This powerful anthology brings together voices from many different ages and cultures, among them Plato, John Donne, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Kahlil Gibran, Carl Jung and Bob Dylan. Extracts from the writings of neurologist Oliver Sacks and surgeon Richard Selzer reveal the power of truly empathetic science. All the writers explore how illness impacts on the soul as well as the body, how people learn to live with and find meaning in their medical conditions, and how healers who avoid burnout can derive deep satisfaction from their work. A wide variety of pieces - humorous, deadly serious and sometimes shocking - examine the impact of specific afflictions. Others focus on the solace to be derived from prayers, blessings and different spiritual traditions. As this inspirational book shows, for those who truly dare to face up to what is happening to them, it can also offer an opportunity to reassess their values and beliefs, to achieve creative breakthroughs and to discover new, unexpected strengths within themselves.