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How to Be Sick (Second Edition)

A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers
Paperback Book
Wisdom Publications
September, 2018
$26.95 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

Now updated with added practices, How to Be Sick is a must-read for anyone who is—or who might one day be—sick. That is, any of us. And it may be a gift of guidance, encouragement, and inspiration to family, friends, and loved ones struggling with the many terrifying or disheartening life changes that come so close on the heels of a diagnosis of a chronic condition or even life-threatening illness.

The author tells the reader how she got sick and, to her and her partner’s bewilderment, stayed that way. Toni had been a longtime meditator, going on long meditation retreats and spending many hours practicing, but soon discovered that she simply could no longer do it. She had to learn ways to make “being sick” the heart of her spiritual practice—and through truly learning how to be sick, she learned how, even with many physical and energetic limitations, to live a life of equanimity, compassion, and joy.

She clearly explains how such Buddhist principles as the four noble truths, impermanence, no-self, and dependent origination help her cope with limited energy and frequent enforced solitude.

No longer able to meditate formally, Bernhard describes a set of easy mental practices, drawn from her own daily experiences as well as vipassana (insight meditation), Zen koans, Tibetan Buddhist compassion exercises, and the “inquiry” technique of Byron Katie, a practice for working with thoughts.

Whether we ourselves are sick now—or later—there is much we can learn of the vital arts of living well in this book.

“Toni Bernhard has written a beautiful and heartfelt account of chronic illness and inner transformation. Her immense courage is present on every page. Truly worth reading.” —Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness

Publisher’s Description: 

A brand-new edition of the best-selling classic with added and updated practices.

In 2001, Toni Bernhard got sick and, to her and her partners bewilderment, stayed that way. As they faced the confusion, frustration, and despair of a life with sudden limitationsa life that was vastly different from the one theyd thought theyd have togetherToni had to learn how to be sick. In spite of her many physical and energetic restrictions (and sometimes, because of them), Toni learned how to live a life of equanimity, compassion, and joy. This book reminds us that our own inner freedom is endless, regardless of our external circumstances.

Updated with new insights and practices hard-won from Tonis own ongoing life experience, this is a must-read for anyone who isor who might one day besick.

Community Reviews

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by jeancastellanos
May 16, 2019

I somehow heard about this book and ordered it from the library. I have been living with chronic pain off and on for a year or so. I would consider this book to be gentle in the sense that it is a combination of Toni Bernhard's story and includes Buddhist based practices that are accessible to someone like me who may be reading the book in the middle of the night because she can't sleep.