Excuses, Excuses

It’s been a while I know, but I have an excellent excuse, if you want to call it that, for my extended absence. Not long after my last posting, a little over two years ago now, my daughter Stephany passed away. She was 32 years old. Within months, my Grandfather Dale passed away, and most recently on December 15, 2011 my mother, Patricia,  died of cancer at the age of 69, four days before her 70th birthday. Although I’ve spent much of the last year writing, the vast majority of my time has been spent in solitude doing my best to make sense of it all. My sadness was deepened further by the death of my 16 year old dog, Jasmine, a fluffy yellow snow mutt who died on the first day of spring 2012, followed not long after that by my beloved cat “Bob” who was my best friend for nearly seventeen years. These experiences have caused me to reexamine my investigations into the inevitable darkness lying at the end of that carnival ride we call life and what, if anything, may lay beyond. Surprisingly, (or perhaps not so surprisingly) I’ve not turned to organized religion; nor have I experienced the desire to become ‘born again’ perchance to ease my suffering. Where I have found comfort is in what I have already discovered in my lifelong investigations into the nature of life and consciousness, and what if any meaning might be found in any of it. If anything, I have discovered that as a person who likes to think of himself as logical and scientifically minded, I cannot, with respect to the possibility of the existence of a human soul, or the perpetuation of consciousness, throw the baby out with the tepid, cloudy bathwater of organized religion. This is because as scientists, no matter how hard we struggle, we have not come close to explaining the nature of consciousness. More to the point, we have yet to definitively discern whether consciousness is completely local, or whether consciousness has some ineffable, non-local quality. Until we do that, we cannot say without equivocation that consciousness ends with death of the physical body. I recently read a book called “Proof of Heaven” written by a practicing Harvard educated neurosurgeon. The book detailed the doctor’s own Near Death Experience which took place when his brain was wholly incapable of forming memories, and certainly not capable of remembering the rich, sensory experience he had while in a deep coma brought on by a severe case of spinal meningitis. What he learned during his experience was that all of his notions of consciousness and the brain were entirely wrong. He learned that consciousness was not an effect of chemical and biological processes, but rather that reality as we perceive it is a result of the consciousness which comprises the universe. After reviewing the data collected on his brain during the coma, he and his son, also a Harvard-trained neurosurgeon, reached the inescapable conclusion that consciousness is separate from the body. Of course, I think most of us realize this intuitively, but it is a fantastic notion that flies in the face of accepted medical paradigms. Nonetheless, the data is there and should not be ignored. What does this all mean? Well, I know one thing, I’m still breathing in and out. I am just weeks away from finishing my novel, and it’s time to dust of the old brain, maybe even break out the running shoes. Mom wouldn’t have it any other way.

About Richard Beckwith

Lawyer, Scientist, Musician, Artist, Author, Photographer, UFO and Paranormal Ivestigator
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