Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing

By Anita Moorjani, Wayne W. Dyer

12,865 ratings - 4.12* vote

     In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system—began shutting down. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon      In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four

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Book details

Hardcover, 191 pages
March 1st 2012 by Hay House

(first published January 1st 2012)

Original Title
Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing
1401937519 (ISBN13: 9781401937515)
Edition Language

Community Reviews

Brynne Betz

I saw the author on PBS and was touched by her authenticity and spirit. Her book was just as beautiful....even more than that, the message it contains is important and has the power to transform lives. It transformed mine.


Although Moorjani's healing is certainly miraculous and there are aspects of her story that I found both fascinating and moving, ultimately I couldn't fully embrace this book for two reasons. First, the book feels hastily written, and I wonder if the story would have been better told by a ghost writer rather than Moorjani herself. The book relies heavily on summary and "telling" over showing, and I yearned for more scenes and fewer abstract adjectives describing Moorjani's emotions. The book also becomes repetitive as Moorjani explains, and then re-explains, some of the insights she's discovered after her NDE. Although I appreciate these insights, they would have been more powerful had Moorjani's personal story leading up to the NDE been better told. My other problem had to do with the sweeping theological and philosophical generalizations Moorjani makes as a result of her experience. I'm not necessarily doubting her honesty -- there's a chance that what happened to her was real -- but some of her conclusions seem more appropriate to her own life experience and the issues that she had to personally work through, and shouldn't be extrapolated to apply to the totality of human existence.


OMG!!! This woman had cancer tumors the size of lemons from the base of her neck to the bottom of her abdomen. She crossed over to the other realm, experienced that (and what an experience it was!!!) then DECIDED to come back to this side. She lived to tell all about it!!! This book shares information that is so helpful to the understanding of the meaning of life (how and why to rid yourself of the unnecessary loads) and how to live this life to the fullest ! THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING!!!! She was blessed to live... to share her story of living "fearlessly" and beginning anew loving herself more than ever!


Anita Moorjani is very humble in sharing what her Near Death Experience (NDE) was like for her and how it has transformed her life. She recovered from stage four cancer after her NDE. I could not put this book down and want to always have it near to remind me of what is important. Here are some of her main points:

1. Love yourself. Every time you beat yourself up, you create so much pain for yourself and others. Love yourself no matter what for no reason other than because you are here. Spend time connecting with your inner self.

2. Approval of others is unimportant. We need to follow our own heart. Let the answers come from within.

3. We are true love. Being love is being ourselves. It is the same.

4. It is important to leave yourself open to all possibilities and be willing to suspend belief and disbelief and sit with uncertainty. Needing certainty is a hindrance to experiencing greater levels of awareness.

5. Being instead of doing works with universal energy instead of against it. Just be and allow and everything will fall into place.

6. Don't deny your feelings. Embrace them all and allow them to flow through you. Embrace your ego too. What you resist persists.

7. Trying to control your thoughts or your emotions through "positive thinking" will not work.

8. There is no need to fear food. Eat what you love and enjoy it.

9. Every part of you is perfect. You are already everything you are meant to be. You don't have to forgive or let go to attain anything.

10. Humor and laughter are so important. They are more healing than anything else. Don't take yourself and your problems too seriously.

11. The after life is not better than earth. Live fully in the present moment.

12. When you let go of fear and love yourself unconditionally, you touch the lives of everyone around you because we are all connected.

It is not new information, but it is easy to forget as we get caught up in our day to day lives.
Anita is very clear that what works for her may not work for everyone. She is not asking anyone to agree with her. She is simply stating what worked for her--how she recovered from cancer and is having a wonderful, fulfilling life.

I am so grateful to Anita for writing this book and for the powerful message that she brings.


Another person's spiritual experience is never much use to me; its personal nature makes it extremely subjective. And that's okay because that is the nature of personal spiritual experiences: they're for that person and usually for that person alone.

But here we have a book written by someone who attempts to draw broad, universal conclusions from her very personal experience. As such, I think many of those conclusions are laughably suspect:

* "One of my biggest rules is that there should never be any hard and fast rules! I just pay attention to whatever feels right at the time."

* "Ultimately, whichever path we choose is the right one for us, and none of these options [various spiritual paths) are any more or less spiritual than the others."

* "If we simply live in a way that nurtures us and allows us to express our creativity, letting us see our own magnificence, that's the best we can possibly do."

* "We don't have to actually "work" at doing anything -- like following specific rituals or dogma -- to stay in touch with our magnificence."

* "We know we're on the right track when we feel ourselves at the center of our love without judgment of ourselves and others, and we recognize our true magnificence within the infinite Whole."

* "If you fell you can follow a system (religion or belief) effortlessly, or if it's fun, that's great! But the minute it starts to be hard work or feel like a means of controlling your emotions or thoughts, it probably won't work very well for you."

* "When I try to suppress or force myself to change my feelings, the more I push them away, the more they push back."

* "It's also not the case that attracting positive things is simply about keeping upbeat. I can't say this strongly enough, but our feelings about ourselves are actually the most important barometer for determining the condition of our lives! In other words, being true to ourselves is more important than just trying to stay positive!"

* "It's not important whether I'm having a bad day or a bad week. It's more important about how I'm feeling about myself while I'm having this day or week."

* "We're one with the universe, our purpose is to be our magnificent selves, and the external world is only a reflection of what's inside us."

* "Once I realized that there's nothing outside my infinite self, I could begin to focus on viewing myself as an ongoing work of perfection..."

* "Going out and changing the world doesn't work for me.... It only feeds into the same judgmental energy that's causing problems in the first place since it stems from the opinion that something is wrong and needs to be changed. Instead, letting go of attachment to any way of believing or thinking has made me feel more expanded and almost transparent so that the universal energy can just flow through me. More possible coincidences happen in my life when I'm in this state of allowing."

* * *

Well, so long as she feels more expanded, that's what counts. And being transparent . . . isn't that what it's all about?

Again, without judging the truth of her claims (that she went into a hospital to die of cancer, had an NDE and woke up knowing she was cancer free), I still have to judge by my own lights the believability of her philosophy. And to me it sounds like stoner surfer talk. "Hey, man, be one with the wave, dude! Don't wait for it, just be, man. It will arrive in its own due time, dude."

Far out. Can I borrow your Sex Wax?

But we must engage in life, musn't we? Someone has to get up early, pack the VW van, buy the sugar donuts and chocolate milk, wax the board, slip on the wetsuit, and drive to the beach in the pre-morning darkness. And someone else has to build the van, shape and glass the board, mix the batter and cook the donuts, and milk the cow and chop the cocoa beans. And someone has to build the roads and extract, refine, and ship the gasoline.

This nonsense of simply "being" is pretty hard to maintain in a world where we have jobs and relationships. And avoiding being judgmental is a fine recipe for getting along with your spouse, but you need judgment to choose which socks to wear.

Finally, and again: maybe Anita really had a bonafide NDE. If so, I'm happy for her. It seems to have changed her life. But I felt no spiritual confirmation of the truthfulness of her experience as I read her story. What I felt was, and what I believe, is that she believes she had a spiritual experience. That's good enough for her, but unfortunately, not for me.

The problem is that when she attempts to share that experience with me, it all comes out sounding like Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High: "All I need is some tasty waves and some cool bud."

And so the author looks pretty transparent to me.


I had heard about this book sometime back and finally got to reading it. Anita Moorjani went through a near death experience (NDE) and discusses the experience & learnings for life. If you are interested in the genre and have an open mind, this is an important book with good lessons for life.

The book is written in three parts – her early life, the NDE experience, learnings. There is also a Q&A at the end with responses to questions she is typically asked. The first part covers her personal life – she was born to Indian heritage parents in Singapore. She spent some time in Sri Lanka as well before the family moved to Hong Kong. She and her brother Anoop grew up in a multi-cultural environment though her parents kept her in touch with Indian culture. Her father is somewhat conservative and wishes to see her married in a good family. She is engaged but feels it is not a good match and withdraws with the support of her parents. She later meets Danny Moorjani who she finds to be well aligned to her thinking and way of life. Her dad tragically passes away before she is married.

Her close friend and brother in law both develop cancer and she sees the toll it takes on them. Anita is diagnosed with lymphoma. She gets treated at a clinic in Hong Kong but also visits India for Ayurvedic treatment. She feels much better after that but there are some setbacks after some time while she is in Hong Kong. She is admitted in an emergency when the cancer had spread through much of the upper part of her body. The doctors do not offer much hope as soon as she is admitted but her husband and mother are distraught asking the doctors to not give up. Anita has a near death experience, and is offered the option of returning. The experience stays – where she experiences multiple time periods, converses with her father, sees friends and relatives, and understands why she fell ill and how she can come out of it. She then recovers rapidly, much to the surprise of the doctors.

She covers what she learnt in her subsequent section – never allow fear to dominate life and find a larger purpose, in summary. One sentence in her narration is interesting – she did not come out of her health issues with positive thinking but with a revealing experience which realigns her life. I find this striking as the experience of mystics in deep meditation has interested me since some time – thinking by itself does not improve a situation, experiences as a result of deep silence do.

Anita is very limited though in her understanding of Indian philosophy & spiritual teachings though she alludes to it in passing. Anita’s experience of time not being linear is not new – there are scientific time theories around it, as also other mystic experiences (such as of Ramana Maharishi) & Indian philosophies. This naturally leads to her describing her experiences as unique and gets to be very confused while discussing concepts such as Karma and afterlife.

This is a very well written book and the advice it offers is important.

The book ‘Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife’ by Eben Alexander also covers his experience of an NDE and learnings. That is another good book in this genre as well, though there are differences in the account.


I REALLY wanted to love this book . Unfortunately , I didn't .. Not to negate her undeniably incredible experience- which I was eager to learn about because of my interest in NDE and all of the glowing reviews, but it just left me flat. Maybe she needed a Ghostwriter , maybe I chafed at her repetitive and monotonous tone. I found her telling us what she thinks about her experience but little about how she or those around her feel. It makes it hard to connect to her voice and to her story . She also contradicted herself numerous times which was annoying. " Fear cause illness " " Fear doesn't cause illness " Which is it ? One of the things that bothered me most though was the author being incredibly vague ( purposely ?) about the chemotherapy she received while in hospital . She glossed over the fact that significantly large chemo treatments were administered during her NDE and after . I feel this is a disservice to those fighting cancer and undergoing conventional treatment - that this could have had a very significant role in her remission. Her cancer didn't miraculously disappear - it receded over time . It's rare but it does happen . Sometimes cancer genes will ' switch off' and die. As a cancer survivor , I wish she were more forthright about those facts . Maybe she feels it takes away from her story .
Anyway , for what it's worth I found this book poorly written, highly confusing ( esp. from someone who claims to be so clear now ) and yes, a bit shallow. It was a bit like reading a regurgitated Deepak Chopra book without the writing ability to convince the reader that something truly profound was being shared. I didn't buy it . I know many people are having a different experience with this book but I am not one . Her experience was amazing and part of her message is really wonderful but I found it too muddled to find myself convinced enough to agree with much of what she said. Rather than feeling inspired by what she wrote , i feel let down in some way . I am happy for her and agree people must love themselves but that is a very old message - one that i already carry with me. I think what one does in this life does matter so the rest is just nonsense to me.


I always had an interest in Near-Death-Experiences (NDE), that is, I read studies that come out about it and have read people's accounts of what they experienced on the other side. Saying that, it doesn't mean I necessarily believe it...I'm just curious. I was also curious about Anita's book as Wayne Dyer (an author I really like and respect) mentioned her several times.

I didn't really know what to expect other than that my sceptic side would kick-in. But that didn't happen. Anita is not trying to convince anyone of anything. She simply relates her experience and shares what it all meant to her, without giving formulas that others should follow.

Anita's experience is very different from other NDEs I read about because not only was she "on the other side" but she was also healed from terminal cancer, when doctors believed she had only hours to live, as her organs had started shutting down. After she made the decision to return cancer began to leave her body and today she's a healthy, amazing woman, with a beautiful message to share.

Personally, I really relate to her life and way of thinking prior to her being diagnosed with cancer, so this is a big wake-up call for me. Fortunately, I also resonate with the conclusions she got to and who knows...maybe this book just saved me from continuing making mistakes by living in fear.

This is not a book about dying. It's a book that invites us to re-evaluate our lives and to live it...fearlessly. I cannot recommend it enough. I hope to see a documentary about Anita on TV so that her message (even though it's clear from her writing she doesn't intend to be a spiritual guru) gets to as many people as possible. I felt a sense of great peace reading this book, and had lots of ah-ha moments. Precious!


I waited in high anticipation for this book after hearing Dr. Wayne Dyer talk about if often on his radio show. It was not a disappointment. I highly recommend this book for everyone on the planet to read.

We live in a society that is so afraid to talk about death. But after you read Anita's near death experience and what she learned, you will see death in a whole new, beautiful light. Even though she describes her experience so amazingly well, I still wish I could literally get in her head and body to know how she feels. Her description of pure, divine love on the other side is so astounding.

Though I've come to believe we will always be connected with those that we love even after they physically leave us, Anita's book really helped me to truly believe this even more - and gave me comfort that when we leave this planet, we will have so much more to see and do - in a brilliant, spectaular new way.


The most credible, enlightening, uplifting NDE story I have ever read. Anita Moorjani, who I have seen speak about her experience, is a well spoken, highly intelligent woman with a story that will knock your socks off.

She was pronounced dead from organ failure and four days later the doctors couldn't find any cancer (from lymphoma) in her body, despite their desperate attempts. Unfortunately, the physicians put Ms. Moorjani through some very painful medical tests, although the scans were telling them there were no more tumors.

She speaks of her experience to the Other Side in a new language, or a lexicon which is becoming more polished for those slipping through the veil. It doesn't sound woowoo, yet certainly convinced me to love myself with fervor. Anita Moorjani experienced Unconditional Love which totally healed her. She is a beautiful soul, and says she was told we are all beautiful souls - no one more or less than the other. We all have a purpose - I can't give her words the merit they deserve. But, I do urge you to experience the sacred writing that is so fun, for yourself.