Monday, January 24, 2011

"How To Be Sick" - Review and Quotes

I just finished reading "How To Be Sick" by Toni Bernhard. This book is a wonderful inspirational book for those of us who are chronically ill. It is based on a lot of Buddhist beliefs but even if you are not Buddhist it can still work for you. It applies to all of us. There are wonderful tips to help get us through this new life of our's. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is chronically ill. I'm gonna leave this with a few quotes from the book that I found especially inspiring.

"You know this is the way it is. You were born and are subject to change, disease, and ultimately death. It happens differently for each person. This is one of the way it's happening to you."

"Without the bitterest cold that penetrates to the very bone, how can plum blossoms send forth their fragrances all over the universe?"

"I work on treating thoughts and moods as wind, blowing into the mind and blowing out. We can't control what thoughts arise in the mind (Telling yourself not to think about whether you'll feel well enough to join the family for dinner is almost a guarantee that it's exactly what you will think about!) And moods are as uncontrollable as thoughts. Blue moods arise uninvited, as does fear or anxiety. By working with this wind metaphor, I can hold painful thoughts and blue moods more lightly, knowing they'll blow on through soon - after all, that's what they do."

"The very activities that bring us the greatest joy are also the activities that make our condition worse. This was a bitter pill for me to swallow; it still is sometimes."

"Just as we condition our bodies in different ways through exercise or lack of it, so we also condition our minds. Every mind state, thought, or emotion we experience repeatedly becomes stronger and more habituated. Who we are as personalities is a collection of all the tendencies of mind that have developed, the particular energy configuration we have cultivated."

"May I be peaceful. May I have ease of well-being. May I reach the end of suffering.....and be free."

"If someone curses us and we have no feelings of self the incident ends with the spoken words, and we do not suffer. If unpleasant feelings arise, we should let them stop there, realizing that the feelings are not us....if we do not stand up to the line of fire, we do not get shot, if there is no one to receive it, the letter is sent back."

"When people say, "Ajahn, let's go for a beautiful walk," fine I'll go. If they don't ask, that's fine too. I don't expect a walk to be any more satisfying than sitting alone. It could be hot or windy out there. If people bring me delicious food, great. If they don't, great. I need to diet anyway. If I'm feeling good, that's okay. If I'm sick, that's okay too. It's a great excuse to lie down."

"In mind, I understand that the essence of equanimity is accepting life as it comes to us without blaming anything or anyone - including ourselves."

"If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will know complete peace and freedom. Your struggles with the world will have come to an end."

"Thoughts are just there, like the air around us. They arise but are arbitrary and not reliable. Most of them are just rubbish, but we believe them anyway."

"Language...has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone."

"If you're suffering due to being alone so much, it might help to recognize that being alone in and of itself is not necessarily a negative experience. It's a neutral state - to which we add the desire for things to be other than they are (for example, to have company)."

"Lonely is a funny thing. It's almost like another person. After a while it will keep you company if you let it."

"In sickness or in health, my heartfelt wish is that you be peaceful, have ease of well-being, reach the end of suffering, and be free."

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