DYING TO BE ME
My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing
ANITA MOORJANI first came to the world’s attention when her near-death experience (NDE) was highlighted on the NDE Research Foundation website.  Her experience is remarkable not only for the life-changing and life-affirming insights she brought back with her, but also for the unprecedented and miraculous healing she underwent immediately afterwards.
In this book, she describes her life prior to that pivotal experience, the illness that almost took her life, the realm she experienced while in a seemingly lifeless coma, and the difference it has made to her life since.
Despite her Indian ethnicity, Anita is a lifelong resident of Hong Kong. Her parents had settled there when she was aged two. Although her parents were Hindu by tradition, Anita was educated first in a Catholic school and then in a secular British school. She was brought up speaking both English and Cantonese, as well as the dialect of her parents. Her childhood was thus shaped by ethnic, social and cultural diversity.
As an adult, she worked for many years in the corporate world. She also met and married the love of her life, Danny. With this, she was openly defying the Hindu tradition of arranged marriage.
Things were going well. But in 2001 her best friend was diagnosed with cancer. So too was Danny’s brother-in-law. And both were of a similar age to Anita.
The more Anita learned about cancer, and the more she thought about it, the more terrified she became. And then, in April 2002, she found a lump on her own right shoulder. Her worst fear was very soon confirmed: she was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer which erupts in the body’s lymphatic system.
Anita and her loved ones were both shocked and terrified. She refused chemotherapy treatment, however, having recently witnessed its devastating effects upon her own best friend.
Over the next four years, she tried various alternative treatments: spiritual healing, pranic healing, yoga, ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, Western naturopathy, meditation, prayer, chakra balancing, forgiving. Yoga and ayurvedic medicine seemed to be beneficial at first, though she now attributes this to the positive-thinking Indian worldview in which she was immersed at that time. Back home, however, confusion, doubts and skepticism eventually got the better of her. The Indian approach conflicted with Traditional Chinese medicine, and both were contradicted by Western approaches.
Her cancer carried on relentlessly, through all the stages of this often-fatal disease. By the start of 2006 she was in stage 4, the terminal phase. The malignant growths around her body had begun to compromise her vital organs. Breathing became very difficult as fluid filled her lungs. Her digestive system stopped functioning. Her muscles disintegrated.
With growths the size of lemons all over her body, some tearing through her skin, others making her skeletal face and limbs look weirdly swollen, death was now upon Anita Moorjani. Her entire system was about to shut down. Finally, on the 2nd of February, 2006, she fell into a coma. Danny rushed her to hospital.
On assessing Anita’s condition, the hospital staff immediately saw that there was little they could do for her. As the oncologist explained to Danny: “Your wife’s heart may still be beating, but she’s not really there. It’s too late to save her.” She was given a full-body scan, which revealed fluid filling her lungs and brain, and then wheeled over to the ICU (intensive care unit) where she was hooked up to various tubes and machines, her bed hidden behind curtains.
Anita’s husband and mother were both present, both distraught. Her brother Anoop, who was working in Africa, had been telephoned and told to come quickly to Hong Kong because Anita could be dead at any moment.
Being in a coma, Anita was completely unconscious and unresponsive as she entered the hospital. Nevertheless, despite what the oncologist was telling Danny, she WAS there and in fact she was keenly aware of everything going on around her… She watched a male nurse frantically struggling to find a vein that could take a needle… She watched an oncologist draining fluid from her lungs… She watched and heard the oncologist telling Danny that Anita probably wouldn’t make it through the night. (This conversation, by the way, took place out of earshot and eyeshot from where Anita’s body lay.)
Anita was also surprised to find herself in a blissfully pain-free, disembodied state, and somehow expanding in consciousness. She was able to feel what others were feeling, as though she were not merely reading their minds but gradually becoming all those around her.
In fact, she felt herself pulled in two different directions. On the one hand, she was drawn to the private, unexpressed negative emotions of those around her — all the inner fear, despair and anxiety troubling her loved ones as well as the hospital staff. On the other hand, whenever this emotional insight became unduly intense and worrying for her, she was drawn out of the ‘heat’ into a more expanded and overwhelmingly positive state — not so much a “happy place” but a state of love-awareness where the hows and whys of human emotions became perfectly clear and understandable.
There seemed to be a bit of to-ing-and-fro-ing between these two perspectives: the emotionally troubled perspective of human personalities and the irresistably blissfully, expansive perspective of …. Well, Anita herself struggles to define that higher state in mere words:
Superb and glorious unconditional love … My soul was finally realizing its true magnificence! … Love, joy, ecstasy and awe poured into me.
And suddenly there was the presence of her deceased father, plus the friend who she had recently lost to cancer. And a number of other well-wishers who were unfamiliar to her. But all surrounding her with love.
There was communication, but not through words—through emotions. There was perception, but not through senses—through immediate panoramic awareness. There was instantaneous knowledge of past, present and future. For example, she realised that there had been another lifetime in which Anoop had been her younger brother, whereas now he was her older brother.
Now life suddenly made sense. Her childhood experiences made sense. Cancer made sense! Even God made sense—not as a separate being, but as an all-encompassing state of being.
The whole of life, she saw, is a tapestry in which every being plays its integral part, interconnected with all others. Every life is a thread woven into the tapestry, and every choice determines which way a thread turns next. Choosing from fear, hostility and powerlessness will take it one way, choosing from joy, love and power will take it another.
For Anita, it was clear that repeatedly choosing the fearful direction had led directly to her cancer. Not as a “karmic punishment”, but simply as the natural embodiment of her own state of mind — to be precise, of her lifelong fear of being and expressing herself. The long-suppressed energy of self-expression had taken the path of least resistance and worked its way out through her body.
Yet even now she could see that a second option — choosing to be true to herself — was still open to her. A change of consciousness from fear to self-love would liberate her self-expressive energy and that in turn would render her cancer obsolete.
Later, she explained this as follows:
My healing wasn’t so much born from a shift in my state of mind or beliefs as it was from finally allowing my true spirit to shine through. Many have asked me if something like positive thinking caused my recovery, and the answer is no. The state I was in during my NDE was way beyond the mind, and I healed because my damaging thoughts were simply out of the way completely. I was not in a state of thinking, but in a state of being…
In this realm of infinite love, her father now advised her that she faced a choice: to stay in this state, leaving behind her loved ones on Earth, or to return to the life of Anita. As she focused on these options, Anita could immediately see the future: if she returned to life, her cancer would clear, her body would fully recover, the doctors would be amazed, and the world would want to hear her story.
After the NDE
Since her near death experience, and since the seemingly inexplicable overnight disappearance of her cancer, Anita’s case has caused quite a stir, not only within the NDE research community but also among medical practitioners in the field of oncology. Specialists have checked and verified that her case notes follow the story as told here, and that there was never any risk of misdiagnosis. Anita really was pushed over the edge of death by cancer one day, and yet she was clear of it the next day. Hers is the only explanation around.
Anita herself now lives with new-found sense of mission: to bring comfort and enlightenment to all who are ready to hear her message. Many times as I read Dying To Be Me</em> I stopped in my tracks and had to put the book down for the rest of the day. I had to really digest what I had just read. I kept coming across crystal clear explanations about the meaning and purpose of our lives, which I have heard many times before, and some of which I have related in my own words through this website, but which I can so easily forget as I allow myself to get wrapped up in everyday thoughts, tasks and issues.
One particular insight to which I keep returning is that each of us is, in a sense, the centre of the universe. We are interconnected by a cosmic web in which every choice we make ultimately affects everyone else:
In other words, because I’m at the center of my cosmic web, the Whole is affected by me. So far as I’m concerned, if I’m happy, the universe is happy. If I’m at peace, all of creation is peaceful, and so on. … What I mean by being “centered” is experiencing being at the center of my cosmic web, being aware of my position. This is really the only place any of us ever are, and it’s important to feel our centrality at the core of it.
I would recommend this book highly to anyone who either (a) needs a ray of hope to help them along as they deal with serious illness, (b) wants to get to the bottom of who they are and why their life is the way it is, or (c) wants a glimpse of the bigger picture, the wondrous realm of higher consciousness that is not only “there” waiting for us at the end of each life, but is always right here, right now, as our very own innermost essence.
On all three counts, I would rate it as the essential book of the moment.
DYING TO BE ME
My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing
by Anita Moorjani
Available now from