This latest book by Eben Alexander follows up his Proof of Heaven, written a year or so ago, detailing his experience of the spiritual dimension while in a coma. An NDE, in other words. In that first book, Dr. Alexander came to the conclusion that consciousness is not connected to our material brains. His brain was essentially “dead” from a rare, catastrophic disease. Yet he experienced himself as more alive than at any time in his earthly life. Read that account; it is certainly worth it!
In The Map of Heaven he attempts to process this Near Death Experience. He also shares insights from numerous readers who contacted him after reading Proof… He puts all this together in a synthesis, helping us in the material world to understand our existence in the light of this spirit world he discovered, which is all around us.
My story is a piece of the puzzle–a further hint from the universe and the loving God at work in it that the time of bossy science and bossy religion is over. . . . In this book, I share what I have learned from others–ancient philosophers and mystics, modern scientists, and many, many ordinary people like me–about what I call the Gifts of Heaven. . . . there is a larger world behind the one we see around us every day. That larger world loves us more than we can possibly imagine, and it is watching us at every moment, hoping that we will see hints in the world around us that it is there. (p. xxxiii)
He then provides us with suggestions of what these Gifts of Heaven are, and how to utilize them. Each of us carries a memory of heaven, buried deep within us. Bringing that memory to the surface–helping you find your own map to that very real place–is the purpose of this book. (p. xxxv)
The seven chapters of the book are titled after these gifts: The Gift of Knowledge; . . . Meaning; . . . Vision; . . . Strength; . . . Belonging; . . . Joy; . . . Hope. He expands and reflects upon his own experience of the Divine world, but also includes many excerpts of other people’s experiences and questions. It is a delightful read, full of profound tidbits of wisdom. I could go on for page after page of insights gleaned from this little book. I will instead encourage you to seek out a copy of this book and read it yourself. You will certainly not be disappointed! And especially if you read Proof of Heaven first, to set the stage.
One insight I will leave you with in this brief review is this: the mystery and importance of sound and vibration. The knower of the mystery of sound knows the mystery of the whole universe. Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927), a quote he opens an appendix with, on page 137.
Simply reading and hearing about other people’s experiences and ideas is not enough. As we have seen, scientific and religious dogma is not always correct and it is important to develop a strong level of trust in our own internal guidance system rather than blindly following the so-called experts. (p. 137)
He goes on in this appendix sharing some of the ways in which he is exploring the use of sound and vibration to help our physical brains reach the memories we all carry of this spirit dimension. He encourages each person to pursue access to these realms. He ends the book with these words:
Each of our journeys is unique–the possibilities are unlimited. The gift of awareness brings us the potential to explore for ourselves the true nature of consciousness and our personal connection to all that is.
As each of us awakens to the fact that our individual awareness is part of a much grander universal consciousness, humanity will enter the greatest phase in all of recorded history, in which we will gain a deeper understanding of the fundamental nature of all existence. This will involve the consolidation of wisdom over millennia, a coalescence of science and spirituality and a convergence of the greatest concepts about the nature of our existence. The answers lie within us all.
Are you ready?