Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Life, as I know it

It would be easier, I think, if I came here more often and posted just a small amount. But prepare for another brain dump! Or would it be more accurate to say soul dump?

My view of life, and death, was again confirmed by a new NDE (Near-Death Experience) book I read called "Proof of Heaven" by a neurosurgeon, Dr. Eben Alexander. By the way, Austin got this book for me for Christmas. I had requested "The Life of Pi," and he forgot which book and got this one instead. (A coincidence, in which God chooses to remain anonymous, as my friend Karen says. Or as Carl Jung would say, there are no coincidences, after all.)

Alexander's experience follows the quantum physics line that we are all interconnected with the entire universe, and are not separate beings at all. Our lives, as we perceive them, are illusory. Like a really gripping movie, we forget that this life is not "reality." Founders of great religions and philosophers have struggled to put this concept into human language and stuff it into the constrictions of human biology-based thought.

One of my newer practices is centering prayer, which involves no intentional thinking at all, but simply being in the presence of the creator. It seems that thoughts, after all, do get in the way of deeper understanding.

Alexander spoke of coming back and having to don his mortal frame once again, and realizing just how confining it is -- the 5 senses, the dull brain, obscuring the brilliance, the love, and simultaneous awareness he experienced outside of those boundaries.

And yet, I have trouble letting go of the dual nature of reality, or binding it together. Having seen my father drawing his last breaths, it's so hard to reconcile physical death with this greater spiritual realm. It is a struggle. I believe, help my unbelief!

Alexander struggled with reconciling his scientific skepticism with this newfound vision of reality. Unfortunately, science has become so self-important that it seems to have forgotten that it is limited -- crippled, really -- by the fact that every observation must be filtered through the perceptions of the scientists. As quantum physics shows, the observer cannot be disentangled from the observed phenomenon, and influences its outcome. Science has become the new religion in western society, the new dogma that everyone must believe or be wrong.

By the way, Alexander eschews all religious dogma. God ("Om" is the sound he recalls for God, a suspiciously Buddhist-sounding intonation!) is so far beyond the human boundaries of religion. And it's silly, isn't it, to try to appropriate God as the special savior of just one type of human being -- the Jews, or those who claim Jesus as their savior, etc. What about all the rest of creation?

I relate to Alexander's worldview, as someone who was skeptical of those things that could not be empirically explained and who was not a practitioner of any religion.

Here's another philosophical issue to ponder: belief vs. reality. It doesn't matter what I, or anyone else, believes, does it? What matters is reality. Do our beliefs influence our reality, then? In that case, our beliefs could matter -- a lot. Today, Austin showed me an article on the holographic nature of our perceived reality. It hypothesized (I think) that our attitudes influence our reality, which isn't so "real" as we would think. Our thoughts weave into our reality and become our outcomes, according to this little mind-blowing bit of pseudo-science. Possible.

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