(OMTimes | Victor Fuhrman) Anita Moorjani is the New York Times best-selling author of What If This Is Heaven? and Dying To Be Me. She’s a beloved international speaker and has dedicated her life to empowering people’s minds and hearts with her story of courage and transformation. Before her near-death experience, she worked in the corporate world. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Danny. Her website is anitamoorjani.com, and she joins me this week to share her path. And she just published a new book, Sensitive Is the New Strong: The Power of Empaths in an Increasingly Harsh World.
Sensitive is the new strong – An interview with Anita Moorjani
To listen to the full interview of Anita Moorjani by Victor Fuhrman on Destination Unlimited on OMTimes Radio, click the player below.
Victor Fuhrman: Thank you for joining us and sharing what I know to be an important message. So before we get into the new book, let’s talk a bit about your past. Please share with us your path before the experience that transformed your life.
Anita Moorjani: I was living in Hong Kong, and I grew up there. My parents were Indian ethnically. My parents were Hindus, but I grew up in a very multicultural society. Hong Kong is predominantly a Chinese city, but it was colonized by the British when I was growing up there.
The primary language there was English, but because most of the population was Chinese, there was also a lot of Cantonese spoken there. I grew up speaking my parent’s language, which is an Indian dialect, which we spoke at home and English, which is what we talked at school and learned to talk at school, and Chinese, which was the local language spoken by everybody, you know, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, like basically everybody.
I grew up speaking three languages simultaneously. But most of the population were either British or Chinese. And so I never felt that I fit in because I was neither British nor Chinese. I was this brown person, and I was an ethnic minority. Even in school, I got bullied because I was different and my culture was different. My parents wanted to groom me for an arranged marriage as I grew up, and I wasn’t allowed to date the way the other kids were. I wasn’t allowed to think about going to college, and all the other kids were thinking about college and careers. Then all my British friends were going to go back to the UK for their studies, for university, but I was being groomed for an arranged marriage.
What finally happened is that my parents did arrange a marriage for me, but three days before the wedding, I ran away. This brought a lot of shame to my community and my family because you just don’t do that in my culture. I was even ostracized by the Indian community. I had this fascinating life of constantly feeling that I was different and never fit in. I met a wonderful man, Danny, who is my husband today, and we met and got married.
A few years into our marriage, I had lymphoma. I found a lump on the side of my neck and had it checked. I had it biopsied, and it turned out that I had stage two lymphoma at that point. This was in 2002, and it progressed. I tried different forms of treatment, but it progressed. Then in 2006, I was literally on my deathbed. My body had completely emaciated. I had tumors the size of golf balls throughout my entire lymphatic system from the base of my skull, all around my neck, in my chest all the way down to my abdomen. I weighed 85 pounds because my body had stopped absorbing nutrition. My lungs were filled with fluid, I went into a coma, and my organs started shutting down.
The doctors told my family that these were my final hours and that I would not come back. I was not going to come out of that coma. But while I was in the coma, I was actually aware of everything around me. I was also aware that it was like a whole other world opened up, one beyond this one. I felt so at home with this, in this real another world. I felt like I was being greeted by my loved ones, deceased loved ones, and my dad, with who I had a turbulent relationship growing up. He had already passed away and crossed over. He was there to greet me, and he just wanted me to know that he loved me unconditionally. I was in a state of clarity where I learned that it was not my time to die, and I realized that I needed to come back. No part of me wanted to come back because I felt like I was enveloped in love on that side.
I just felt so free. Like all the fear was gone. The fear of the disease, cancer, the pain, the discomfort, all of that was gone when I was there. And so, no part of me wanted to come back. But then I got this clarity where I understood why I had become sick in the first place.
I understood it was that the way I lived, my thoughts, and the decisions I had made in my life had led up to that point of me lying there on the hospital bed. It was at that point, with that clarity, that I heard my dad say to me that now that you know the truth, you need to go back and live your life fearlessly!
In other words, I had this clarity and was now being given a second chance to come back and live with this clarity. And he said, “You need to live your life fearlessly,” because I had always been a fearful person. I understood that if I chose to go back into my body, my body would heal quickly. And it did! I had been in a coma for about 36 hours, and I started to come out of the coma. To the shock of everyone around me, my family, the hospital staff, and the doctors, I was able to recount conversations that they had had while I was supposedly in the coma!
I described what they had done and who had done what, and so they knew something had happened. But then the doctors were blown away when my tumors, the golf ball-sized tumors, just started to shrink. And within four or five days after coming out of the coma, they shrunk by 60 to 70%. Within five weeks, they could find no trace of cancer in my body. The challenge then started. I had to figure out how to live the rest of my life. That was in 2006, and one of the things that I discovered as I started to navigate life again was that everything that I was brought up to believe about how I needed to be and what I needed to do, and how to fit into the world was the complete opposite of what I now needed to do.
I realized that everything that I had learned, every decision, every thought, every choice I had made up to the point I got cancer is what led me to get sick. And now, I had to live my life entirely differently. And that was a challenge. That was a challenge because I realized that I am an empath, and the world we live in is not designed for empaths, and that’s why I had gotten sick.
Victor Fuhrman: You have shared all of this in your first book, Dying To Be Me. In describing your near-death experience, you said, “And then I was overwhelmed by the realization that God isn’t a being, but a state of being, and I was now in that state of being.” What was that revelation like for you?
Anita Moorjani: That revelation was compelling for me because I had always thought that God was a being, like a being in the sky, a spirit, or a person in the sky. I used to always refer to God as he. But when I was in that near-death state, I realized that when we are outside of our physical bodies, when we’re no longer expressing through our physical bodies, every one of us is pure essence. We are pure spirits. Every single one of us is a facet of God. Sometimes when speaking about it, I use this analogy. I like analogies because it’s so hard to describe what it’s like on the other side. The analogy I use is, imagine those mirrored balls, those disco balls, like back in the ’70s.
Discos always had these big mirror balls, mosaic mirror balls on the ceiling. These mirror balls would refract light onto the walls, and on the walls, there were these separate tiny dots or circles of light that would be all around the room. Each one of those specks of light on the wall was the spark of each of us and our physical expression. Many of of us believe we’re a separate being because each of those specks of light on the wall looks separate from the other. But each one of those specks of light is actually refraction from one of the mirror tiles on the ball. And every tile is connected to make the whole mirror ball. When you die, you realize, “Oh my God, I am a mirror tile on this mirror ball, and all of us tiles together are all connected to make this ball, and this ball is God.” And so that’s the best analogy I can think of. When I express through the physical body, it’s like the tile telling itself as that speck of light on the wall. When I am that speck of light on the wall, I forget that I am connected to that mirror ball, that I’m actually a reflection of God. When actually me and every other person or every speck of light here, we are expressions of that mirror ball.
We are here as particles of light, and we believe we’re separate, we fight with each other and argue with each other and compete with each other and judge each other. Although, when we die, we realize, “Oh my God, we’re all part of God, we’re all expressions of God, and we’re all connected, and we’re all one.”
It was a big revelation for me because I realized, “Oh gosh, if I don’t love myself, and value myself, what happens is I am not allowing God to express through me. I am suppressing the light of God; I’m suppressing that mirror ball from expressing itself through me.” Every time I suppress myself and actually deny who I am to please other people, I am restricting a facet of that light of God from expressing itself.
Victor Fuhrman: Please tell us about your book, What If This Is Heaven?
Anita Moorjani: My second book was to explain to you that heaven is not a place. It’s a state of being.
If we knew that, and if we knew that our purpose is really to express ourselves and find our joy, heaven could be right here because when I crossed over, I realized that. Let me backtrack a bit. In my life before the NDE, I was always worried about creating the best possible afterlife.
Everything I would do was about building up good karma so I’d have a good afterlife. I had to make sure God is happy with me to have a good afterlife, so I have good other lives. So everything I was doing here was done to create the best possible afterlife. When I crossed over, I realized I was supposed to have the best possible life, or I’m supposed to focus on creating the best possible life, not the best possible afterlife. When we’re over there, we want to come here. We want to come here and play and find our joy and connect with other people. And I realized we had it … it really is about finding heaven while we’re here, not about biding our time so that we can get to heaven when we die. So that was what it’s about. I offered tools on how we can find that piece of heaven while we are here.
Victor Fuhrman: What inspired Sensitive Is the New Strong?
Anita Moorjani: Recent events happening all over the world. And when I say recent, I don’t just mean over the last year, but over the last couple of years, because I actually started writing this book in 2017.
And I was finding that as I began to navigate the world as who I am now, as opposed to who I was before the NDE, and when I say that I was always this way, I had suppressed myself to fit into the world.
That is what caused me to get sick. When I am truly being myself, I realized that who I am is somebody who is super open; super vulnerable. I just want to connect with everybody, love everybody. I see us all as being connected, as one. I realized that we live in a world that’s not conducive to being that way.
What happens is that we end up getting exploited. We end up getting bullied. We live in a world where it’s just not conducive. And the other thing I realized is that many of us are highly intuitive and highly, not just empathic and sensitive, but also highly intuitive. We sense things, and we know something, and we don’t know how we know them. And this world is not conducive for us to express our knowledge and intuition. We’re often told that it’s your imagination, and it’s often dismissed.
Intuitive people, who are aware of their six sensory self, who are empaths, and all of these things, are actually the ones who are seen as delusional. The way our culture and our society are, it feels like we are actually six sensory beings. Still, our paradigm is created for people who believe they are five sensory beings. So it’s made by five sensory beings for five sensory beings. As I explained in my new book, if you imagine that you were told that you can’t use your eyes from the time you were born, you have to close your eyes. This is, in essence, what we’re told about our sixth sense and our intuition that you can’t use it.
So imagine if you denied using your eyes your entire life, and you have to navigate the world without your eyes. And if you did open your eyes and said, “Oh my God, there’s something more, there’s something more than my other five senses because of my six senses, so you have your intuition and all.” But we say, “Oh, there’s something more.” And you get told, “No, no, that’s your imagination. Stop.” I speak about how different a world we would have created if we were never allowed to use our eyes.
Similarly, if we grew up embracing our sixth sense, our intuition, the world would be a very different place. It is why for people who are very intuitive, who have a powerful sixth sense, it is not easy to navigate this world because we do not even have the correct vocabulary to express it. So that’s what I get into in this book.
Victor Fuhrman: In your new book, Sensitive is the New Strong offers a 35-question quiz that readers may use to determine their empathic ability level. What are a couple of the most common traits?
Anita Moorjani: The most common trait is actually feeling physically in your body the pain of someone else. If you actually see somebody in pain, you actually start to kind of feel it as if you’re going through it yourself. That’s one common trait. Also, if you see something like a gory scene, or something happening, even if it’s on TV, and the scene doesn’t leave you. Other things are like feeling exhausted and depleted when you’re in a crowded place, but not knowing why.
It’s because empaths are like sponges. They’re just absorbing the energies of the people around them without even realizing it. So those are some of the most common traits.
Victor Fuhrman: How may a meditation practice aid in developing our intuitive skills?
One of the things I have noticed with empaths is that the best way to actually recharge your batteries, so to speak, is time spent alone in quiet time, with no input. Meditation is an ideal way to do that. But you can meditate sitting alone, or you can even contemplate out in nature. I have a tiny garden outside my home, and thankfully, it’s not significant because I wouldn’t be able to maintain it if it were substantial. It’s just small enough for me to keep it myself.
During the last year, with us being stuck and not traveling, I have taken to just being out in my garden, and it just replenishes me. Anything like that; anything that you do alone that charges your batteries. When we allow ourselves to be barefoot on the earth, we actually start to align with the rhythm of Mother Earth because empaths are so sensitive. But I ground myself regularly because I want to align with Mother Earth. I want to align with nature and the skies and the oceans and not with crowds of people around me.
Victor Fuhrman: Do empaths need to disconnect from or, go on a cleanse from media and cyberspace?
Anita Moorjani: Yes, absolutely. We do need to have what I call “information fasts.” I do that regularly. It’s a good idea to have a screenless day, maybe once a week or every two weeks. It’s not easy to do, not even watch fun things. Literally, a screenless day if you can’t manage one a week.
And if you can manage one every two weeks or once a month, an utterly screen-free day, that’s great. But if you can’t handle a screen-free day, at the very minimum, cut down on the news media and information media for a couple of days, a week, or one day a week, where you watch no news.
Victor Fuhrman: Why are so many empaths people pleasers?
Anita Moorjani: Because when you feel the energies of the people around, you don’t always realize that this is happening. So, if someone around you feels awful, if they’re struggling, and you are feeling their energy, you’re just absorbing their energy. So, You’re a sponge, and you realize this is what you’re doing, and there are ways to mitigate it, by the way, but the first step is to recognize that you’re doing this. I was doing this.
That is one of the problems that empaths face when they don’t understand. But once you know it and realize this is their energy, there are ways to identify this as theirs. This is not mine. It becomes easier to break away from that and to stop being a people pleaser.
Victor Fuhrman: In our share before the interview started, I mentioned that one of my most significant challenges in life was learning that the word “no” is a complete sentence. This is a boundary, and I won’t cross that boundary.” I think that’s a hard lesson for many of us to learn.
Anita Moorjani: It’s a very hard lesson even ’til today, I struggle with it. I’ve gotten very good with it in so many areas of my life. But life still throws me challenges where I’m like, “Oops, this one’s a hard one to say no to, but even thinking about doing it drains me.”
Victor Fuhrman: Absolutely, and as I have shared amongst my community, “blessed are the caregivers for theirs is the burden of love.” There’s an old expression. Energy flows where intention goes. How many empaths and sensitives filter that energy?
Anita Moorjani: There are actually a lot of ways. I’m still trying to filter it down in the best possible way. For empaths to filter that energy, one of the things that I asked them to do is to always ask themselves what feels good, what feels uplifting, and what makes you feel depleted or tired. Always make the choice of what is uplifting or what feels uplifting. So, we are constantly putting our attention on uplifting things.
And it’s a little bit like what we were talking about watching the news, and so whatever we put our attention on, that’s where the energy flows. Suppose you are noticing that you’re starting to feel depleted, and you’re starting to feel rundown. In that case, you may ask yourself, “What have I been putting my attention on lately?” And then shift the focus. I’m always telling people to shift their focus because one of the prevalent things, what people do, is that when they are going through a challenge, when you are going through an emotional challenge, physical challenge, health challenge, we tend to obsess about that challenge and all our attention goes on that challenge, and then our energy gets depleted. “Shift the focus from the challenge to what you want to see as the outcome.”
Focus on that point in time when your challenge is resolved. Once you start doing that, your energy becomes uplifted, and you’re in a different energy state. When you’re in a different energy state, what happens is you become more intuitive. When you’re more intuitive, the answers to that challenge start to come to you. I hope I explained that clearly.
Victor Fuhrman: In Sensitive Is the New Strong, you offer many exercises for strengthening our energy. Can you share one or two?
Anita Moorjani: One of them is visualization. It’s really just sitting. Close your eyes, you can have music, and then you actually visualize your aura. And no matter what size your aura is, you can actually expand it by visually imagining it getting bigger and bigger. It actually works because here’s another gift of people who are empaths and sensitive. If you can visualize, your visualization, and what we call our imagination, is extremely powerful.
Your imagination is actually not your imagination. It is the doorway to your soul. Our visualizations are compelling if you’re sensitive and you’re an empath. I do have a few people tell me that they’re not good at visualization, and if that’s the case, don’t worry. You may expand your energy by feeling joy.
I tell people to do at least one thing every day that expands their energy, at least one thing because empaths tend to forget about themselves. And they’re so quick to expend their energy to help other people that you don’t even realize that you start to get depleted. We just keep reacting to what’s out there. I want you to stop responding to what’s out there and start consciously thinking about what will expand my energies, what will recharge my batteries, and do at least one thing every day.
Victor Fuhrman: Which leads to the question, are spirituality and abundance mutually exclusive? Why do so many of us struggle with worthiness and exchange?
Anita Moorjani: This is one of the issues again, of our cultural thinking, our dominant culture where we have been taught that money is not spiritual and that money is the root of all evil and all of these things for many people, it’s been ingrained. What ends up happening is that if we are very attracted to spiritual teachings and the healing arts. We’re attracted to doing these things. We tend to believe that we need to have another day job to pay our bills so that we may do the teachings, healings, and helping other people as a kind of hobby to feed our soul.
However, what happens is that when our day job very often takes up all our time, that leaves very little time to do the work that the planet really needs. The only reason we do it that way is because of an ingrained belief that if it’s spiritual work, I’m not supposed to make money with it. Suppose we could shift that belief and realize the world needs people to be out there doing this kind of work, whether it’s healing, whether it’s teaching, whether it’s uplifting people, whether it’s being compassionate. In that case, they need to be rewarded for doing it to keep doing it.
We live in an upside-down world where people who are dishonest are being rewarded. They’re the ones that are making all the money. In contrast, the people who are very empathic, compassionate, and spiritual givers end up destitute, poor, and broke. But if they were abundant, they could have helped so many more people. So we really need to change that belief and realize that spirituality and abundance need to go together like a hand and a glove.
Victor Fuhrman: What would you like readers to take away from Sensitive Is the New Strong?
Anita Moorjani: I would like them to know that we need to embrace our sensitivity, empathy, and compassion. We need to embrace our intuition and see all these things as strengths if we want to see our evolution’s next step. We need to change the metrics of what it means to be strong, to define strength differently, with stability and compassion. And it means being intuitive, it has to start from within. Only when we stop judging ourselves and allow ourselves to be who we are and embrace ourselves can we actually help the people around us because we take ourselves wherever we go.
You may also like: