to what actually dad flowed in as pure concepts. But the concepts were very clear. You are loved. You are cherished. There is nothing you can do wrong. You will never be thrown away. You are infinitely cherished and loved forever. You have nothing to fear. And the comfort of it was indescribable. It was so absolutely beautiful, this loving, incredible comfort that she was giving me, which of course in contra-distinction to that murky earthworm eye view, just spectacular change. And I was aware of many souls. I call them villagers in my initial writing...but below us dancing. They looked like simple kind of peasant villagers, just like my companion on the butterfly wing...was in very simple clothing. There was music with the dancing but the most powerful part of it, and this came after initially there was this warm summer breeze. The perfect breeze that blew through this entire scene, and it changed everything for me. Even though the description of the scene would be the same, that warm breeze was this breath that led me to know that this was divine. That this was absolute power, the creative infinite power of the divine. And again those EW not words, but the concepts are actually much cleaner than the words. The words kind of bring it down a few notches. But this stunning awareness of this awe and power of the loving, unconditionally loving, infinitely loving creator of that whole realm. And with that breeze, I was aware of these luminescent orbs up above that were sweeping through these arcs. And I remember gold and silver arcs, sparkling trails. And from these arcs were coming these anthems, these choral hymns, that the power behind that music, so infinite and awe-inspiring music, more beautiful than anything I could imagine on Earth. And in my writing, in those early weeks, I was calling those angels, those streaks of light as they would swoop through above. And at that point, any kind of question in my mind about, “Is this divine?”or “What is this?”, was answered with this resounding, overpowering, heart-pounding awareness, affirmation of this beautiful, loving, infinite, loving creator source that just went through me. And even to recall it now, it just is just such a blissful feeling because it was this awareness of this infinite loving creator. And it was from that point that the whole scene, in fact that whole universe very rapidly shrank, not just our observable universe, but everything ... higher dimensional space, time, everything ... collapsed down into this very very complex what I call kind of an over-sphere or hyper-sphere. And that was an awareness of being in this void that was as black as coal and absolutely infinite and eternal.  
The sphere was kind of almost right in front of me and my presence. But of course nothing was in front. It was just an awareness of it being right there. But also feeling the extent of that infinity. I mean if you can imagine the entire higher dimensional multiverse was almost like a basketball in front of me to play with. It kind of gives an idea of what infinity and eternity, because it was all of that at once with absolutely no bounds. And yet it was a very, it as absolutely filled with this love, that divine presence. And in that, which is what I call the core, outside of this universe with that you know the higher dimensional multiverse down right there with me, but this incredible extent beyond to infinity, there was that loving, omnipotent, omniscient presence and this orb of light. And there was my consciousness and my consciousness was far far beyond you know an individual consciousness. This was all of consciousness throughout the higher multiverse. It was a knowing, I mean so much in this realm is...these are lessons that for instance the lessons they were teaching me, the orb and that loving infinite warmth throughout. Initially they would say, again not in words, but in concepts, there are many things we will show you but you are not here to stay. And as part of the lesson, sometimes I would even become parts of that multiverse, as they were showing so much of about space, time, higher dimensional things, like dark energy, dark matter, how all of this is put together and in physical constructs far far far beyond anything we’re aware of. And this was all so clear as they were demonstrating this. At times, I would even become all of it, except I never had the sense of becoming totally one with that whole creative aspect of that loving source that was there. There was always the sense that even though I could become all of the everything and sensing the divine, you know our very consciousness is a direct link to that divine omniscience. The creative aspect of it was, I liken it to the shell around an egg. So there was this intimate contact, you know when I was all the egg yolk and everything else and so was the higher dimensional multiverse, and even the bright orb of light that had been teaching me some of these lessons. But that outer shell was the part that I never felt I became, and that was the part that was actually the creative source of it all, even though there was this oneness with that loving, omniscient, omnipotent creative source that was far far beyond anything of human imagination, which is why our religious writings are so misleading. Because they kind of bring everything down to our little human level, and yet this was all so infinitely far beyond that. It made it very clear to me how, for example, lemurs are not quite up there to figure out all of everything and the whole multiverse. Chimpanzees are closer, but they’re not there either. Humans are little closer, but we’re not there either. And to realize that chasm, the incredible gap between our knowing and our ability to understand and explain with kind of that nth degree of getting out to the creative source, made it so obvious to me that any discussion of a physical theory of everything, you know a TOE is completely ridiculous. Human minds are far too weak to get that. But we can go beyond the limits of human, you know physical brain and mind. I would then find myself back in the earthworm eye view. And that was one of the biggest parts of the puzzle that I think there was a big lesson there about our whole idea of sequencing and of kind of linear thinking and you know as Ray Moody said today of trying to make this into a travelogue. I would find myself back in the earthworm eye view and the thing that I found so interesting and it took me a long time after I came back, but I found that I could recall the notes of that melody. And by going through that melody in my awareness and go through the melody, I would start spinning up that beautiful light, that white filamentous light, and it would start spinning and then it would come closer. The whole thing would expand and then I would be back through that portal on the butterfly wing with my companion, flying up the beautiful valley. And then going from there, out into the core and then more lessons. And I remember three separate times of going back in. And every time, of course, I was told we will show you many things, but you’ll be going back. And I was starting to have this concept that back was the earthworm eye view. But then I realized that the spinning melody, after I’d been back there three times and then come back out to earthworm eye view, the spinning melody no longer worked. And I was very very sad to find that. But at that point I had tremendous, absolute trust and faith in my guardian angel as I came to call her, the companion on the butterfly wing. And on that infinitely knowing, loving creative source that they would take care of me. When I was feeling that sadness, but knowing that they would take care of me, is when I became aware of these arcs and arcs or people, thousands of people going off into the distance around me, all kind of kneeling and with their heads bowed and this kind of murmuring coming up from them. I still didn’t have any language back and when I wrote all this up later I said that these were people praying and I think that’s a very accurate description and it was this beautiful sense that this energy, this loving energy from these people around me praying was generating these billowing, kind of bubbling clouds, kind of like pink clouds and I was kind of bouncing up on those as I was coming back and it was very comforting. And in a sense, looking back on it, it was clear that this was showing me that there is love in this world that is your know through our fellow souls that can give us every bit of that love that we get in that outer realm with that infinitely loving, unconditionally loving creator. And that is what billowed me back up and my next memory was being kind of back in something very much like that earthworm eye view, although I was now starting to see faces, and not just kind of ugly animal faces or unrecognizable faces that would boil up out of the muck and disappear. But these were faces that later I came to realize, actually not too long after that, were humans. And they were people I didn’t recognize when I saw them, and they would mouth these words, and it was you know like Charlie Brown’s Christmas story you know -- wah wah wah wah ... and that’s what it looked like to me and that’s how I remembered it. But I could remember them very clearly. My visual memory was good, although I didn’t recognize them and I had no language yet so I couldn’t understand the words. And just as I remembered my companion on the butterfly wing, I knew exactly what she looked like, I could remember that beautiful face forever. And one of these faces, I soon found out because I think this was getting close to when I started waking up which was on the seventh morning, it was a Sunday morning and of the faces I soon found out was not there and that was of Susan Rinchas (sp?) who is a very good friend of my wife’s and she had done some healing and channeling work from her home in Chapel Hill. She wrote a book called Third Eye Open and she was a friend of my wife’s for many years. And they had called her up kind of midway into my coma and asked her to help and she channeled up to me Thursday and Friday nights of my coma. And I remember her being there just as clearly as the others. But she was never physically there. The others were physically there in the ICU room with me ... my wife, one of my physicians who is also a neighbor and good friend, my wife’s sister, and another friend, Sylvia White. And they were all there and I remembered them but didn’t recognize them when I saw them. And then there was the one face that really frightened me. And because I’d had so little control over this whole experience, the only thing that I managed to do was spin up that melody and that took me back into the beautiful idyllic gateway. And the face that frightened me was my ten-year-old son. His name is Bond. And it frightened me because until this time I thought I could continue to exist or not exist, it didn’t matter. And it was..this was the morning, Sunday morning, he’d heard some discussions, you know, potentially about their stopping the antibiotics and that kind of thing, and he was in there kind of pleading with me to be okay. And he would pull my eyes open, Dad you’re going to be okay, Dad you’re going to be okay. And I didn’t understand the words, but there was something, and I didn’t recognize him, but there was something about that connection between us that kind of broke through and all of a sudden I was terrified because I realized I wasn’t the only one here. There was another soul out there who was pleading with me to do something. And I didn’t understand any of the rules of this very bizarre realm. And so that was a...That was a very shocking moment because now it was...I had to try to figure out how things worked and I had to try and struggle my way back up. 
I would say it has completely turned my prior view of kind of reality and the brain making consciousness and how our...once the brain goes, consciousness goes...completely upside down to where, now it’s very clear to me, when I look at you, I see the fellow soul who is temporarily in this costume and for this act of the play. And when this act is over, your soul will be set free, as will be mine. And we know this much greater awareness of reality as we’re freed from the limitations of the brain and body in this incarnation. One way I put it is that we are conscious in spite of our brain and I understand now fully what that all means. But it has to do with consciousness being the primary phenomenon. And the hard problem of consciousness and the enigma of quantum mechanics, both support this very strongly. This makes much more sense in trying to explain the nature of our existence than trying to use the physicalist model and come up through physics, chemistry, biology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and so okay here is how consciousness emerges because there is no one on Earth who can write this sentence that begins that chapter.

Comments for this interview

Consciousness (Vanessa Hennessey, 10/08/2012 - 2:00pm)
Dr Alexander's NDE (tim, 06/02/2012 - 8:07am)

Did I say ..vest...darn it I meant... VAST implications