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Dying to be Me: Anita Moorjani’s remarkable recovery from stage 4 lymphoma

by Justina Hurley

anita moorjani

The day she was supposed to die

On 2nd February 2006, Anita Moorjani arrived at hospital in Hong Kong unable to move as a result of the cancer that had ravaged her body for over three years. Doctors at the hospital had given Anita just hours to live. She was dying of stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

To the medical team, Anita appeared to be entering the last stages of the death process. Anita seemed to be in a coma. However, what was happening for Anita was very different. She was feeling more alert and aware than she had felt in years. She could sense what everyone around her was thinking and feeling and then suddenly she was expanding and becoming aware of a feeling of presence and love. She says:

The overwhelming sensations were in a realm of their own, and words don’t exist to describe them. The feeling of complete, pure, unconditional love was unlike anything I’d known before. Unqualified and nonjudgmental . . . it was totally undiscriminating, as if I didn’t have to do anything to deserve it, nor did I need to prove myself to earn it.

As the experience continued, she became aware of her father’s presence (he had died ten years earlier) and also the presence of her best friend Soni who had died three years earlier. She also was aware of other beings she didn’t know, but she could feel their love and protection surrounding her all the time. Also communication was by a direct emotional connection, a sense of instantly knowing, experiencing and feeling what the other person was saying:

Although I was no longer using my five physical senses, I had unlimited perception, as if a new sense had become available, one that was more heightened than any of our usual faculties. I had 360-degree peripheral vision with total awareness of my surroundings. And as amazing as it all sounds, it still felt almost normal. Being in a body now felt confining.

In this state, Anita was made aware of her life and how all life, all experiences and relationships interconnect in a rich tapestry of experience. What we do, say and think and how that affects ourselves and everyone we come into contact with became very clear to her. She also became very aware of how much she had pressured, judged and criticised herself:

Why, oh why, have I always been so harsh with myself? Why was I always beating myself up? Why was I always forsaking myself? Why did I never stand up for myself and show the world the beauty of my own soul?

Why was I always suppressing my own intelligence and creativity to please others? I betrayed myself every time I said “yes” when I meant “no”! Why have I violated myself by always needing to seek approval from others just to be myself? Why haven’t I followed my own beautiful heart and spoken my own truth?
Why don’t we realize this when we’re in our physical bodies? How come I never knew that we’re not supposed to be so tough on ourselves?

I still felt myself completely enveloped in a sea of unconditional love and acceptance. I was able to look at myself with fresh eyes, and I saw that I was a beautiful being of the Universe. I understood that just the fact that I existed made me worthy of this tender regard rather than judgment. I didn’t need to do anything specific; I deserved to be loved simply because I existed, nothing more and nothing less.

The loving presences surrounding Anita made it clear that she had a choice and she was shown how it was her past fear of living that had led to the development of her cancer. Not because she had ’caused’ it, but more by not being consciously aware of the power of unconditional love and the power that love has to change and shape physical experience. She says:

It was important for me to become aware that I’m far more than my biology, that I’m something infinitely greater. And again, I’d like to reiterate that illnesses are not our fault! Thinking that they are can be frustrating to anyone who’s sick. But I am saying that our biology responds to our awareness; our children, animals, and surroundings do, too. Our consciousness can change the conditions of the planet in a much larger way than we realize. This is because we’re all connected—I can’t say this often enough!

She came to understand that ultimately the dance was to allow life, to flow with the sense that life does exactly what is needs to do and all we need to do is to get out of our own way and to have no fear. She realised:

I’m at my most powerful when I allow myself to be who life intended me to be—which is why my healing occurred only when all conscious action on my part had completely ceased and the life force took over. In other words, I’m at my most powerful when I am working with life rather than against it.


Meanwhile, in the ‘real’ world the doctors were telling Anita’s husband Danny that it was too late, there was nothing they could do. Anita’s organs were beginning to shut down. She had tumours the size of lemons throughout her lymphatic system from the base of her skull to below her abdomen. Her brain and lungs were filled with fluid and she had weeping skin lesions.

At Danny’s insistence they continued to try to intervene by giving her fluids, placing a food tube and trying to clear her lungs periodically so that she wouldn’t drown in her own fluids.

Back in Anita’s world she was coming to understand that her cancer was not a punishment or a negative karma for some actions on her part as she had believed it was. Rather she was shown that:

It was as though every moment held infinite possibilities, and where I was at that point in time was a culmination of every decision, every choice and every thought my entire life. My many fears and my great power had manifested as this disease.

Anita then had a choice to make, to stay or to go back to her ill body. She didn’t want to go back and yet she could see all possible outcomes of her choice; the reaction of the medical team and her family as she died and the future effect her death would have on her husband and family and the realisation that if she did go back that her body would heal in days now that she had connected with what she describes as the “magnificence of my true self.”

Most of all she realized that ‘heaven’ is a state and not a place and this realisation was instrumental in her choice to return.

Even though her body was in a terrible condition, she made an extremely rapid recovery to full health. Within five days her tumours shrank by 70%, within five weeks she was home.

Anita offers these lessons from her experience:

1. The most important thing is Love. To love ourselves, to value ourselves and this is as important as loving others as when you truly love and value yourself you can only treat others in the same way.

2. Live life fearlessly! 

3. Humour, laughter and joy are vital, more important than any other spiritual activity.

4. Life is a gift, even the hard life challenges are gifts.

5. Always be yourself and be as you as you can possibly be

I leave the last words to Anita:

Nature intended for us to feel strong, empowered, liberated and free; not fearful, small and limited!
Our only purpose is to fearlessly be a full expression of who we came here to be!


dying to be meAnita’s book Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing is a wonderful read.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we will be doing an interview with Anita to hear about her life now and how her experience continues to unfold.

Hear Anita speak about her experience here:


Anita will also be speaking at the Hay House London “I can do it seminar’ in October.


For more NDE stories see also:

Near death experiences: What they tell us about life

A neurosurgeon’s Near Death Experience





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