Yesterday my bestie loaned me a book that her grandpa recommended: Proof of Heaven by neurosurgeon Eben Alexander. It was a fascinating story chronicling his decline into a week-long brain-dead coma caused by bacterial meningitis, where he has a near death experience. There was even an adoption theme woven throughout (where the guardian he meets in ‘heaven’ turns out later to be his biological sister that had died right before he reunited with his biological family. It was fascinating to read such a skeptical doctor, with such a great knowledge of medicine and the brain, write about this very personal and beautiful near death experience where he became enlightened spiritually. Super cool.
Except it is all bullshit.
Well, maybe not all, but I gobbled the book up in a few hours the afternoon sunshine, and was so excited that I googled the book. And found a link to an article debunking the whole thing. Well, maybe not debunking the actuality of the experience on the other side, but certainly debunking all the medical aspects of the story. Like how the doctor didn’t have the most rarest form of bacterial meningitis, that according to the doctor (who treated him) it was a medically induced coma and that he was actually conscious during that week, though in a very hallucinatory state.
Of course this back and forth ‘is it true, is it not true?’ thoughts come on the week of Zen pen where were are exploring writing from our soul. To be honest, my soul feels so torn by all of the spiritual mumbo jumbo about. I want to believe…in something…anything. No, I don’t want to believe in something, I want something to be true. I want to have confidence in something. I sometimes even want to believe in the Christian stories that I was taught as a kid/teenager/young adult. Something. I feel like I’m floating in the abyss of unbelief, a hungry ghost of a soul, wailing and looking for truth that doesn’t exist.
Except, at one time, that truth existed for me. While not a coma-induced near death experience, I once, at such a low point that I thought of death as an option, had a vision/hallucination/psychotic break(?) where I saw Jesus (at least that’s who I perceived him to be, it was a glowing white robed shining figure) who picked me up in his hand, out of a dark hole, and put me on a grassy field. I wasn’t depressed after that for almost 2 years. It was because of that experience that I was baptized as a Christian and started to attend church regularly. While I’m not proud of my fundie evangelical years, that experience was beautiful and authentic and clearly what I needed in that moment of time.
But here I am now, 12 years later, and not even sure God exists, let alone the whole religion based off some dude who lived a bunch of years ago. It feels like a ‘dark night of the soul,’ if I were to couch it in religious terms, though at this point…what’s a soul anyway?
I want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I’m tired of feeling lied to, tricked, hoodwinked, duped, and confused.