In one of the Agama Scriptures, there is the following passage:
The Buddha once told his monks that there were four kinds of horses.
The first, upon seeing the shadow of the riding crop, is startled and forthwith follows the wish of its rider.
The second, startled when the crop touches its hair, forthwith follows the wish of its rider.
The third is startled after the crop touches its flesh.
The fourth is awakened only after the touch of the riding crop is felt in its bones.
The first horse is like the person who hears about the death of someone in a distant monastic community and forthwith feels aversion for things of the world.
The next horse is like the person who hears of the death of someone within their own monastic community and then feels aversion for things of the world.
The third horse is like the person who hears of the death of someone near and dear to them and then feels aversion for things of the world.
The fourth horse is like the person whose own body experiences sickness and suffering, and only then feels aversion for things of the world.
How can this passage be a wakeup call to us as humans and how we deal with and take care of our own health?
Are we the first horse - we hear of a friend of a friend who's sister-in-laws brother's daughter has cancer.
Are we the second horse - we hear that our own sister-in-law has cancer.
Are we the third horse - our own cancer blood marker is elevated.
Or are we the fourth horse - we are currently undergoing chemotherapy; our right breast has been removed.
Please take the time to identify yourself, and to what extent do you need to feel/see the crop? What is going to wake you up to the importance of your health? Is it going to be you dealing with a sickness or are you going to start making small changes now just because you never know what life is going to bring you.