A new book has come out by Eben Alexander, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. Dr. Alexander fell into a comma and during this period, he believes he had a vision of heaven. As he is a westerner and a Christian, his vision is congruent with traditional religious images of paradise, including a blue-eyed, Caucasian angel. Muslims might be surprised by his depiction but the author is convinced his experience is real.
An event which comes as a personal revelation is hard to verify. But because it can’t be shared doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Let us remember that our view of what’s true comes to us through a narrow and unreliable band of senses.
Trompe l’Oeil, my third novel, questions our understanding of reality. The theme was suggested by an incident that happened years ago but which continues to haunt me. At the time I was a woman in my mid 40s, driving across a bridge on my way to work. Nothing was extraordinary about that grey morning, and no weighty problem was on my mind. My main concern was keeping up with the traffic around me. At the half way mark on the bridge, I felt a tingling on the top of my head. This grew until I observed that not only my brain but my entire body was suffused in a golden light. With it came a bliss I cannot describe except to say it made me feel at one with the universe. The emotion was so profound that despite the cloudy day and being in the midst of commuter traffic, I broke into sobs — as if I’d been given the gift of life anew. Over and over again, I cried out, “I will remember.” To whom was I making that promise, I don’t know, but I felt compelled to make it.
Perhaps my experience was nothing more than a chemical explosion in the brain, a biological event rather than a divine one. Nevertheless, without a telescope or a set of mathematical equations, I’d glimpsed what it means to be part of the universe. I have never spoken of this mystery until now.
(Attribution omitted by request)