An ancient Buddhist proverb says, "Sickness and medicine heal each other." Tim Burkett would agree and offer his own resonant proverb, "Because there is wounding and splintering there is suturing and healing." Wounding and healing are innate aspects of being human, he declares, and understanding the relationship between them is the key to a peaceful heart and purpose-driven life. "Medicine and sickness heal each other" means that the path to a peaceful heart does not lie outside the anxiety we seek to escape--but rather leads through the center of it.
Burkett provides wisdom from Zen (channeled through his many other experiences of psychotherapy and life) for first identifying the problems of pain and anxiety particularly where they most strongly manifest for modern people--in stuff like money, self-worth, sex, success vs. failure, and so forth. He then shows how if we understand our essentially undivided nature, it becomes clear that healing these negative states is effected only by going into them--not assailing them as though there were a solid "me" capable of eradicating them through assault. Each of the ten chapters ends with a section called "Doing the Work," which consists of three or four questions and/or meditative exercises. This section brings home the main points of the chapter, applying them directly to the reader's own life situations.