I recently came across a woman whose story inspired—and floored—me and hope it moves you as much. Her name is Anita Moorjani. While she lives in Hong Kong, she will actually be speaking in the U.S. next week (November 9 in California – get more info here).
Moorjani battled lymphoma for nearly four years, until, in 2006, her distraught husband rushed her to the hospital–comatose and riddled with lemon-size tumors from her skull to her abdomen—knowing the end was near. Doctors warned her family to prepare for death, as it appeared her organs were shutting down.
While seeming to be in a coma, however, Moorjani was actually in a state of bliss. Acutely aware of everything happening to her physical body in that hospital, she was simultaneously experiencing what she terms the “other realm.” There, feeling that she was reunited with her deceased father and longtime friend, she understood that we are always perfect and loved. Eventually, understanding that she had a choice to go forward into death or to turn back to her body, she elected to return, knowing her cancer would disappear in a matter of days, since the disease could not survive inside her new energy of self-love.
Four days after she startled her doctors by awakening from that coma, Moorjani’s cancer was 70 percent gone. Within five weeks, no traces remained. An amazed doctor later examining her records told her, “Whichever way I look at it, you should be dead.”
Yet she is hardly dead. In fact, Moorjani is more alive than most of us. Her near death experience six years ago caused her to live “fearlessly,” and she wants everyone to do the same.
I recently tracked Anita down in her Hong Kong home, where we had a fabulous conversation about spirit, life, death, and, of course, health, which is excerpted below. For more about this incredible story, check out her book, Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer to Near Death to True Healing. To see where Anita is speaking in the U.S. in early November, visit her website, www.AnitaMoorjani.com. (Please comment on what you make of this, and how it fits with your own beliefs.)
Meryl: Do you think the kind of miraculous healing you had—all traces of the cancer gone within five weeks–can happen to people who don’t have a near death experience?
Anita: Yes, I definitely believe so, and this is the main reason I am sharing my story. I feel that if we allow the awareness that this kind of healing is possible, we will see it happen more often. The fact that it happened to me means it can happen to others. It’s like the story about the four-minute mile: once one person breaks through a barrier, others know it’s possible, so it becomes easier to replicate.
Meryl: Do you worry that people might feel that they’ve failed if they don’t get rid of their condition as quickly—or ever.
Anita: I have heard that, but what I want people to know it’s not a competition. Even thought I healed quickly after my near death experience, look what it took me to get to that place. I suffered for four years. Nobody is ever a failure. And I also know that people who choose to cross over are really blessed to be in the incredible love that is on the other side.
Meryl: Can you talk more about how it felt to be in that other realm during your coma?
Anita: It just felt incredible. I felt unconditionally loved, as though no matter what I had done in this life, it didn’t matter. All I felt was freedom, liberation and compassion. I had no more pain, which was the most incredible thing because having the cancer for four years had been very painful. It was as if there was something overseeing you and taking care of you, and loving you unconditionally, and then it merges with you. There was no judgment for anything I perceived I had done wrong in my life. It was absolutely amazing.
Meryl: How long were you “there” for?
Anita: I was in the coma for 30 hours. But time felt very different in that realm. Even when I came out of the coma I felt like I was still there. So when the doctor came in and said, “I have great news, your organs are functioning,” I said, “I thought you already told us that,” because in the other realm I had already heard the doctor say that.
Meryl: You say in your book that you believe your lack of self-love caused your cancer. Tell me more about that.
Anita: When I was in the other realm, I learned that, for me, what created cancer was that I did not love myself. I had treated myself like a doormat. I had no respect for myself. It was my feelings and emotions about myself that brought my cancer on. I got that the cancer wasn’t a punishment; it was my own energy that I had repressed. Instead of expressing the magnificence of me, I had repressed it and turned it inward; the cancer was my own energy turning against me.
Meryl: What do you advise people who have been diagnosed with a serious disease?
Anita: Do whatever it takes to learn to love yourself. You are always incredible, deserving, worthy, amazing, and magnificent. When you recognize that, your life will reflect that. One great exercise I recommend is, each day, write down five different things you love and appreciate about yourself. Many people can easily find five things they don’t like, but they’re stumped about things they love. We’ve got to change that imbalance.
And every day, ask yourself, “What should I do today that’s going to make me feel joyful.” If your doctor gave you a clean bill of health right now, think about how you would feel, and work to feel that now. And whatever you would do in that situation, go and do that now.
Meryl: What about taking action to heal the disease? Where does that fit in?
Anita: I’m not saying you shouldn’t take action, but take the actions out of love, rather than out of fear. Most of the actions I took came from fearing the consequences of not doing them. It’s so much better to approach action by thinking, “I love myself, I love my life, so what should I do to nourish and support myself so I can heal?” I would caution people not to do too much research, though. When I would research cancer, it filled me with more fear. Turn off the computer and just ask your heart, “What modality do I want to follow, what food do I feel like eating, what makes me feel more joyful and loved?”
Meryl: And your advice for friends or relatives of someone with a serious illness?
Anita: The most important thing is to support them in whatever they are doing, and to not constantly bombard them with negative information. As soon as I was diagnosed with cancer, people sent me emails about all the things people believe causes cancer: microwaves, plastic, mobile phones, lactose. I switched from drinking milk to drinking soy milk, and then someone wrote me that soy causes cancer. So my world got smaller and smaller, and I just felt awful. If someone wants to drink champagne, encourage them to drink champagne, as long as it makes them feel good. I want people to relax.
Meryl: Now that you’ve been there, what do you want others to know about death?
Anita: My biggest message is to live fully while you’re here. We’re all going to die sometime, but you have nothing to fear. Death is an amazing experience. There is only unconditional love waiting for you. Still, this life is a gift: Live it with joy. Learn to laugh. Love yourself. You don’t need to work on yourself to be better, because that’s sending yourself a message that you’re not good enough. You already are everything you are trying to attain.
Meryl: Do you worry that your cancer will return?
Anita: I don’t worry about it. That’s different from saying, I’m certain it won’t return. Should it ever return at some point, I will just deal with it at that time, but I honestly feel that if it’s my time to cross over, and the cancer is the way I will cross over, I will be fine with it. I want people to get over that fear and start finding their innate joy, passion and purpose. There’s no room for that fear when you love yourself. You cannot have both, it’s one or the other.
See an excerpt of Dying to Be Me here.