When we become sick, we often take the illness personally and feel that our happiness is conditional upon getting rid of it. We forget that illness — along with aging and death — is a hallmark of our human existence, and we get angry at our bodies for "letting us down." Sometimes, out of fear, we generate horrendous stories about our illness that may cause us more suffering than the illness itself. When we realize that illness is inescapable, that stress around illness increases our suffering, and that being sick is not a shortcoming, only then can we be at ease with, and even empowered by, illness.

When I experience
the unavoidable illnesses
that are part
of my human condition,
may I be mindful of impermanence,
free from fear,
and grateful for the blessings
that also arise and pass away.

Jean Smith in Now! The Art of Being Truly Present