Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven is a personal account of a medical doctor who came within an ace of a documented brain death yet made a full recovery. That person was Alexander himself. While in the coma Dr. Alexander had a near death experience of startling reality and duration in which he had no awareness of his previous identity; not his name, his profession nor his memory. He instead voyaged without any apparent self-consciousness through three distinct “worlds”: “the rough, ugly Realm of the Earthworm’s-Eye View, the idyllic Gateway, and the awesome heavenly Core”.
Upon regaining consciousness, Dr. Alexander on the advice of his son set down his recollections while they were still fresh in his mind and attempted to reconcile what he subjectively experienced with his training and career as a neurosurgeon, which included a stint as a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and the publication of numerous scientific papers.
From reviewing his own medical records and interviewing the physicians attending him, Dr. Alexander came to the conclusion that his experiences could not adequately be explained by the standard models of brain function. Although convinced of the reality of what he experienced while in the coma, Dr. Alexander could only indicate the lines of inquiry that might be pursued to explain his experience in the physical sense, since it could not be adequately modeled by the mechanisms currently known.
The main problem he had to deal with was the inverse relationship between the depth of his disease and the richness of his experience. The ‘deader’ you were, it seemed, the more complex and information rich the near death experience became. It was the reverse of what you would expect if the experiences were conjured up by a dying brain.