Eben Alexander

I think I saw that Andrew did an interview with Eben Alexander. I was wondering if the counter narrative is widely known here. Has it been discussed? I am referring primarily to the Esquire Magazine piece.

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We’ve had several posts about NDEs over the years, here, here and here, among others, so this dialogue was another case of a first-hand experience (via the interview), with the proviso—as always— that it was just a retelling, and is taken as such, certainly not gospel. Whether or not there are inconsistencies, the account is roughly congruent with many others who have had such experiences. I haven’t had one of this type but I have spoken with a few people who say they have, so I’m open to listening to their experiences, and comparing them to my limited background. I used to make it a habit to check sources and read things written by Andrew’s guests, so the Esquire piece was not much of a surprise. What’s your take on the subject? Just wondering, have you had a near death experience to share?

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I have not. So, you read the book and the Esquire article? I felt the things disclosed in the article were a letdown. They shattered an illusion, I feel. I did have other concerns when reading the book, chiefly that he had come out with a product to sell. It doesn’t seem to me that there is much reconciliation to be made between the image presented in the book, and what the article revealed. I did see an interview with him that was impressive in its own right. He is no doubt highly intelligent. I would have to say I am agnostic on NDEs. I don’t know enough about them.
In my 20s I read Robert Monroe’s book and was practicing his method for OBEs. I began to have some success amounting to becoming aware of the sleep paralysis and having the vibrations come on. A change to my life course interrupted the endeavor. I left home for college in NYC and put it all in the back drawer for nearly 40 years. Care to share you thoughts/experience?

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Not much to tell. Spent the '60s in a college fraternity while studying Buddhism and Agni Yoga. Got drafted, joined the Air Force, later the Peace Corps (Nepal). Studied Vipassana with Goeinka-Ji and have kept an admiration for Tibetan Buddhism since my Nepal days. Did have an NDE-type experience (my classification) being warned in a dream of impending doom. Was looking for help for insomnia when I took a Dream Yoga course with Andrew in 2018 and subsequently, a couple of in-person retreats with him, re-kindling my active interest in Dharma. Since then, several online courses and about one lucid dream a month, give or take, despite insomnia/illness.

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“I am referring primarily to the Esquire Magazine piece.”

I did not read it, but I did see his interview with Andrew, and that was really good.

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So, I guess the other side of the story is not commonly know here.

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What is the other side of the story?

Can you elaborate on this?

I always approach these stories with a healthy amount of Skepticism.

Yes I also had the same feeling that, his story was not only promoting book sales, but also his product line of music stuff. That worried me a little bit.

I don’t know what the medical tests on his brain at the time were. Its my understanding that he was completely brain dead? Is that true? Was there some mental function?

I read it and you can post the link, if you like.

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I want to tread lightly and not seem like I am on any sort of mission one way or the other, but personally, it just doesn’t feel valid and worthwhile to have only one side of the story on the table. I assume everyone would agree that the truth is always paramount. So… Dr. Eben Alexander Proof of Heaven Investigation - Proof of Heaven Factual Omissions

And, Barry, you haven’t indicated your take on the matter. Do you not feel there is a deception in what the book presented, based on what the Esquire piece revealed? I have to say I felt conned. It looks like a lot of dishonesty and misrepresentation. You say you weren’t surprised based on looking into other guests. So, in your experience, there is often a great difference between “reality” and what is publicly presented?

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And another thing, the audience for these topics is driven by a deep hunger for truth and learning. It really makes me question what seems presented in what may be a very inauthentic way. I am all for the placebo effect and giving hope and speaking what people want or need to hear. But I am more in favor of truth, honesty and sincerity. I gave the book to my mother to read (before I saw Esquire), and I won’t be showing her the Esquire piece. But, for me personally, I absolutely do want to know that side of the story.

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Not sure about which side of a story is more correct. I don’t see two competing stories here. I think there are certainly different interpretations of phenomena and events—and, of course, both authors’ spins are always part of the mix. In some circumstances, I will look up and sometimes read an author’s other publications, and in which venues they appear, to make a more reasoned evaluation of what he or she is writing about in a particular article.

For me, Alexander’s story had/has a ring of truth based upon my own experiences. Some of the particulars I can’t personally relate to, but so what? Same goes for my wife. For the Esquire followup, I believe there were inconsistencies pointed out which are not surprising given the subjective nature of experience—enough to reject Alexander out—of—hand? Nah.

I have a little background working around commercial news publishing (Copy for the NY Daily News) and as a participant in various academic research endeavors and publications, so I read non-fiction with those tinted glasses and see what’s reasonable to me.

I was told during my military training “believe little of what you read and half of what you see” and you’ll survive what’s coming. These days I can digest more, but I still need the occasional Alka-Seltzer.

Not sure if this answers your question.

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Yeah, I get what you’re saying. But, getting into the binaural beats business bugs me, hiding medical mistakes bugs me, and getting the ring of truth, I think, could pretty easily be done by two competent writers who’ve immersed themselves in the subject and the many other accounts. I don’t want to beat a dead horse though. Only he knows his inner experience, and if his account attracts or inspires others, so be it. I do appreciate you thoughts though. Thanks!

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Tried several, including his, never did anything for me.

I bought a Limina. I haven’t used it much though, since it would take time from my regular meditation. I would like to experiment more with it though. I don’t hold much hope for it being years of zen practice in a can though. I’m on the fence as far a psychedelics. I recently attended an online discussion by Ponlop Rinpoche on the topic of Tibetan Buddhism and psychedelics. It was disappointing in a sense, because he is not up on the use of psychedelics. It was odd that it was advertised as it was, or odd that he was chosen to give the talk. But, I would take from it that there isn’t much interface between the two, which is what I thought to begin with. But, I thought hearing from him would really tell it like it is. The fact that there was nothing to tell is the lesson I learned. Cost me 40 bucks to learn it.

Wasn’t sure who this was. Googled it because there have been so many replies about it. I started his book because andrew recommended it in his book study. Didn’t finish it completely but the book had a good message nonetheless.

One I was able to get through was written by Richard Bach. A famous 1970s writer and pilot who crashed his plane in 2012 ( Author Richard Bach is injured in a Washington plane crash | CNN ) then wrote a beautiful book called Illusions II The Adventures of a Reluctant Student ( Illusions II: The Adventures of a Reluctant Student - Wikipedia ). Maybe it’s fiction. Who knows but it sure was an enjoyable book. Best of luck on your investigations :upside_down_face:.

“The landing was perfect, a word I rarely use for my flying. A few seconds before the wheels touched the land, they brushed the tops of the grass, the soft gold whispering. I don’t hear the lovely sound of wheels airborne above the grass that often. It was perfect. Just as the wheels touched the farmer’s field, though, I couldn’t see. Not unconscious not-seeing, but as though someone had slammed a black plastic visor in front of my eyes. There was no sound. The grass, the wheels, the hush of the wind…everything was still. I’m not flying, I told myself. That’s odd. I thought I was flying. This is a dream!”

“I knew somehow that my dearest friend was praying for my life. Was she my wife? Why was she praying? I’m fine, I’m not hurt, I’m dreaming! Dying is a journey for a later year, not one for now. I’d like to stay here, but I need to go back, for her sake. The second time: “Your choice. Would you prefer to stay, or return to your belief of living?” This time I thought, carefully. I’ve been fascinated with dying for a long time. Here’s my chance to explore what this place can tell me. And this place was not the world I knew. It was an after-life, I knew. Maybe I should stay here a bit. No. I love her. I need to see her again. “Would you care to stay?” I didn’t want to leave my life suddenly, without telling her good-bye. It was tempting to stay, but this is not dying, it’s a dream. I’ll wake up, please, yes. I’m sure.”

“Another dream. Next I’ll wake up. I’ve never had a hospital dream, didn’t much like hospitals. No way to find what I was doing here, but it was time to leave. I was in a bed in the hospital, surrounded by plastic vines from somewhere into my body. It felt like not a nice place to be. A monitor showing something. My wrists were tied to the railing of the bed. What is this place? Hello, I’m awake! Vanish this dream, please! No change. It seemed, forgive me, real. There by the bed was the woman I knew, she was my wife? No. I loved her, I knew. She reached for me, terribly tired, but warm, loving, happy. What was her name? “Richard! You’re back!” Nothing hurt. Why was I tied into this rig? “Hi Sweet,” I said. My voice…my words felt like a foreign language, broken syllables. “Oh, thank you so much, dear one. Hi! You came back!” There were tears in her eyes. “You came back…” She untied my wrists. I had no idea why I was here, why she was crying. Was my dream somehow connected with this strange place?”

"When I woke once more, the hospital again! She was still there. “Are you OK?” She’s my wife, I thought. Can’t remember her name. Not my wife. I loved her. “I’m fine. Where are we? Except all these wires, tubes. What’s going on? What are they for? Is it time to leave?” My voice sounded like a broken cloud, barely English. She had not slept. “You were hurt,” she said. “You were nearly landing when the wires…” Not true, I thought. I never saw any wires. A crash? I never saw any crash. In fifty-some years flying, I never came close to electric wires. I remembered the sound of the tires in the grass. “Wires were right on the ground?” “They said you hit the wires, up in the air.” “Not true. They were wrong. I was a few inches from the ground.” “OK, they got it wrong. You’re alive, now, dear one.” She brushed tears from her eyes. “I was dreaming, is all. Fifteen minutes I was gone, half an hour max.” She shook her head. “It’s been seven days. I waited for you here. They said you might not make it, or you might…die from the…” "

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On many questions, Andrew often says “depends upon who you ask.” I have also found this to be true for this one after asking and listening to several sources.

Johnathan Livingston Seagull, all the rage in college and a major motion picture with great music.

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Are you referring to psychedelics or my hearing of Ponlop?

Your excerpt’s style strikes me as more true to someone’s actual experience vs. Eben Alexander’s version, which reads much more story-like. Thanks for mentioning this. I will look into Richard Bach.