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Entries in James Cameron (2)

Thursday
Apr122018

Interview with Dr. Eben Alexander

I am delighted to share this dialogue with Dr. Eben Alexander. Ever since I read his initial book, Proof of Heaven, I felt deeply touched by what he so eloquently presents as a view of reality beyond what many consciously see as their own.

Having myself had more than one Near-Death Experience (NDE) in this lifetime, conversing with Dr. Alexander enables me to gain new insight into NDEs, the brain, Science, and Spirituality.  Exploring these topics here helps me to better understand, accept and integrate more of myself, and even begin to touch on what human existence is really about.  

Thank you Dr. Alexander. I feel privileged that you create time in your busy life for this interview, not only for me, but for the world that now has access to it.

As an experienced neurosurgeon and traditionally-trained scientist, you have earned the respect of the medical establishment and patients through years of medical practice. Your books Proof of Heaven, Map of Heaven, and most recently, Living in a Mindful Universe, are all inviting readers to question their sense of reality, especially popular Western views of life and death. How has writing your books affected your sense of heaven, purpose of fulfillment in this lifetime?

Following my NDE, and hearing about those of others, my view of what is real has changed profoundly. The lessons that continue to unfold provide the content of my books. My experience and its interpretation have offered insights into a far more robust worldview, in which consciousness is fundamental in the universe and generates all of emerging physical reality, and in which human beings have far more potential than conventional science acknowledges in manifesting their free will over unfolding reality. I have come to believe that part of my mission is to share this information with others. We are all eternal souls, loved deeply by God/Source, and this physical life is but one small aspect of consciousness and one of many opportunities for our souls to grow. This knowledge alone has given many people hope and solace in the midst of grief when losing loved ones from this lifetime. And for others, it has opened up new ways of thinking about the world they live in and their broader soul’s purpose.

Like the film Avatar by James Cameron invited an audience of over 1 billion to rethink how they see themselves and the world,  Ready Player One , a new Steven Spielberg film, is to invite a wide audience to realize each human has complete control of the virtual universe it creates. The protagonists in the four new Avatar films in production, also enter new worlds to escape, only to discover something much bigger than themselves. As you share in your books, the protagonists in these films awaken, see with new eyes. Their focus, or reason for living, changes.

After emerging back in this world from your coma, you cite feeling ‘shaken up,’ Similar to Jill Bolte Taylor who had a unique Stroke of Insight, you share key points of reference had lost meaning. How did an NDE alter your sense of being human? What does it feel like to shift and integrate consciousness into our collective ‘human’ notion of reality?

While I was having my NDE during the time in coma, I had no recollection of who I was in this lifetime – I did not reflect on being a man named Eben, a physician, a father, or even a human being per se. I simply was a being that was led on a journey of observing many things. I had no reference of religion to influence my interpretation of what was going on around me. In a sense, my brain (and prior human prejudices) was off-line so I could experience the full spectrum of consciousness. Later, as I returned to my body and my day-to-day existence here, I felt shaken up, trying to integrate the broader knowledge I now have with what I slowly remembered as my human life circumstances.

At first I could not speak or recognize loved ones at my bedside. I knew I had to “come back” for my youngest son, Bond (although I did not remember him as “my son,” only as a deeply entangled soul for whom I had connection and responsibility), and as I would later realize, to share my story with millions of people who have expressed a resonance with it, or who found hope and comfort from learning about my journey. Within two months I had regained all my previous knowledge including that gleaned from almost three decades spent in academic neurosurgery. I had difficulty sleeping, but I used the extra awake time to write down all that I could recall from the experience, and later to study the voluminous literature supporting a much broader vision of consciousness, quantum physics and the nature of human spirit. I now have a new life partner, nine plus years after my NDE. I am closer to my sons and have become better acquainted with my birth family.

Although I hear about other NDE experiences, your sharing here touches me in new ways. As it happens, I stopped breathing at birth and had other NDEs after accidents for reasons I did not consciously understand until recently. In my denial of life, I did not really know what it truly felt like to live. I did not wish to face what I could not change. Much like yourself, I also knew I was meant to 'come back' and am in process of living my destiny. Love how on Gaia, you teach about accessing spiritual realms , invite people to re-view deeper meaning in life experiences.

In this light, you share that surviving a rare form of brain meningitis and coma altered how you value illness, pain medication and injury. Tell us about that. What sorts of lessons can we all take away from perceived adversity?

Whether through illness, injury or trauma of another sort, these events are challenges in our lives. They are often the result of our soul’s planning or our soul group’s joint planning prior to incarnation. Their purpose is to give our individual and collective soul experiences from which to grow, strengthen relationships, learn about love and compassion for others, or how to give and receive. The lessons can be many, and we may not learn everything the first time, so we sometimes experience a challenge recurring in another form, to apply the wisdom gained thus far and go deeper in our learning, teaching and understanding on a particular subject.

Among the lessons and gifts received, I felt much gratitude and joy. The feeling of being loved completely, without judgment or conditions, is very healing on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.

Indeed. Your story is, as Time Magazine states, forcing Science to see the Afterlife differently. It is a friendly reminder that more than one kind of intelligence and way of understanding the reality exists. Every experience we create invites us to review what we think we know. Its worth noting you offer a recommended reading list to expand on the basis of your experience. I really resonate with stories of transplant recipients who develop new affinities based on consciousness transferred in their newly transplanted organs.

We have a unique and beautiful opportunity to grow here, in the density of the physical realm. We should treasure each moment, as we learn much about love that reflects the immense love of pure consciousness. Each time we are on “the other side” it is not forever, but for a period of time between incarnations or journeys that invigorate and educate our souls.

Your response resonates deeply.  Human beings are so often taught to focus on the external world, to take their bodies, mobility, current use of their minds, training or skills for granted, unless/until something happens that prevents doing what is habitual.  Losing what we think is important can trigger a new appreciation, deeper understanding of who we are and why we exist. Part of being human involves the experience of duality, comparing thoughts so the mind can have a reference for ideas. Yet, as you point out, we are far more than thought, multi-dimensional beings, in truth.  We can be wounded without conscious awareness and blind to aspects that only reveal themselves as our perception expands.

Now that you have tasted what it is like to see worlds from expanded consciousness, what, in your view, is the biggest issue for this physical world? 

 Lack of acknowledging and embracing our spiritual nature, thinking that the physical is all that exists and our lives are birth to death and nothing more – these are among the greatest travesties most challenging our modern cultural understanding.

Spiritual nature is gaining increasing attention in the Western world which itself is founded on material and physical principles. Please offer related evidence and an example to clarify your point. 

The most common and profound evidence that the materialist world view is wrong consists of the profound nature of “placebo effect” in medicine, yet we continue to educate medical and nursing students from the disproven “physicalist” position – it is high time to face reality, and utilize a world view that fully incorporates “mind-over-matter.” We may not be able to test things in a laboratory exactly the way one might test a chemical reaction, but the preponderance of evidence from NDEs, after-death communications (ADCs), mediumistic communications, past-life memories in children indicative of reincarnation and similar human experiences, reviewed under specific protocols, provide the evidence not only of the soul surviving physical death, but of its return through multiple incarnations. Consciousness demands a far grander world view than our conventional physicalist one – our new book, Living in a Mindful Universe, portrays this evolving world view in a more complete fashion than prior works trying to unite science and spirituality.

Love the views and examples you offer in this new book. It draws attention to the fact that everything is energy.  Nothing happens except in the mind.  That includes illusion of separation. This said, what is the solution to the biggest issue you see?

As radical as it may sound, Love is fundamental to the solution. Compassion for one another on a very deep level can bring all kinds of change for the good. In addition, although I cannot put it into words, I was astounded by the science at work in the universe that I could observe during my NDE. There truly is convergence of science and spirituality, although humans have not been able to explain it yet in earthly terms. But we can come closer, as more souls become actively engaged and enlightened in working together for solutions.

Swami Vivekananda said, "Spirituality is the science of the soul." Emerging scientific research and increasingly common experience like NDEs, reveal what appear to be separate disciplines are connected yet often misunderstood

As a womb twin survivor (WTS), familiar myself with OBEs and worlds beyond the physical, I have always been connected to expanded consciousness you cite awareness of as the result of your illness. I have long been surrounded by physicians in my family, close relations and colleagues, who see and experience the world very differently. Issues can arise in relating to people who do not see or accept the existence of different realities.

In light of all that has happened to you, what enables you to feel most alive and grounded in this world, continuing in your scientific role, knowing what you know about expanded reality? 

Well, for one thing, I know what my training taught me and how rooted in materialist science I was. So, I understand colleagues who are cautious when listening to my story. It does sound incredible when viewed from that strict mindset. As a scientist, I feel it is incumbent on me to more deeply examine the research around NDEs and other spiritually transformative experiences in order to convey to my physician and scientific colleagues in particular ways to expand awareness and consider consciousness from a far wider perspective.

What has changed and what remains the same?

I no longer see patients, but have a deeper understanding of the healing power within all of us. My role as a “healer” is far greater than I imagined before, but every step in my life was necessary to serve the role I now serve. Now I encourage people to become more involved in their physical and emotional healing through the daily practice of meditation, heart-centering and personal empowerment. Personally, I try to spend at least one hour each day reconnecting to the spiritual realm and the guides I encountered there through a practice of meditation using the sounds of Sacred Acoustics. This keeps me grounded in the reality of knowing myself as an eternal spiritual being. But the real gift of near-death and related experiences applies very directly to how we live our lives in these incarnations – this grander perspective (including the notion of reincarnation and living multiple lives here on earth) is crucial in allowing us to live our lives to the highest purpose and meaning we came here to experience.

It is valuable to hear you echo that healing power inside ourselves is often underestimated.  One view echoes humans are cosmic instruments that are in or out of tune. Western approaches to healing are not all evolving at the same pace.   As you say in your blog, we have cause for great hope in this world. We only experience what we are ready and willing to accept, individually and collectively.

In reality, we are all connected through the binding force of love at a spiritual level -- there is no separation.

In your books and public talks, you highlight the view that Science and Spirituality must come together for the world to move forward. What are you witnessing about the illusion of separation in Religion? 

Religions often focus on the differences between their varying dogmatic beliefs.  This takes us away from the “oneness and primacy of mind” that was so clear to many founding fathers of quantum physics (Max Planck, Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, etc.).

How is quantum physics closing the perceived gap with spirituality?

The leading edges of studies on the nature of consciousness, especially in light of ever-refined experimental evidence in quantum physics indicating the absence of an objective physical reality independent of the observing mind, not only support the reality of our spiritual nature as fundamental – they demand it. Our true free will is the gift of this emergent synthesis.

You and individuals like Canadian Wilder Penfield who redrew the map of the brain, determine memories are not stored in the brain. During The Ottawa International Writer’s Festival, October 21, 2017, you speak about The Mindful Universe and say “the brain is a reducing valve. The main role of the brain is to limit, inhibit and restrict conscious awareness. This has survival value.” How is the role and usefulness of this ‘reducing value’ changing?

The conventional neuroscience I was taught in medical school in the late 1970’s was based in physicalism (the notion that only physical “stuff” exists), and assumed that consciousness was the epiphenomenon of the chemical reactions and ion fluxes in the brain. One obvious implication is that our sense of free will is completely illusory – if our very consciousness is just the illusion of awareness resulting from those physical interactions in the substance of the brain, where might one inject any form of “free will”? Modern consciousness studies provide far more robust explanation of all variety of human experience through “filter theory,” which was first discussed by luminaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – William James, Henri Bergson, FCS Schiller, and Aldous Huxley, to name a few. This reducing valve of the brain is necessary so that we may perceive and comprehend the world around us in an orderly fashion.

As it happens, as an undergraduate McGill student, I volunteered at the Montreal Neurological Hospital where Dr. Penfield spent his career. I also participated in a brain experiment there which involved being injected with radioactive isotopes. My brain activity was tracked and studied through Magnetic Resonance Imaging and other techniques. How do you feel about what  is not traceable by current scientific instruments? What does this reveal about consciousness?

Becoming more aware of our expanded consciousness beyond the brain provides the opportunity to know ourselves on a grander level and to feel the sense of our collective connection.

Monks and other experienced meditators have had brainwaves studied during meditation. Varied scientific results are documented. The widespread view is that most humans are not using full brain capacity. Popular views assume ‘enlightenment’ involves using 100% brain capacity. Hence many people work harder, in efforts to activate greater brain capacity, striving toward enlightenment. Another view is using no brain power reflects enlightenment. What is your view?

Given that the brain and physical reality emerge from consciousness itself, and that mental function is not produced by the brain but filtered through it, it is irrelevant to discuss what percentage of brain we are using to support mind. Experiments using fMRI and magnetoencephalography in patients under the influence of psychotropic substances (e.g. psilocybin, DMT (ayuhuasca), LSD, etc) reveal that the most vivid experiences correspond to less active junctional regions in the brain (especially what is known as the “default mode network”). The state of creative flow, for example, when we are fully engrossed in an activity and lose awareness of time, is correlated with decreased brain function in the frontal lobes’ executive center. It seems that getting the brain out of the way allows us to access more of the spiritual realms, and of Collective Mind.

This view is shared by Om Swami in his book,  Kundalini-An Untold Story, as well as insights shared by Gopi Krishna and other yogis who convey directly the nature of enlightenment

Your work provides great insight that empowers millions of people who are on a quest for a deeper connection with the divine. Your books attest to the existence of a universal dimension characterized by peace, acceptance and unconditional love that is accessible to all of us. What role, in your view, does the human brain have in connecting humanity with God?

The brain is simply the filter that allows expression of the mind, and of primordial consciousness. I see the source of that human (and all sentient being) consciousness as the ultimate source of all that is – the God-force so universally found amidst accounts of NDEs and related spiritually-transformative experiences (STEs), that infinitely healing power of unconditional love. In a very real sense, our human consciousness is connected directly with God – we expand our awareness of it through a practice of going within.

You make it sound so simple. Funny, the Western world often teaches things are complicated.  From your view, what can each of us do to connect more deeply to the universal mind?

Begin and continue a practice of daily meditation. Learn to recognize and distinguish between the neutral observer within and the constant mind chatter consisting of our thoughts (including the voice of our ego). Release emotional trauma, which might be blocking us from reaching an expanded state of awareness. Open the mind, and trust that the loving force of the universe will provide all that you need to come to a deeper understanding. There are many methods to choose from and each of us is unique.

That echoes Paramahansa Yogananda who says meditation is the act of becoming one with the Soul. It means seeing we are more than the body and its perceived limitations. Meditation thus points to existence of God. What can people access to help them get beyond limits of the mind? 

For those who have not yet established a regular practice, and especially those who feel the chattering “monkey mind” voice in their head is forever blocking their ability to go deep within, I strongly recommend the powerful meditative tools of Sacred Acoustics.

Agree whole-heartedly about the power of sound. Such meditation triggers shifts in perception. Many meditation techniques exist. What specific meditation would you suggest that would enable people to be more present?  Which parts of the brain do you feel influence growing awareness? 

The recordings of Sacred Acoustics who create brainwave entrainment audio are created using a proprietary blend of monaural and binaural beats combined with harmonic principles. I have worked closely with Sacred Acoustics to develop and test many of their audio products.  Due to what I believe is a profound effect of the lower brain stem, I find them most effective in quieting the mind and reaching expanded states of awareness. Beginners find them very useful and experienced meditators often report going deeper than before. They offer a free download of a 20-min meditation called “Om”. Highly recommend tuning in to this.

What you express here reinforces how spending time immersing in nature is essential to listening to our own inner music. As singer Grace Vanderwaal echos, we must close our mobile phones  (and put other external technology aside) to listen and hear what is so often overlooked.  Breathing deeply along this crazy ride of life helps us realize there is so much more than this.

What kinds of exercises can we do to better get to know the inner self?

The 33-Day Journey into the Heart of Consciousness is our free on-line companion course to the book Living in a Mindful Universe. Each day for 33 days, we offer a bite-sized nugget of a concept from the book and a related practice that can be applied in daily life. These are derived from material in the book and are techniques or practices that my co-author, Karen Newell, and I have found quite valuable.

More broadly, I recommend a frequent (e.g. daily) practice of “going within,” that is of centering prayer or meditation that successfully labels the “voice in our head” or our linguistic brain (also largely the voice of the ego) as merely “our annoying roommate,” allowing a broadening of our sense of conscious awareness connecting with higher soul and providing a bridge to the Collective Mind. This greatly expanded awareness allows a refreshing and even revolutionary perspective.

Imagine you dine with 5 people you have not yet met (from past/present/future). Who would they be and what would you like to ask them?

Each would be asked the Big Questions of the fundamental nature of reality, the binding force of Love, and of the meaning and purpose of our existence:

Jesus Christ –

Albert Einstein –

David Bohm –

C.S. Lewis –

Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha) –

Absolutely love your choices! I would be delighted to join this group encounter and at some point, hear the nature of what is discussed.  Imagine asking fictional characters to ask to dinner too. The topics we wish to ask those we admire tell us a lot about ourselves.  For now, if you could share an insight, revelation or advice for our readers to take away, what would it be?

All of the answers lie within. Dedicate the time to meditate each day, because the very reason for the existence of your soul and this precious lifetime are to become more of who you truly are. The way to achieve that is by aligning more to your spiritual nature.

Please share anything else you feel would benefit our readers.

Each and every soul plays a crucial role in the evolution of consciousness. We are absolutely responsible for all of the choices in our lives. Given the justice and balance that is inherent in the universe, we are wise to realize we will reap what we sow, and living the golden rule, or treating others as we would like to be treated, is essential in providing the smoothest route possible to enlightenment.

Dr. Alexander, again, I truly appreciate your presence during this timely conversation as I know our readers do also. When people speak, audiences can listen with interest or curiousity, and sometiems with the intent to reply.  Yet, communicating as you do so openly right now, on this timeline, sharing insight, invites each of us to listen more closely to ourselves. I invite our readers to read your books, attend events and take steps to deepen understanding of the mind.

In order to share our gifts and be heard in this world, we must hear ourselves clearly first. As the great Confucius echoes, "I hear. I know. I see. I remember. I do, I understand."

Short Bio

Eben Alexander, M.D., was an academic neurosurgeon for over 25 years, including 15 years at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School in Boston. He has a passionate interest in physics and cosmology. He is a New York Times Best-selling author, speaker and event facilitator. Visit his website to explore information about his books, consciousness as well as details of his current events.

Thursday
Aug032017

10 Tips to do what has never been done

As energy streams intensify, you grow aware of the inspiration flowing through from nowhere, or from where you cannot explain.  Part of you may wonder how you are going to do what has never been done before. 

What if you are in the process of catching up with a future version of yourself? Details are emerging as you act on intuition, sense qualities and messages in your life that resonate deeply. The 'what' always arises in awareness before the how. Consider 10 tips to keep you on course:

1. Find inspiration in children's stories

The dream to do the unthinkable may be inspired by C.S. Lewis who created Alice Through the Looking Glass. The Queen of Hearts says, "sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."  Then, there's Mary Poppins who hops into other worlds through sidewalk chalk drawings or Uncle Albert (in same story) who levitates uncontrollably to the ceiling and sings "I love to Laugh." Who can overlook Tashi in the Tashi Stories with his magic flying shoes and eating ghost cake to walk through walls?  Ponder characters that inspire you at different life stages such as Pippi Longstocking, Anne Shirley of Green Gables, Matilda Wormword, Huck Finn, Mulga Bill and Harry Potter. Brainstorm your list of admirable characters and their stellar qualities. Imagine fictional characters you would like to invite to dinner and imagine what you would ask each one.

2.  Discover mentors in movies & books

Trail-blazing is rampant in film.  Ever dream of living like characters in books ? The common belief is such adventures are out of reach or solely for others. The audience lives vicariously through actors/ protagonists who realize dreams or goals during a film/book. Yet, what if you list what appeals to you about mentors from the characters of Tarzan to Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker and Lara Croft, to actors like Jodie Foster (Dr. Ellie Arroway) in Contact, Kate Winslett (Rose DeWitt) in James Cameron's Titanic, Zoe Saldana ( Neytiri) or Sam Worthington (Jake) in Avatar, Merida in the animated Brave, Kiki the teen witch in Kikki's Delivery Service, Amy Adams (Dr. Louise Banks) in Arrival? Compile a list of characters, aspects, events with staying power. What are you compelled to rewatch? Is it the protagonist? The setting or cinematography? The eye of the director or writer? CGI? Life lesson? genre? Far more than people or characters are speaking to you.

3. Reflect on captivating games  

Something draws you into board, card, video, phone app or computer games that you may not yet put your finger on. What about the games involving skipping rope, dice, jacks, marbles, sticks, pencil and paper or others like hide and seek that require nothing but you? Games you play alone like memory or those you engage in with others, are cultivating skills and identifying clues to your destiny.  What is your sense of your role in the game of life? Each game that seems new or is passed down through ancestors is pointing to something else percolating inside you.    

4. Pay attention to your hobbies

Hobbies may begin as something you do in your spare time and turn out to be the first expression of your true passion. Open your eyes and senses to what you like to do when what you do for money is finished for the day or week. Where is your focus of attention? Are you sewing? building? in the garden? camping, fishing or boating on a body of water? Reading? Sculpting? Hang-gliding? Rock climbing? Hiking? Spelunking? Focusing on something people around you do not see or apprecaite as you do? What is your inner self doing its best to express to you through your hobbies? Its up to you to decode the message and focus more here.

5. See though your holiday inclinations

Seeing through the urge to take a holiday says more about your restlessness than you consciously realize. Ever notice you return to the same place more than once for a vacation? Experience deja-vu? Or cannot get your mind and dreams off a place you have yet to visit? What is really drawing you here? Is it feeling the sand oozing between your toes? Experiencing a warmer or colder climate? Eating specific foods? Hearing particular sounds? Being in the sky?underwater? at another elevation? Immersing in a particular setting have a phenomenal impact on you? Identitfy details.  Be open for what repeatedly beckons you. 

6. Recognize feelings about events 

Whether you feel compelled to attend home, boat, garden or other industry shows, renovation programs, technology seminars, spiritual retreats, teleconferences, music concerts or leisure events, all of it is speaking to you. Maybe you are workshop junkie or hold degrees while still unconscious of the underlying motivation. Look at the feelings evoked by what draws you. The underlying message you may not yet allow yourself to see.  Its up to you to join the dots. This requires the willingness to exert effort, go places, interact and see its all fine-tuning your intuition. This is about being open to changing versions of 'normal'.

7. Notice the nature of your daydreams 

It may hit that you repeatedly imagine how conditions or situations could be better or different.  What you do not like in the world is telling you something about what you do not like (or do not yet accept) within yourself. As Gandhi says, you need to be the change you wish to see, live your message, set an example.  If you truly feel compelled to change something, start by seeing what you see within and about yourself.  This is about recognizing, reshaping and revitalizing what is overlooked.

8. Meditate

Many ways exist to meditate. This is about allowing yourself to listen to silence, observe your thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Practice letting go.  Surrender until unconscious motivations for life choices and perceptions reveal themselves. Only then are you in position to expand how and what you create more consciously.

9. Locate your centre

Locating your centre is about seeing and feeling everything as energy and mastering your power to create and manifest. This kind of center is not a physical place or the center of a circle. This kind of center is a point in the middle of nowhere that can be consciously moved wherever you wish.  It can engulf or shapeshift you with all the aspects of your world and every other world that is empowers you at a soul level.  Feel the Tao.

10.  Trust yourself more

Every moment, you are giving yourself clues about why you exist. The ego has its ideas which perpetuate the illusion of separation.  Heartfelt intuition as well as heart-mind inclinations are guiding you in soulful directions.  The more you identify and engage in what allows you to feel truly alive, the closer you are to expressing the gifts you exist in this world to express. Call it being a pioneer, trail-blazer or dreamweaver, doing what has never been done flows as you allow yourself to focus on what feels natural and go with it. This is unaffected by what other people say, judge or not.  This is about knowing you generate, orchestrate and deny/destroy your dream. You are the master of your changing course.