In Honor of Dr. Oliver Sacks and Celestial Music
Dr. Oliver Sacks announced today that he's been told he has months to live, and wrote about it eloquently in The New York Times today.
"Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.
On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.
This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world. But there will be time, too, for some fun (and even some silliness, as well).
I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential...."
Dr. Sacks is one of the pre-eminent brain researchers of our time. ("The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat")
I completely understand his desire to keep his mind focused and his life geared to those things that he considers essential. This is his path and journey, and he's following it exactly as he's planned it.
I don't know if he's familiar with Dr. Greyson's work at the University of Virginia dealing with consciousness ("Is Consciousness Created by the Brain") or neuroscientist Mario Beauregard PhD's research in neuroscience ("Brain Wars") or Dr. Sam Parnia's recent "Aware Study" results of what people experience while having a near death experience, but if he was familiar with this work, he would have a new appreciation for the facts that show our energy, or whatever it is that animates our bodies, our souls, do not die.
That the transition to the Flipside is more like leaving a stage, walking through a door, or stepping into a pool of water than whatever's been suggested in the past.
He's got an entirely new adventure to experience ahead of him - and it's not one of dissolution of mind, in fact it's entirely the opposite, reconnecting with our higher selves, where most of our energy resides in this other realm, where he experience all of our lifetimes, and see the nature of reality from a place of full consciousness. Not omniscience, not all knowing, but certainly more knowing than what we experience here.
But I mention him because in his work he's examined cases of people who hear "celestial music" and he concluded that it's either crytomnesia (hearing it from somewhere else) or hallucinatory.
I've found numerous cases of people hearing music during their near death experience, or even during a between life hypnotherapy session - and in some cases, it can be proven that they could not have heard the music or been hallucinating it.
In Mario Beauregard's interview in "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" he cites cases where people have been blind from birth, who had a near death experience, but were able to describe what people were wearing in the hospital room, or what colors they were wearing, even though they should not have been able to. In like form there are cases where people are deaf and have had a near death experience, and seen or heard things that they could not in their conscious lives.
At some point you have to allow for the facts as they're presented to speak for themselves. There are numerous cases of people who have died, meaning no blood going to the brain, where they see or hear events their conscious mind should not be able to. In Dr. Greyson's talk "Is Consciousness Created by the Brain" he cites cases where people with alzheimers who should not be able to remember anything, suddenly remember with clarity great detail just prior to their passing. And after death, the autopsies show that their brains should not have been able to access these memories.
The point being, that the brain appears to function more like a receptor, or receiver of consciousness. And that reception is not the creator of the music so to speak, but merely accessing it.
The following is an excerpt from "It's a Wondeful Afterlife: Further Adventures into the Flipside" where I talk a bit about "Celestial Music."
There have been numerous accounts of people hearing these dulcet tones, from Beethoven to other classical composers who heard the music running in their head during their waking hours.
I've spoken with Stuart Sharp, or at least emailed with Stuart, who is cited below as someone who had an experience with celestial music. He has a pretty amazing story, where the night before the funeral of his son, he had a vivid dream where he was listening to an awesome symphony. And one of the people he saw in his vision, a guardian angel of sorts, said to him that he needed to remember what he was hearing because one day he would be performing the symphony in front of people.
And the music haunted him so much that he left his job as a cook in a pub in England, and wound up with only a guitar to his name. One day he was playing some of the music he had heard out in the street as a busker, and someone from the BBC spoke to him about his tune, and Stuart told him the story... and lo and behold, Stuart eventually composed the music and conducted the London Philharmonic playing the song he'd heard in his head.
The point is, that it was not a hallucination of music he'd heard previously. Oddly enough, Google makes "crawlers" that "crawl through various music posted on line to find the original authors of various compositions - so if what Stuart had heard had ever been performed by anyone else, it would have shown up in their copyright infringement notice.
I've spoken to many near death experiencers who heard "celestial music" during their near death experience. In my research, I note that when someone hears "new information" from the afterlife, or spirit world - meaning information they could not have learned while being alive, could not have heard or experienced in their journey or path on this planet, then that experience must point to another paradigm at play.
If you hear, sense, feel or experience something (music, someone telling you something, someone introducing you to a family member you didn't know you had, as in the case of Dr. Eben Alexander, and Colton Burpo, who both met sisters they didn't know existed - could not have known existed) that is new information from the Flipside... then it is proof that there is a Flipside.
IPSO ERGO FACTO.
“I contemplate the luminous bodies continually revolving within their orbits, the sun, the stars, and then my spirit rises beyond these constellations, millions of miles, to the Source from which all creation flows and from which new creations flow eternally.” -- Ludwig Von Beethoven
How does music fit into these visions of the afterlife?
During LBLs and NDEs people often report “hearing” music that’s not of an Earthly nature. In a number of LBLs I’ve heard people report that music and healing come from “related” places in the universe. But there are many musicians who claim to hear music when composing.
When we study the great composers, like Beethoven, we find that they spoke often of “hearing celestial music.” Oliver Sacks, the renowned scientist, considers this “hallucinatory music.” As he notes:
True musical hallucinations are experienced by those who have them as unprecedented and deeply disquieting. There is insufficient awareness among physicians of musical hallucinations, in part because patients are reluctant to report them, fearing that they will be dismissed or seen as ‘crazy’. But musical hallucinations are surprisingly common, affecting at least 2% of those who are losing their hearing, as well as patients with a variety of other conditions. Working with a population of elderly patients (though I have seen it in younger people as well), I am often given vivid descriptions of musical hallucinosis, and I think it is by far the most common form of non-psychotic hallucination. I related two stories of musical hallucination in my 1985 book “The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat,” and since then have received hundreds of letters from people with this condition. With musical hallucinations it is common for several voices or instruments to be heard simultaneously, and such experiences are almost always attributed, initially, to an external source. Thus in 1995 I received a vivid letter from June M., a charming and creative woman of 70, telling me of her musical hallucinations:
“…Most of the music I hear is from my past—many of the songs are hymns, some are folk music, some pop up from the forties and fifties, some classical and some show tunes. All the selections are sung by a chorus—there is never a solo performance or any orchestration. This first started last November when I was visiting my sister and brother in law in Cape Hatteras, NC, one night. After turning off the TV and preparing to retire, I started hearing ‘Amazing Grace.’ It was being sung by a choir, over and over again. I checked with my sister to see if they had some church service on TV, but they had Monday night football, or some such. So I went onto the deck overlooking Pamlico Sound. The music followed me. I looked down on the quiet coastline and the few houses with lights and realized that the music couldn't possibly be coming from anywhere in that area. It had to be in my head.”
It was not clear why June M. started to have musical hallucinations, or why she still has them, 11 years later. She has excellent hearing, is not epileptic, has no known medical problems and is intellectually quite intact. With her, as with many other patients, the most searching examination may fail to pinpoint the cause of musical hallucinations…” 
There is another possible explanation for the source of her music that Dr. Sach’s hasn’t explored: that it is not created by her mind.
A speaker can sometimes pick up the vibrations from other sound waves and reproduce them, but the sound is not being created by the speaker. Sometimes our radio picks up bursts of short wave radios from police scanners, but it’s not that the announcement is created by our stereo.
In Eben Alexander’s NDE he heard “celestial music.” “I heard… the richest, most complex, most beautiful piece of music (I’ve) ever heard.” It’s also one of the hallmarks of NDE’s according to Bruce Greyson’s research.
“As a high school student, Burt Bacharach always had trouble getting to school on time: he couldn't sleep at night because he kept hearing music in his head. Throughout his life, Bacharach would never stop hearing music, because for him music would always be about sounds rather than ideas.” 
In David Bennett’s interview (“Voyage of Purpose”) he talks about hearing a “canyon of sound” during his NDE. He gives specific details on what that music sounds like.
Pete Townshend, legendary member of the band, The Who, heard celestial music as an 11 year old boy. “Townshend tells of hearing the music while on a boat with his Sea Scout troop. “I heard violins, cellos, horns, harps and voices, which increased in number until I could hear the threads of an angelic choir. It was a sublime experience. I have never heard such music since and my personal music ambition has always been to rediscover that sound and relive its effect on me.”
Stuart Sharp heard celestial music when he was a young man. The experience was similar to Townshend’s: he first heard the angelic orchestra in a dream as a boy in 1956. Years later he heard it again after his baby son Ben died at birth. He explains: “In my dream I was back at Ben’s graveside staring down at his tiny white coffin. I heard distant angelic music with choirs, violins, cellos, horns and harps that grew in intensity and I gasped as Ben’s spirit rose slowly through the coffin. I couldn’t bring myself to see him in the mortuary. I didn’t have the courage.”
He was so haunted by the music he quit his job as cook in a Leicestershire country pub, left his wife and two daughters and moved to London and into a homeless shelter. He taught himself to play music after he bought a battered guitar from a second-hand shop which, by an amazing co-incidence, happened to be owned by Townshend’s parents. Eventually Stuart Sharp met someone who was moved by his story and helped him record with the London symphony – the result is an orchestral piece called “Angeli Symphony.”
I’ve found other accounts, just from searching them out on the internet. From the NDE of “Jeanette Mitchell-Meadows”: “When I went for surgery the operation took nine hours. During the operation my spirit left my body, in the time it takes to blink an eye, I was in Heaven and saw the light of Heaven… There were musical notes I have never heard on Earth. They were so clear and flawless, and the tone was so beautiful. It is the most wonderful place to be. 
Or the account of an NDE from Canadian musician Gilles Bedard: "All day long, I went in and out of a coma… Then I saw myself from the ceiling. I was nine feet higher than my body and I was looking down at the people around me.... My vision expanded and I went into a place like a cosmos where there were twelve people standing in a half-circle. They were all pure white lights and they had no faces. I somehow knew these people although they weren't family or people I could recognize. It was as if they were waiting for me. I asked them what was happening, and they told me, 'You are not going to die. You are going back to Earth. You have something to do.' I asked them what it was, and as soon as I asked it was as if I knew the answer… What I remembered most is the music I heard when I was out of my body. It was fascinating.