It’s not often you get to talk to someone who’s ‘crossed over’. Someone who has experienced NDE (near death experience) and has the clarity to articulate the experience. Anita Moorjani is one such woman. Her book Dying To Be Me hit the New York Times bestsellers list just two weeks after its release in 2012 and it tells her very unusual story.
Anita is one of the featured presenters at the Uplift Festival in Byron Bay in December. She told me: ‘I was in end stages of cancer, I had cancer for four years – lymphoma. I weighed about 85 pounds, my muscles were deteriorated, my lungs had filled with fluid and I had open skin lesions. On February 2, 2006, my organs collapsed and doctors told my family I was dying. They told them I wouldn’t make it through the night as my organs had shut down.’
In a coma
Anita went into a coma, but she maintains that her memory of those 30 hours was crystal clear.
‘It was a near death experience, and I was aware of everything around me. I could see the doctors and what they were doing and I was not in my body any more. I was watching myself from above. I had this complete understanding and clarity and I understood why I was there.
‘I encountered my father who had died ten years prior and he wanted me to understand it wasn’t my time to die but I didn’t want to go back to my body. I was suffering so much and my family had suffered enough. I understood how I got cancer and knew the truth of who I was.’
Anita believes that her NDE opened the door to the realisation that was to heal her of cancer.
‘I understood that I had spent a lifetime living in fear and feeling I wasn’t good enough and beating myself up and treating myself like a doormat and I understood that all of us are amazing magnificent beings who come here to express themselves. The cancer wasn’t some sort of punishment from God – it was my own powerful energy turned inward against me and when I understood that, things changed – I went back with my self-worth and a mission to find my purpose.’
Although she had been in last stages of her cancer, 30 hours after she’d become unconscious Anita woke up. In four days she was sitting up and talking. She had started eating and so the food tube was removed. In the first week the tumour had shrunk by 70 per cent and within five weeks she was discharged, completely cleared of her terminal cancer.
This is the unlikely miracle that cancer patients all around the world hope will happen. Anita doesn’t believe that she was special; she simply believes ‘it wasn’t my time. What I felt in that state in the other realm was so beautiful and amazing – I wanted to stay there. I didn’t feel like there was a choice.
‘I believe that the ones that get to stay there are the chosen ones. I completely lost my fear of death. I also believe you can’t override someone’s destiny. If you have relatives who are dying you can’t will them back.’
All the same, Anita made an extraordinary comeback, and one that couldn’t really be properly explained with medical science.
‘The doctors couldn’t explain it and all the doctors had different conclusions. They sent my results to five different cancer institutes around the world to investigate. Every doctor agreed that I was lucky to be alive. One said it was divine intervention, someone said the chemo kicked in, someone said it was the natural things I had been doing beforehand. Some said that I was lucky!’
So how does a person live their lives after such a close call?
‘It’s changed me completely. I now understand the more I value myself the more other people value me and the more of a difference that I can make. My life has completely turned around. We live in a world that doesn’t support us to be who we are and express our truths. We are conditioned to believe we are not good. We live in a culture of competition. Imagine what the world would look like if we lived in a culture of collaboration.’
Anita’s profound life experience changed her in ways that made it difficult for some of those around her.
‘I lost a lot of friends when I came back because I wasn’t the same person. I realised the most valuable thing in life is our time, because people worry about spending money but money comes and goes but time doesn’t. My time matters and I make every minute count, and so my life is important to me and I put value on it and I tell everyone they need to do it.
‘When we put a high value on our life it changes. I won’t do a job where I am not happy. If something is not making you happy, then don’t do it. I won’t go back to how I was before, doing things because they were expected. Life was one big chore. It always felt like hard work. But today I love my life.’
Moorhani is currently working on a new book which focuses on ‘the importance of being yourself and valuing yourself. I feel people have become narcisstic because they don’t know themselves and constantly need external validation. When you know your own strength it becomes easier to appreciate other people and we become much more ourselves.’
Moorjani also believes that too much is made of spiritual ‘work’.
‘We have to stop buying into this belief we have to keep working on ourselves to be more spiritual – it’s a false standard. We are already there!
‘I am not particularly religious. I think every single person is spiritual whether they realise it or not. Being spiritual is being yourself. I think it’s funny that people think you have to do certain things to be spiritual.’
The one person who didn’t leave on Moorjani’s remarkable return was her husband. The two had been married a long time and she believed that he also was renewed by her return to self.
‘My husband said I was like a child again, like I was when he first met me – although he had only had glimpses of this side of me, that was the part of me he fell in love with. But slowly that side started to disappear because of society and life, and now, that side not only came back, but the whole of me became that person.’
Anita Moorjani is a featured presenter at the Uplift Festival at the Byron Sport and Convention Centre, December 12–15. For ticketing and program information go to www.upliftfestival.com.