You may wish that life was smooth sailing and that everything goes exactly as you wish and nothing gets in the way of your happiness.
As idea as this sounds it is the ups and downs of life that help us learn and grow. For example, we usually don't give serious thought to our physical condition when we are savoring healthy and vital living. But this doesn't mean we should consider illness simply as the enemy of well-being and write it off as the source of misery and suffering in life, because we can actually find positive meaning in illness.
Let us consider why we become sick. If we look back and contemplate a series of events that may have led us to illness we will see that there is always an early stage or a preliminary period before we develop an illness. This is when we see a sign that something is wrong with our physical body. We start to feel like we are coming down with something. We may feel pain, nausea, or other symptoms that prevent us from doing what we usually do. In a sense this is nature's way of telling us to rest and recuperate when we are at the brink of collapse. If always healthy, we would take it for granted and keep working until we dropped.
So one positive role that illness plays in our lives is that it keeps us alive when we burn out. Illness forces us to temporarily stop working and rest so we can live out our life and fulfill our true purpose in this world. Illness can save and extend life by giving us time to recuperate. If we never fell ill, we might push ourselves beyond the limit and leave this world before our time. By forcing us to rest we undergo a period of recuperation, physical ailments serve as precautions against life-threatening damage to our body.
This period of recuperation brings us alot more benefits than just physical rest. When we become sick, we become introspective: we take the time to look within and reflect on our thoughts and feelings. We often neglect to look inward when we become busy with our social lives or preoccupied with external achievement.
We're at special risk when the goal of our life becomes getting ahead in a competitive society. This leaves us no room to care about anything else, and we start to adopt a falsely positive attitude and judge everything by outward results. Failures and setbacks, either at work or in health, await them at some point in life to serve as catalysts to help them find their true self.
A section from Ryuho Okawa's book Invincible Thinking