Proof is a TV show that is perhaps as controversial as several conspiracy theories, but I can assure you that the question of “is there something beyond death?” is a frequent topic in Western medical circles. I was asked specifically after my own near-death experience (nothing to see here, the docs were pros and quick about it). Perhaps I didn’t need to have one; my passport had already been stamped. One of the doctors on the case had a parallel experience at the same time outside the hospital and there was a calendar page from 12/16/07 saved as a bit of memorabilia now lost to the ages, unlike the memory or the experience. But, to borrow a phrase from the late great Ed Encho, I digress….
It is said that you don’t begin to inquire or believe until you have had your own experience; such experience can be mimicked, simulated or even actuated with entheogenic drugs.
Epiphany is as good a word as any, but there is a broad range of related words, experiences or explanations. Altered, or higher, states of consciousness have been explored for a very long time by a great many people. I once owned a book about 251 ways to enter into an altered state of consciousness.
I’ve noted that I’ve had an OBE, an epiphany and a theophany. They are part and parcel of my own inquiries, an example of Eric Booth’s spectrum of curiosity, interest, admiration, concern, connection, resonance and change. Having an OBE probably helped set me on my course of inquiry that has brought me to this point. The three parallel experiences certainly changed me, and make things resonate within.
The OBE was one I shared with the woman who became my wife and the mother of my two children. It made some sense when I discovered and read Mark Gaffney’s book on the initiatory teachings of ther Last Supper (he’s the fellow who wrote about the mystery plane of 9/11 too) and when I read of Marghanita Laski’s research into rhythm and movement in Murphy’s book “In The Zone”, so it would seem that the rhythm and movement we imparted into and through our spinal/kundalini systems, aligned as they were, took us to a different place. As Gaffney points out, perhaps the preacher and his first disciple experienced the same thing. And then decades later there is Bentov’s book “Stalking The Wild Pendulum” which is an exploration of how sound and electrical impulse travel through the aorta and its relationship to kundalini, something quite similar to the effects of binaural-beat brain-wave meditation, which I did at length in the months prior to the events of December 2007.
The epiphany was perhaps similarly a doorway that had been created by the warmth on my spine of the sun-bathed granite shelving of coastal Maine as I meditated quietly listening to the rhythmic waves of the sea on that shoreline. I slipped through that door left slightly ajar like a silent cat discovering a new way. It was an extended cosmic moment that cannot be eexplained, only experienced. I’ve had briefer almost nearly instantaneous glimpses since then; some might think them akin to flashbacks. But once you’ve been there, as it says, they can never take that away from you.
The theophany occured when my second-born child was two and in the full throes of a middle-of-the-night colicky crankiness that, if you’re a parent, you’ve probably experienced. The adults are beyond themselves with lack of sleep and fatigue from work, and there’s a child needing attention and cradling and more. As you near the end of your rope, there are exasperations that could lead to gross parental mis-step and, crammed up into the corner of a dormer roof in the nursery where quite literally no one else could fit, I felt the grip of a hand on my shoulder taking no uncertain posession of my attention and my intent with a message that was transmitted mysteriously but unequivocally and which told me to be gentle with one for whom He had great things in store. Say what you will, but the child was calmed instantly into peaceful sleep, as was the parent. If you’ve read the e-book, you know something of what happened in the child’s life. She’s approaching 40 and has her own children and classrooms full of other kids.
Now, in the past, I’d mentioned Eben Alexander’s book highly-controversial book, but such inquiry has been with us since the days of Kubler-Ross and others. The TV show is nice in that it’s a light introduction to the concepts and features interesting characters, but if you want to study along at home, I’d recommend the following:
http://www.beyondword.com/product/Epiphanies-01679 [The bibliography and suggested reading at the back of this book is stunning.]
55-minute audio interview:
Quotes from the book:
“Mind-matter-time, thought to be distinct, are so intertwined that they might be better off thought of as aspects of one another, of something alive.”
“Even while tales of revelation are cornerstones of the world’s great religions, we formalize them as myth and keep our transcendent moments secret from each other and from ourselves, so as not to appear fatuous or flat-out crazy.”
“… revelation, transcendent and transforming, is often dangerous. It is an elevator-stomach moment, a stop-everything.”
“Disabled people must concentrate on areas in which they can compete with anyone.”
“Post-traumatic stress or PTSD is a relatively new diagnostic label first coined to describe the long-lasting thoughts and mood disturbances reported by veterans of the Vietnam war. The diagnosis has since been expanded to describe persistent states of distress reported by adults or children who’ve been confronted by death, violence, or serious injury.”
“In his best-selling book Healing words, the power of prayer in the practice of medicine, the physician and author Larry Dossey writes sternly about silent prayer, unconscious prayer, prayers are answered before they are made. He talks about experimental trials with ‘distant intentionality’ …..”
Source of image: http://www.intechopen.com/books/complementary-therapies-for-the-contemporary-healthcare/distant-healing-by-the-supposed-vital-energy-scientific-bases [has a a downloadable chapter]
Here are five quotes from the book:
At the center of every account was the description of some radical extension of knowing, one that occupied body and soul, heart as well as mind. Now I began to reread with fresh eyes that vast body of recent research that explores knowing like that, knowing that emerges from beyond the intellect. The research comes from cognitive scientists, educators, neuroscientists, psychologists, and sociologists. None of it touches on knowing that’s apparently anomalous, but perhaps established research about these “peak moments” could help us start thinking about what happens at the other end of the spectrum.
During the subjects’ moments of deepest meditation and prayer, what stops firing were all the signals that tell us where to locate the boundaries that separate us from everything that isn’t us.
Human consciousness is able to extract information from physical aspects of its environment by some anomalous means that is independent of space and time.
Intuition is about recognizing internal impressions in an altered state of consciousness that simply doesn’t work in the same way as linear thinking.
… She could only access or extraordinary knowing by investing her work with personal meaning and connection.
Special attention might be paid to chapter 7 and the footnotes for that chapter that extend from ages 279 through to page 282.
Source of image:
Approaching 800 pages in length, the entire book is a tour de force, superbly organized and footnoted, with an index and bibliography. Danielle Prohom Olson describes it as an “exhaustive cross-cultural documentation of super-normal capacities (healing, telepathy, clairvoyance and feats of superhuman hearing, seeing and strength) demonstrated by yogis, Tibetan monks, indigenous shamans and high-level athletes….”.
I call your attention specifically to pages 195-230, as well as 112-116. After a discussion of involution and evolution, Murphy ends Chapter 7 with over four pages on the ideas that impede our understanding of metanormal development.
Chapter 8 is about metanormal embodiment in legend, art and religious doctrine, Taoist legends about immortality, the “glorified body” in Christianity, and super-ordinary powers in cartoons, movies and science fiction.
Chapter Nine delves into out-of-body experience, traveling clairvoyance, and dematerialization, as well as extraordinary conditions of energy and matter.
Chapter Ten is devoted to post-mortem states and the afterlife. OBE’s are also covered on pages 112-116.
For more about Murphy, his archived research and works:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century by Edward F. Kelly/ with CD [if you can afford it — I can’t]
There’s a necessary dying…Be ground. Be crumbled so wildflowers will come up where you are. You’ve been stony too many years. Try something different. Surrender. -Rumi
Then there is this fellow:
[on the role of the posterior cingulate cortex in getting out of your own way][ten minutes]
The Future of the Mind
Judson Brewer, Md, PhD presentation at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, March 10, 2014. See the web page at http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/Resources… for the slide presentation.
Scientists get first-ever visual glimpse into how new concepts form inside brain
Published time: June 10, 2015 18:55
Scientists have figured out how newly learned concepts form in the human brain by visualizing how new information gets filed. They say this is the first time science visually witnessed how and where specific objects are coded in the brain.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have managed to observe how different new knowledge is stored and how combinations of different pieces of this fresh information affect different parts of the brain. This is eventually used to tell the observer what the person is thinking about.
The accompanying research is published in the journal Human Brain Mapping.
University neuroscientist Marcel Just used the example of the 2013 discovery by the Smithsonian Institute of an entirely new species – an olinguito, which is a small South American carnivorous mammal. Those learning about the animal were able to immediately pickup new information for the first time, such as its habitat, diet, behaviour and so on.
“Millions of people read the information about the olinguito and in doing so permanently changed their own brains,” Just explained.
“Our research happened to be examining this process precisely at that time in a laboratory setting. When people learned that the olinguito eats mainly fruit instead of meat, a region of their left inferior frontal gyrus—as well as several other areas—stored the new information according to its own code.”
‘It’s like first man in space’: Russian patient to undergo first ever head-to-body transplant
The team also learned that people store new knowledge and its bits in the same way, using “the same filing system,” in the same brain areas.
Just and PhD student and lead author Andrew Bauer then gathered 16 study participants and monitored their brain activity while teaching them new information about eight extinct species of animals. They observed the emergence of new concepts in their brains by using an MRI machine, as the hour-long ingestion of new information progressed.
Having already conducted prior research in the field of brain imaging, the team knew where certain bits of information would pop up, such as information about an animal’s habitat or its dietary habits. Each category lights up a different part of the brain.
As all new concepts had different “activation signatures,” the scientists were able to see with the help of a computer program, which concepts the participants were thinking about, virtually allowing them to read their brains.
Rich people will become immortal cyborgs in 200 years – historian
According to Just, “The activation signature of a concept is a composite of the different types of knowledge of the concept that a person has stored, and each type of knowledge is stored in its own characteristic set of regions.”
The team gained further insight into how the brain manages information. For example, new information does not eclipse something learned five minutes ago. Instead, “Each time we learn something, we permanently change our brains in a systematic way,” Bauer explains.
In conducting the research, Carnegie Mellon fused two prominent research areas at the university – one dealing with studying how brain architecture gives rise to complex behaviors; and one dealing with increasing the effectiveness of student learning.
Just and Bauer hope that knowing how the brain ingests new information could prove very useful to understanding the nature of better learning – what a student has problems with, or which bits of knowledge, which sink in better than others.