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Living in a Mindful Universe: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Heart of Consciousness by [Eben Alexander, Karen Newell]
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Living in a Mindful Universe: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Heart of Consciousness Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Living in a Mindful Universe is a compelling introduction to ​a vitally important and rapidly unfolding paradigm shift in science. It highlights the decline of ​a nihilistic worldview ​held by scientists for centuries, where consciousness was a meaningless side effect of brain activity, to the rise of a far more comprehensive worldview where consciousness is the fundamental "glue" that defines reality itself.  
Dean Radin, PhD, Chief Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences
 
Similar to Einstein, Eben, a man of science, delves into the Spiritual Oneness.  He realizes that there are many paths up the mountain and they end up in the same place. As a result of understandings that Eben encountered during his coma, he succinctly conveys familiarity with many planes of consciousness, and the way he demonstrates this awareness is fascinating.
Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now
 
Numerous books have been written about consciousness, mind, soul, and love, but nobody has put them together in such an ingenious way as Dr. Eben Alexander. His book LIVING IN A MINDFUL UNIVERSE will bring its readers a road map for life that is desperately needed in these times of stress, conflict, and confusion. It not only deals with life after death but how to live a more meaningful existence right here and right now.
Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., co-author Personal Mythology
 
Dr. Eben Alexander's case history is one of the most important in the history of medicine.  The fact that he physically survives his illness is astonishing, but his account of a journey during his coma to a resplendent domain that operates according to the principle of boundless love is even more surprising. Alexander's experience shows that the dismal, vacuous view of materialism, which guarantees total annihilation of consciousness with physical death, is almost certainly wrong.
Larry Dossey, MD, Author:  ONE MIND
 
With a background in neurosurgery and having had direct experience of non-ordinary aspects of reality, Eben Alexander is a unique and valuable cultural asset in our efforts to develop a more mature understanding of the nature of self and world. In this delightful and mind-opening book, Eben and Karen take us with them on their journey of exploration subsequent to Eben's NDE. They show that the insights they have had are accessible to any one of us, and that sane, coherent, non-materialist views of reality not only exist, but are no longer fringe.
Bernardo Kastrup, author of Brief Peaks Beyond and Beyond Allegory
 
Living in a Mindful Universe goes beyond Dr. Alexander's previous books in showing how science and spirituality are coming together to give us a more complete understanding of consciousness, meaning, and purpose in the universe -- and in describing how we can realize our role in it.
Bruce Greyson, MD, Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS), University of Virginia, co-editor of The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences
 
In this third book based upon his extraordinary experiences during a coma induced by bacterial meningitis, Eben Alexander provides new information about the coma and its aftermath, connects his experiences with world-wide and world-old mystical traditions, and links experiences of this sort with modern developments in physics. An exciting new journey of scientific self-discovery is certainly underway. 
Edward F. Kelly, PhD, DOPS, University of Virginia, and lead author of Irreducible Mind (2007) and Beyond Physicalism (2015).
 
In this impressive book, Eben Alexander gives us a frank and very personal account of the life-changing transformation following his deep-coma experience.  He shares with us ... his newly obtained insight in the mystery of the Collective Mind. This perspicuously written book will bring deeper understanding of the nature of the human spirit, and gives us all a greater knowledge about the nature of reality. Highly recommended.   
             Pim van Lommel, MD, cardiologist, author of Consciousness Beyond Life

Eben Alexander and Karen Newell, two of the brightest and most sensitive people I know, have written a truly wonderful new book. Their book is both a personal journal of their spiritual quest and a practical manual for the care, education and nourishment of the soul. 
Raymond Moody, MD, PhD, author of Life After Life and Glimpses of Eternity
 
In Living in a Mindful Universe, Eben Alexander and Karen Newell explore the worlds of both science and spirit. They offer clear explanations of findings that challenge the Supreme Illusion of everyday physical reality, along with frank accounts of their own efforts to connect more with the Collective Mind.  The result is a work filled with wisdom and compassion.
Jim B. Tucker, MD, New York Times best selling author of Return to Life:Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives
 
While eloquently telling us about the Mindful Universe, Eben Alexander and Karen Newell skillfully and beautifully drive home a timely and important message:You are not just part of a self aware and ever evolving universe, you are the one that gives it awareness and is evolving it! You are your universe. The authors make the compelling case that the future of our world and the future vision for our universe lies directly in our hands and in the choices we make.
Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, New York Times Best Selling Author of  Super Brain and Super Genes
 
As a neurosurgeon previously steeped in materialism until his beliefs were shattered by a near death experience, Alexander is in a unique position of being able to provide a more comprehensive description of the true nature of reality than conventional science or spirituality can offer, which he delivers with great elegance within the pages of this book. Living in a Mindful Universe not only shatters conventional boundaries that traditionally separated science from spirituality, but also provides us with important insights on how to apply this understanding to our lives, which is much needed and so important in the fearful world we seem to be living in today!
Anita Moorjani ~~ New York Times BestSelling Author Dying to be Me
 
I have great admiration for Dr. Eben Alexander, because he didn't ignore something that science cannot (currently) explain--namely, a detailed near-death experience when his brain was clinically incapacitated. Highly recommended for anyone looking to harness the power of the human mind!
−Kelly Turner, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds
 
A very important book, with rich stories illustrating a world beyond the limits of materialistic science and one neurosurgeon's quest to rethink everything he has learned. Dr. Alexander's humbleness, along with the wise counsel of Karen Newell, is a roadmap for those wishing to bridge science and spirit and enter into a life of wonder and magic. And, it's a great read!
William Arntz, Creator of What the BLEEP Do We Know!?
 
Having previously accepted the philosophy of 'scientific materialism' as the ultimate truth, Dr. Alexander found that his life-transforming near-death experience during coma had shattered all of his former beliefs about the nature of consciousness, the roles of the mind and brain, and the meaning of life and death. His emergent understanding, which parallels much of the awakening in the modern scientific community, is presented in Living in a Mindful Universe, which illuminates the many steps he took to expand his understanding of a much larger, richer, and deeper cosmos.

Bill Guggenheim, Coauthor of Hello From Heaven! --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

i n t r o d u c t i o n
Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.
—Albert Szent-Györgyi (1893–1986), Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1937

What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Most people do not dwell on this question. It’s best to leave such musings up to neuroscientists and philosophers—why spend time thinking about such scholarly matters? Brain and mind are clearly related, and that’s enough for most of us to know, right? We have more important things to focus on in our lives.

As a practicing neurosurgeon, I was exposed daily to the mind-brain relationship due to the fact that my patients would often have alterations in their level of consciousness. While this phenomenon was interesting, my focus was pragmatic. I was trained to evaluate those alterations in consciousness in order to diagnose and treat various tumors, injuries, infections, or strokes affecting the brain. We have the tools and, hopefully, the talent to benefit our patients by restoring them to more “normal” levels of conscious awareness. I closely followed developments in physics and knew there were theories about how it all works, but I had patients to care for, and more important things to consider.

My complacency with that arrangement of casual “understanding” came crashing to a halt on November 10, 2008. I collapsed on my bed and fell into a deep coma, after which I was admitted to Lynchburg General Hospital—the same hospital where I had worked as a neurosurgeon. While in coma, I experienced things that, in the weeks after awakening, baffled me and cried out for an explanation within the bounds of science as I knew it.

According to conventional neuroscience, due to the severe damage to my brain caused by an overwhelming bacterial meningoencephalitis, I should not have experienced anything—at all! But while my brain was besieged and swollen with infection, I went on a fantastic odyssey during which I remembered nothing of my life on earth. This odyssey seemed to have lasted for months or years, an elaborate journey into many layers of higher dimensions, at times viewed from the perspective of infinity and eternity, outside of space and time. Such a complete inactivation of my neocortex, the outer surface of the brain, should have disabled all but the most rudimentary experiences and memory—yet I was haunted by the persistence of so many ultrareal memories, vivid and complex. At first I simply trusted my doctors and their advice that “the dying brain can play all kinds of tricks.” After all, I had sometimes given my own patients the same “advice.”

My final follow-up visit with the main neurologist involved in my care came in early January 2010, fourteen months after awakening from my treacherous weeklong coma. Dr. Charlie Joseph had been a friend and close associate before my coma, and had struggled with the rest of my medical colleagues through the brunt of my horrific meningoencephalitis, recording the details of the neurological devastation along the way. We caught up on the specifics of my recovery (all of which were quite surprising and unexpected, given the severity of my illness during that fateful week), reviewing some of the neurological exams and MRI and CT scan results from my time in coma, and performing a complete neurological examination.

As tempting as it was to simply accept my extraordinary healing and current well-being as an inexplicable miracle, I couldn’t do that. Instead, I was driven to find an explanation for the journey I took during the coma—a sensory experience that completely defied our conventional neuroscientific concepts of the role of the neocortex in detailed conscious awareness. The unsettling prospect that fundamental tenets of neuroscience were incorrect led me into deeper territory in my final discussion with Dr. Joseph that blustery winter afternoon.

“I am left with no explanation whatsoever as to how my mental experiences deep in coma, so vibrant, complex, and alive, could have possibly occurred,” I said to him. “It seemed more real than anything I had ever experienced.” I recounted for him how numerous details clearly placed the vast majority of my coma experience as occurring between days one and five of my seven-day coma, and yet the neurological examinations, lab values, and imaging results all confirmed that my neocortex was too damaged by the severe meningoencephalitis to have supported any such conscious experience. “How am I to make any sense of all this?” I asked my friend.

I’ll never forget Charlie’s smile, as he looked at me with a sense of knowing, and said, “There is plenty of room in our understanding of the brain, and mind, and consciousness to allow for this mystery of your remarkable recovery to indicate something of great importance. As you well know, we encounter copious evidence in clinical neurology that we have a far way to go before we can start claiming any kind of ‘complete’ understanding. I am inclined to accept your personal mystery as another lovely piece of the puzzle, one that greatly raises the ante in approaching any understanding of the nature of our existence. Just enjoy!”

I found it most reassuring that a highly trained and capable neurologist, one who had carefully followed the details of my illness, was open to the grand possibilities implied by my memories from deep in coma. Charlie helped open wide the door that has led to my transformation from a materialist scientist, proud of his academic skepticism, into someone who now knows his true nature and has also been offered a glimpse into levels of reality that is most refreshing, indeed.

Of course, it was not an easy journey in those initial months of exploration and confusion. I knew that I was entertaining concepts that many in my field would consider beyond the pale, if not outright heretical. Some might even suggest that I let go of my inquiry rather than commit professional suicide by sharing such a radical tale.

As Dr. Joseph and I had come to agree, my brain was severely damaged by a near-fatal case of bacterial meningoencephalitis. The neocortex—the part modern neuroscience tells us must be at least partially active for conscious experience—was incapable of creating or processing anything even remotely close to what I experienced. And yet I did experience it. To quote Sherlock Holmes, “When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Thus, I had to accept the improbable: This very real experience happened, and I was conscious of it—and my consciousness did not depend on having an intact brain. Only by allowing my mind (and my heart) to open as widely as possible was I able to see the cracks in the conventional consensus view of the brain and consciousness. It was by the light allowed in by those cracks that I began to glimpse the true depths of the mind-body debate.

That debate is of extreme importance to us all because many of our foundational assumptions about the nature of reality hinge on the directions in which that debate flows. Any notion of meaning and purpose in our existence, of connection with others and the universe, of our very sense of free will, and even of such concepts as an afterlife and reincarnation—all of these deep issues depend directly on the outcome of the mind-body debate. The relationship between mind and brain is thus one of the most profound and important mysteries in all of human thought. And the picture emerging from the most advanced reaches of scientific investigation is quite contrary to our conventional scientific viewpoint. A revolution in understanding appears imminent.

This pathway of discovery continues to unfold, and will no doubt occupy me for the rest of my life. Along the way I have encountered some of the most expansive experiences and intriguing people I could possibly imagine. I have learned not to be seduced by simplistic falsehoods about an assumed world, but to strive to assess and deal with the world as it truly is. As human beings seeking a deeper understanding of our existence, we are all well served to take that approach to heart.

During the Deepest anD most perplexing phases in the nine years since I first awakened from coma, my mantra has often been, “Believe in it all, at least for now.” My advice to you, dear reader, is to do the same—suspend disbelief for now, and open your mind as broadly as possible. Deeper understanding demands this liberation, just as trapeze artists must release the trapeze to tumble through the air, trusting that their partner will be there to catch them.

Think of this book as my outstretched hands, ready to support you as you take the greatest leap of all—into the glorious reality of who we truly are! --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • File Size : 3054 KB
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Publication Date : October 17, 2017
  • Publisher : Rodale Books (October 17, 2017)
  • Print Length : 290 pages
  • ASIN : B06Y2SFPR2
  • Language: : English
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 232 ratings