Turning the Mind – from Marsha Linehan
((This is an excerpt from a mindfulness retreat given by Marsha Linehan. It is published on her website. I did not create this nor did I edit it. I highly recommend Marsha’s work for anyone who is interested in studying DBT or Borderline Personality Disorder. Visit her website at http://behavioraltech.org/index.cfm for more info))
The very interesting thing about willingness, acceptance, and awareness is that it’s very difficult to practice if you don’t want to do it. Sometimes you’ve decided not to do it or a part of you is withholding. And you’re thinking that if you resist, keep on the path you’re on, and keep fighting reality as it is, that somehow everything really will change and you won’t have to accept a thing.
A lot of us run our lives this way. We try to control things so they’ll be what we want the very moment that we want them. The only problem with this is that as a lifetime strategy, it doesn’t work. To be honest with you, if it did work, I would be for it. But it doesn’t. Because the world, somehow, was just not created to meet our whims, our fantasies, and our wants.
No matter what the catastrophe is in our lives, the universe is much larger than any catastrophe. So living with serenity, living with calmness, living with peace, and finding joy – cracking open the moment, so to speak, which is where joy is – requires that we radically accept the moment. The moment you look for joy somewhere else, you’ve lost it.
Cracking open the moment and radical acceptance requires turning the mind. Turning the mind is that interior turn where you simply say, “Yes. I will. OK.” It means you find within yourself the ability to say “Every moment is perfect. Every day is a good day. Everything is as it should be.” It may not be what you want, but it’s what it should be. It’s just that turning of the mind.
Now the fact that you turn back around again 30 seconds later is not important. You probably will turn back around and say, “No! Everything is not perfect!” The minute you see that happening, just gently turn your mind again. “Every day is a good day. Everything is perfect as it is.”
So I’m going to ring the bell three times to start and one time to end. And when I ring the bell, we’re going to practice just that – just turning the mind. Turning the mind is just going within, following your breath within, and allowing yourself to accept the moment of the breath – just this one moment of this one breath.
You might find it useful, as you breathe in, to say, “Everything is perfect,” and as you breathe out to say, “…as it is.” Everything is perfect… as it is. So sit down. Get yourself comfortable. Get into a posture that is somewhat willing, with your spine somewhat curved, sitting up straight, feet flat on the floor.
Everything is perfect… as it is.
Excerpt from Dr. Marsha Linehan’s CD From Suffering to Freedom Through Acceptance