"By temperament I had always been impatient, active, and assertive, always looking for a way to solve a problem, though there were remarkable times in meditation when I was able to experience this same profound sense of letting go. Surrender, I was beginning to learn, was as critical a part of healing as fighting. The trick was to know when to fight, and when to let go. When I had cancer, fifteen years ago, many of my spiritual friends advised me to just accept my disease, to let be what will be. But I could not do it. I fought it tooth and nail. I would not give in. With every treatment, with every radiation dose, I battled my disease like the bitterest of enemies. And I won. I was cured. That was a time to fight.

"But this time was different. This time, flat on my back, barely able to move, unable to speak, there was nothing more I could do. Perhaps my Buddhist meditation experience helped me remember how important it is to allow others to step in and hold us, support us, and allow us to accept whatever our fate will be. I surrendered to that feeling and basked in its warm glow, suddenly confident that Amy, and Ivan, and the nurses and doctors, and all my friends, would take care of me fully and completely.

"I had studied Buddhism formally for fifteen years, and informally for another fifteen, but never had I received such a profound lesson."