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How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers Paperback – September 14, 2010
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"Full of hopefulness and promise…this book is a perfect blend of inspiration and encouragement. Toni's engaging teaching style shares traditional Buddhist wisdom in a format that is accessible to all readers." (The Huffington Post)
"Toni Bernhard's book, How To Be Sick--A Buddhist's Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers, is an invitation to gently set aside the fear and the fight in order to truly live. It is based on principles of Buddhism, which she carefully applies to her own chronic and at times debilitating illness. She offers a different perspective on illness and wellness, suggesting the two need not be mutually exclusive." (Psychology Today)
"A immensely wise book. Health psychology has been poisoned by the view that the best way to approach illness is through a muscular, militant resistance. This books shows otherwise. Bernhard reveals how letting go, surrendering, and putting the ego aside yield insights and fulfillment even in the presence of illness. This is a major contribution." (Larry Dossey, MD, author of Healing Words)
"How does one face a chronic illness? In 2001 law professor Bernhard became sick from a virus that no doctor has been able to treat. Faced with ongoing disabling symptoms, forced to give up her profession, and unable to take part in most of the activities she loves, Bernhard has dug into the roots of the Buddhism she once studied intensively, looking for resources to cope with such devastating loss. 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 author Byron Katie, a practice for working with thoughts. Bernhard's applications of Buddhism are sound and her insights gentle and honest; others may take heart from her determination to use the Buddha's timeless wisdom to ease the mental suffering brought about by unrelieved physical illness."-- (Publishers Weekly)
"You don't have to be sick to benefit from the advice in this book. This is a book on how to live fully." (Joy Selak, author of You Don't LOOK Sick!)
"An inspiring work" (Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace)
"Beautiful, heartfelt, and immensely courageous. Truly worth reading." (Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness)
"An inspiring and instructive guide for coping with a chronic condition or life-threatening illness but it is much more than that. Each chapter is about unpacking the highest truth in the lowest places of our lives. The book is entitled How To Be Sick but I found that it's really about how to live." (Jim Palmer, Author of Divine Nobodies, and Wide Open Spaces)
"This book could easily be called "How to Be Well." Toni Bernhard's hard-won wisdom dealing with chronic illness teaches us how to be kind to ourselves, to counter negative thoughts about our life and our health, and to live fully in the present--neither regretting the past nor fearing the future. Who among us couldn't use these life-affirming skills? Bravo!" (Susan Milstrey Wells, author of A Delicate Balance: Living Successfully with Chronic Illness)
"If you want to better understand how to deal with a chronic illness, or you are the caregiver for someone who is chronically ill, read How to be Sick." (The Caregiver's Voice)
About the Author
Toni Bernhard is the author of the award-winning How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers and How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow. Until forced to retire due to illness, Toni was a law professor at the University of California-Davis, serving six years as the dean of students. She has been a practicing Buddhist for over 20 years. Her blog, "Turning Straw Into Gold" is hosted on the website of Psychology Today. She can be found online at www.tonibernhard.com.
Sylvia Boorstein is the author of many well-known books, including It's Easier Than You Think, Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist, and Don't Just Do Something, Sit There. She lives in Geyserville, California.
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All of the Buddhist teachings are in the back of the book so you can look at them without going back into the story. That is nice.
I recommend reading this book with little to no interruption, (One-two consecutive sittings, otherwise it's easy to forget terminology used, or take notes.) Unless you are a person that is familiar with sanskrit words, notes help, but still a very easy and very pleasant read!
This book tells the story of the author's experience as she became chronically ill and as the years continued, how she explains how her past learning of bhuddist ways has helped her accept the illness and learn how to live more peacefully with it.
I found this book was pitched perfectly for me - it doesn't assume you know anything about Buddhism to begin with. Everything is explained in practical and usable ways and I found every chapter contained suggestions which I could really use. I found the chapter on "Mudita" practice especially valuable - learning to be joyful about the experiences of others even though you can't share those experiences.
I've had this book several months now and I'm constantly going back and rereading specific chapters to refresh my mind. I've been following the author on Facebook too and she posts frequent items that are relevant to readers.
The name of the book really turned me off and had Tara Brach not endorsed the book I would not have considered buying it. When going to doctors appointments or other places where I might be required to wait, I normally bring something to read while in the waiting room. I chose not to take this book to read outside of the house as the title of the book can be interpreted in many different ways.
Aside from the name, I found this book to be well worth the price.