Dying to be me

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This book is a real gem. It details the personal account of Anita Moorjani’s experience of having cancer, having a near death experience, returning to her body, miraculously healing and sharing what she learnt as a result of it all.

The book is divided into three sections: Her life as it lead up to her death process, the death process and the understanding she uses to live now.

For me the book offers two major insights: firstly, how to die well and, secondly, how to live well.

When I say ‘die well’, the book reveals Anita’s experience of dying. Her description repositions the negativity of death. The experience sounds like a gentle and beautiful transition despite the process of illness that got her to that moment. It does not come across as something to be dreaded. It is a transition from one state to another. It is not an ending; in fact it is an expanding. So my take on her description is that that death does not need to be feared or resisted, when it is time.

When Anita moved into the next realm she had access to a clarity about how had been living her life and the effects of those choices. While there she held no judgment on her insights. She articulates an experience of unconditional love and compassion. On returning from this place Anita held these insights as new truths for living well.

In living well Anita offers five key actions: Firstly, to love. She stresses that self-love is the foundation stone of this journey. We cannot offer what we don’t have, meaning we cannot love others more than we love ourselves. It is an impossibility. When we love ourselves we teach others how to love us, so we cannot be taken advantage of or bullied. Secondly she says, “live life fearlessly”. Her experience showed her that her fear had limited her and had not kept her safe from harm. The third action she offers is critical role of daily humour, laughter and joy in life. The fourth insight she offers is that ‘life as a gift’, not a chore. She says that everything that happens is a gift even when it doesn’t look like it. She refers to her cancer as her gift. Lastly she urges you to be yourself completely, trusting your own wisdom and discernment. There is futility in striving to be something or someone else.

If you are on a spiritual path and seek to understand life and death more fully this book serves as a wise guide. However the spiritual truths that Anita shares are radical and can feel challenging to a naïve reader. She is describing the non-dual world and if we can only hear her through the veil of duality her words could be hard to digest. From my perspective this book came to me exactly when I needed it and I am grateful to Anita for sharing her story and spirit so generously.

Moorjani, Anita. 2012. Dying to be me. United States: Hay House