In the predawn hours of November 10, 2008, Alexander was driven into coma by a rare and mysterious bacterial meningitis-encephalitis of unknown cause. He spent a week in coma on a ventilator, his prospects for survival diminishing rapidly. On the seventh day, to the surprise of everyone, he started to awaken. Memories of his life had been completely deleted inside of coma, yet he awoke with memories of a fantastic odyssey deep into another realm – more real than this earthly one! His older son advised him to write down everything he could remember about his journey, before he read anything about near-death experiences, physics or cosmology. Six weeks later, he completed his initial recording of his remarkable journey, totaling over 20,000 words in length. Then he started reading, and was astonished by the insights his journey brought to the world’s literature on near-death experiences, the afterlife, and to all phenomena of extended consciousness. His experience clearly revealed that we are conscious in spite of our brain – that, in fact, consciousness is at the root of all existence.
Alexander’s story offers a crucial key to the understanding of reality and human consciousness. It will have a major effect on how we view spirituality, soul and the non-material realm. In analyzing his experience, including the scientific possibilities and grand implications, he envisions a more complete reconciliation of modern science and spirituality as a natural product.
Blessed with a complete recovery, Alexander wrote a book, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, about this most powerful, life-changing story: a scientist’s case for the afterlife. In autumn 2014, Alexander continued his exploration of this extraordinary material in a second volume, The Map of Heaven: How Science, Religion, and Ordinary People Are Proving the Afterlife. Part metaphysical detective story, part manual for living, The Map of Heaven explores humankind’s spiritual history and the birth of modern science in the seventeenth century, showing how we forgot, and are now at last remembering, who we really are and what our destiny truly is.
Near-death experiences, or NDEs, are controversial. Thousands of people have had them, but many in the scientific community have argued that they are impossible, and Alexander was one of those people. A highly trained neurosurgeon who had operated on thousands of brains in the course of his career, Alexander knew that what people of faith call the “soul” is really a product of brain chemistry. NDEs, he would have been the first to explain, might feel real to the people having them, but in truth they are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.
Then came the day when Alexander’s own brain was attacked by an extremely rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human— shut down completely. For seven days Alexander lay in a hospital bed in a deep coma. Then, as his doctors weighed the possibility of stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.
Alexander’s recovery is by all accounts a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of universe itself.