I was an adopted child – and knew nothing of my birth family. I was unaware that I had a biological sister, named Betsy. Years later I embarked on finding my biological family, but for Betsy it was too late: she had died.

Here’s how I was reunited with her — in Heaven.
brain surgery
At the outset I must tell you that I am a scientist, who has spent a lifetime studying the workings of the brain. I followed the foot-steps of my adoptive father who was a neurosurgeon and became a neurosurgeon and an academic who taught brain science at Harvard Medical School. I was always sceptical when patients described spiritual experiences to me. I thought that out-of-body experiences, angelic encounters and the like were hallucinations, triggered when the brain suffered a trauma.

However, I was stunned when I found proof that I was wrong. 6 years back I woke up one morning with a searing headache. Later I went into a coma: my neocortex, the part of the brain that handles all the thought processes making us human, had shut down completely. I was rushed to Lynchburg General Hospital in Virginia. The doctors diagnosed that I had caught meningitis – a rare bacterial strain of E coli that was in my spinal fluid and eating into my brain like acid. I had a ZERO % chance of surviving.

I was literally in a vegetative state, and all the higher functions of my brain were offline. No conscious activity was seen in the scans – my brain was not malfunctioning, it was completely unplugged. However, my inner self was still live, in defiance of all the known laws of science. In the next seven days while I was in coma my consciousness went on a voyage across a string of realms, each one more extraordinary than the last — a trip that surpassed the physical world.

2

In the past ordinary people including shamans and mystics have described short, amazing glimpses of ethereal realms. I’m not the only one who discovered that consciousness lives beyond the body. However, my case is unique – as per scientific records, I am the lone individual who has travelled to this heavenly dimension with the cortex in complete shut-down, while under minute observation throughout.

The minute-by-minute medical records of my coma, show no indication of any brain activity. So, in truth my trip was not something happening inside my head. My experience oppose the views of scientific world, but I have found ready acceptance in church, where my story often tallies with people’s expectations.

Here, then, is what I experienced: my map of Heaven.
3
After I slipped into coma, I slowly sensed that I was in a primitive, primordial state that felt like being buried in earth. All around me I sensed and sometimes heard and saw, other entities. People often ask – ‘Was this hell?’ however, I found hell the least bit interactive. It was a completely passive experience. After an expanse of time had passed, a light emerged from above, throwing off marvelous filaments of living silver and golden effulgence. It was a circular entity, emitting a beautiful, heavenly music that I called the ”Spinning Melody”.

The light opened up like a tear in the fabric of that rough realm, and I sensed like I was moving through the rip, up into a valley full of lush and fertile greenery, where waterfalls flowed into crystal pools. The clouds looked like marshmallow puffs of pink and white – while at their rare the sky was a rich blue-black. This world was deeply, piercingly alive, as dazzling as the glint of sunlight off the metalwork of a car.

The water I saw looked quite familiar – like the water of the oceans and rivers across America, from Carolina beaches to west coast streams. However, the waters on earth seemed lesser versions to what I saw here.

In Heaven, everything is more real — less dense, yet at the same time more intense. Heaven, is heavily populated as earth – but here that sense of otherness that characterises our world, is missing. Nothing is isolated in Heaven. Nothing is alienated. Nothing is disconnected. Everything is one.

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All my senses had fused. Seeing and hearing were not separate functions. It seemed like I could hear the grace and elegance of the airborne creatures, and watch the spectacular music that burst out of them. I sensed that they made the music because they could not contain it. It was the sound of sheer joy. I felt I had been reborn.

In heaven to experience the music was to join in with it. Or to listen to a sound was to merge in it. Everything was linked to everything else, like the infinitely complex swirls on a Persian carpet or a butterfly’s wing. At the top of the sky there was a vast array of larger universes that I call an ‘over-sphere’, and I climbed up till I reached the Core, that deepest sanctuary of the Divine — infinite inky blackness, overflowing with indescribable, unconditional love.

There I faced the infinitely powerful, all-knowing deity whom I later called Om, because of the sound that vibrated through that realm. At that moment I witnessed a depth and beauty that cannot be explained.

5
Across my voyage I was accompanied by a woman who first appeared as I rode, as that speck of awareness, on the wing of that butterfly. Her eyes were deep blue – and her cheekbones were high. A tuft of honey-brown hair surrounded her face. Her mere presence seemed to heal my heart.

After remaining in coma for seven days I suddenly regained consciousness. My eyes just popped open, and I was back. Within a few days my memories were restored. And by eight weeks, my prior knowledge of science returned completely. However, I was a changed man! The things I saw and experienced while I was away from the body did not fade. They were not hallucinations.

Four months later I received a picture in the mail. The face that stared at me – in the picture – was the face of the woman on the butterfly wing. That photo was the confirmation that I’d needed.