Love is in the air!

But what exactly is love? Is it a feeling, an action, a person?

There are many worldview perspectives on love, but today let’s hear from Contributor Eben Alexander, neurosurgeon and bestselling author of the book Proof of Heaven. In his Praxis Circle interview, Eben describes his fascinating near-death experience and how love quite literally brought him back to life.

Love: The Central Message


Eben Alexander:


It turns out that beside me on the butterfly wing was a beautiful girl. Those who’ve read Proof of Heaven will realize how important she was. She turned out to be a guardian angel that ushered me through a lot of that journey. Betsy. That’s the actual picture. That was a crucial part of it. Her message to me I think is a central message of Proof of Heaven for all of us, and it’s a central message of my journey, and it’s for all souls: you are deeply loved and cherished forever. You have nothing to fear. You will be taken care of.


I cannot tell you how reassuring and comforting at, I was home. That was the most comforting, right where I belonged, and just this perfect scenario. Yet that was only the beginning because those angelic choirs above, emanating all those chants and hymns, that became yet another portal to higher and higher levels. It was like going through a space warp. I remember seeing the collapse of all of the lower realms, the four-dimensional space time and the material, this earthly realm. But then there’s also that entire layer of a spiritual realm where it intersects with the earthly. That’s the same realm where, for example, we have life reviews at the time we die and leave the physical body. That’s where we reunite with our higher soul. That’s where we reunite with souls of departed loved ones. That’s where we go through that life review, where we realize that any hurting of another is hurting of ourselves. That’s why the Golden Rule is really written into the very fabric of the universe, is the life review and what it teaches us about treating others. We will reap what we sow. It’s very important to acknowledge that.


I remember it though, with these angelic choirs above and this core, this a beautiful journey and collapse, getting out to that core realm. The core is the part most absolutely inexplicable with any human words. It was a pure sense of oneness through all eternity, infinity. It was an absolute oneness with a co-creative force, so that God-force, of pure binding love. In that core realm, it’s so hard to put into words, but the best analogy I can give, it was like dancing on the edge of the event horizon of a black hole, where you’re oscillating between oneness with pure divinity throughout all of eternity and then the very first steps of parcellation that go through multiple spiritual layers all the way down to the densest, to the material realm. But seeing that first junction point is, again, not something that I feel I can explain to anybody. That’s why it’s important to go there yourself by going within.

Love: The Driving Force


Eben Alexander:


It turns out that the last of those faces I saw was that of my son, Bond. But this was in a setting where I had no memory of him whatsoever. It was Sunday morning, day seven of coma. The doctors had done a very good job and my family of protecting Bond from the worst news during most of this week. But that morning, Sunday morning conference, I’d been in coma seven days. They were recommending stopping antibiotics mainly because I was not showing positive signs of any neurologic recovery and my neuro exam showed a very, very damaged brain and brainstem. They were basically recommending stopping antibiotics. Bond, 10 years old, my son, was outside the door, overheard that.


This is very bad news. Went running down into ICU bed 10, pulled open my eyelids, one eye looking over here, one eye looking down there, both pupils fixed. That’s not a pretty picture, as anyone in medicine will tell you. I promise you, I didn’t see him with my eyes or hear him with the ears, but he was pleading with me, “Daddy, you’re going to be okay. Daddy, you’re going to be okay.” It was the emotional power of that appeal that really drew me back to this world. It was my love for Bond, even though I had no idea of this relationship, father-son relationship. All I could know and feel was in that moment, that very powerful sense of he needed me and I was the only one who could actually be there for him. Through most of this journey, given my amnesia, I had thought, “It can continue, it can all cease. It doesn’t matter.” That was one thing that allowed me to be fearless.


But at this point, at the very end of the journey, when I recognized Bond, not as my son, but as a deep soul who I had a responsibility to, I had tremendous fear. That was the biggest fear of the whole journey because now all of a sudden everything mattered. I did not understand the workings of these rules. I did not feel like I had any kind of free will to really navigate and take charge of my journey, but I knew I had to come back to wherever that soul was to be there for him. That’s what really drew me back, was my love for Bond. Of course, that expanded very rapidly in those first few days as I realized all this other wonderful family I had, coming back to this world.

Love: The Binding Force


Eben Alexander:


From my point of view, this awakening we’re talking about, this advancement in the understanding of consciousness and the nature of reality, is something that will be tremendously liberating, and it really is about bringing science and spirituality back together. We pointed out earlier how so many of the problems of this world today, all the economic polarization, violent conflict, the ease with which people can kill other people, modern warfare, just an incredible list of problems that have come from our false sense of separation that comes out of materialist science in the first place.


And I think that’s where a lot of this is headed in the right direction, but it is an acknowledgement of the deep lessons of quantum physics and acknowledgment out of philosophy of mind and neuroscience of consciousness, that we all seem to really be sharing one consciousness. To look at multiplicity or plurality of consciousnesses doesn’t make any sense, not in the deeper sense, especially when you look at all the evidence for non-local consciousness, the reality of things like telepathy, pre-cognition, all of that is trying to tell us that we’re really sharing the one mind.


And I think the more we can come to acknowledge that, realize through our notions of heart consciousness, that that binding force of love is very real. That’s what truly brings us all together, both in this material realm and in those highest spiritual realms. And this awakening of consciousness that we’re discussing is really to save this world. It’s bringing that sense of science and spirituality back together where they belong.


Once again, the artificial separation out of parts of this universe from other parts of the scientific knowledge, unbridled by human spirit, has left us devoid of this deep sense of meaning and a purpose, and of truly the interconnectedness that we all share. That’s why it’s so important to wake up.

Love: The God Force


Eben Alexander:


I think the question of good or evil, I have to back up a little bit and talk about how I saw that in the months after my coma. Because it was very clear to me, even though I doubted how much this really related to deep truth of the universe, but for me, the journey seemed to be very clear in pointing out that this is not a battle between good and evil. In other words, I couldn’t take this in this incredible spiritual journey that I describe in Proof of Heaven. I couldn’t take all that I was witnessing there and believe that there was good versus evil, and that someday the forces of evil might just overcome the forces of good, and that would be it, darkness and evil forever.


And it’s mainly because I came to see that there really is light and love and those forces God and love. And then there’s the absence of them. The absence of them is not like an opposing force. What it really means is that unconditional love cannot be overcome. There is not a force of darkness or evil that ultimately will hold sway and win over forces of unconditional love. And that was something that was very clear to me at many different levels on the journey, and in coming back and learning more about NDEs and others’ experiences, it became very clear to me, I believe that that is truly the case.


So that’s an important part of answering your question and getting at this good and evil, because from my point of view, unconditional love ultimately obliterates that darkness and the lack of light by providing that light, and each and every one of us can serve as a point of light to bring that into this world. And that’s what I see the evolution of all consciousness is really allowing that to flourish, that whole notion goodness and love as the force in the universe, to fully manifest itself.


And I would say the lessons where free will comes in handy is realizing that yes, our souls can make certain agreements or contracts about the challenges and difficulties we’re going to face in this life. So those will be milestones that we can measure the growth of our soul by how we progress through those challenges, through my diagnosis of meningitis, through the fact that I stopped drinking alcohol in 1991, because I thought it just didn’t fit well with where I was going with my life, and I didn’t want to have that variable in there.


But my point is that we get the hardships and difficulties that we essentially set up for ourselves to provide a pathway of growth. The free will is how we address those challenges. The free will is the choices we make. Are we able, through our free will to recover a sense of love, of connection with the divinity of the universe, a sense that we belong and have purpose and that we have influence on all this? Can we connect all those dots in a way that we become effectual souls, growing in this evolution of all consciousness? I believe we can. And I believe it’s stepping up to that plate that we’re really all here to do.


And it’s rising way above the petty little discussions of the ego and its false sense of either fear or anxiety being the main tools that you use to guide your choices in this world, whereas that higher soul can look at you as making those choices from a much higher position of light and love, mercy, acceptance and forgiveness for all fellow beings, and an acknowledgement of that oneness of that God force, with our very sense of self-awareness.

For Eben, love was (and is) a journey. This Valentine’s Day, take a moment to reflect on your personal view of love—is it similar or different from what Eben is describing? How might your worldview perspective on love have an impact on your life? Who has had the most loving impact on you?

We believe that Eben speaks to a version of love one finds across the whole realm of Christian worldview (as well as most worldviews); for example, as articulated by C.S. Lewis in all his work.

Of course, God is love and truth to Christians, and this reality extends across broad stretches of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox teaching. Eben also speaks to how science is moving closer and even showing or proving spirituality, a theme we see behind other PC Contributors, like Dr. Stephen Meyer.

But, of course, this is what one would expect from love and truth, that it would be readily apparent to most human beings across the world’s dominant worldviews. Worldviews often conflict in important and irreconcilable ways; this is what usually defines them relative to other similar worldviews.

Eben's "Butterfly Girl"

But we also see some universals, and one of them is love.

We have a last question for you today. To the right is a picture of Eben’s “Butterfly Girl.” She was his biological sister mentioned in the first clip here at top, whom he had never met until his NDE or ADE experience—being an adopted child at an early age. She had predeceased him, and Eben did not recognize her until seeing a picture of her after he came back to life. He hangs her picture in his living room today.

Who is your Butterfly Girl or Boy? We suggest, if possible, finding him or her today and somehow offering an actual or spiritual hug of thanks. Life is true, good, and beautiful, if we rise to see what’s here before us. Very much so . . .

To watch Eben’s full interview, click here.