“Once I really saw that the only thing ‘wrong’ with me, was that I’d just been listening to a lot of thoughts and reacting to them and that there was a Mary underneath all of that who was absolutely unaffected by thoughts or circumstances or anything, she was completely unbroken, unphased, whole, healthy. That was a pivotal thing for me to see. No matter what any mental health person told me over the years, I was actually not mentally ill.” – Mary Schiller
Enjoy this Being In Conversation with Mary Schiller and Kaye Taylor talking about our well being that sits at the core of us, beneath our thoughts.
When we see the level of intelligence present in the natural world, seeing how nature takes care of itself, we realise that we’re not any different. We recognise that we too have a system underneath already working for us.
In this Being In Conversation With episode, Mary Schiller from Mind Yoga Spa, shares her journey of losing her job, figuring out what to do next and turning her hobby of being a coach into her profession. One of the things she got involved in was being part of putting on the One Solution event in Oslo where she heard Jack Pransky talk about that “all the things we’re dealing with in life, all the problems that look really challenging, whether they are relationships or work problems, all have one singular cause, chronic distress. It’s a chronic state of feeling poorly so people are not performing optimally and are not able to see clearly.” Even though chronic stress looks like the result of all these other things, it’s actually the cause of all these things which Mary hadn’t seen before.
Mary could really see herself in that description having dealt with chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) three decades before coming across this understanding, seeing how much of an impact her state of mind had on the decisions she’s made and once that stress was gone, she was a completely different person. She can see that it doesn’t take a lot of time to elevate this chronic state people are in.
Kaye shares how she’s recently seen how having a feeling bares no relation to what’s going to happen. That feeling anxious about something or nervous about something, doesn’t mean that that something is going to go badly, it’s just a feeling she’s having. She can see that she can have that feeling and still perform, not needing to pay attention to the feeling or know where the thoughts are coming from.
Kaye can see how it is easy for other people to think that their circumstances are creating stress because there’s so much thinking that goes in that direction and the more insecure thoughts you have, the more of a bad feeling you get and then you go into situations where you’re proven right.
Mary shares that what she’s seen for herself in relation to stress is that stress in and of itself is no longer a factor for her. It’s not this thing that she wakes up with and is going to bed with and cope with all day long. That isn’t her experience anymore. It’s more of an acute thing, where she feels something and then goes “oh I’m having some kind of stressful thinking right now”. Then the thinking bursts and it doesn’t have any impact on what she’s doing anymore or the thinking continues but isn’t playing any role anymore, or it dissolves.
Mary doesn’t want to give the impression that we’re never under stress, we’re are, it’s just for her there’s now such a different experience around it. It’s just another feeling, like one of thousands, which she doesn’t give the time of day anymore, where as it used to look like a serious problem to her before in the past. She talks about when you’re being labelled with PSD, it starts to look like a problem, because someone told you you have a mental illness. However when she stopped seeing it that way, when she started to realise she just has some thinking once in a while which is bringing about this feeling, it’s not a big deal, then it just faded.
Mary shared another story from George Pransky where he referred back to a housing project with Roger Mills from the 80ies, showing the vicious “chronic stress” cycle playing out. Showing how people were under stress and that as a result of it there was more violence and drug use which then spiralled into drug dealers becoming more popular and rich and infiltrating the housing project. As a result the police felt outnumbered and didn’t know what to do so they left the community resulting in even more stress as there was no longer any police protection. Once he found out that the entry point was stress, he was able to show people how to alleviate stress and all these other problem would disappear too.
Mary can see this to be true for anyone that whatever problem we’re looking at is sort of irrelevant, it’s all the same root, whether we’re looking at money or relationships. It doesn’t really matter what, it’s all the same root problem. Once that’s taken care of, all the other issues slowly start to drop off. Kaye adds that the more clearly people see this understanding, the less seductive consciousness and thought becomes because there’s an understanding of what’s happening. That’s why the content of our problems is so irrelevant. She talks about a business situation that she sometimes still has anxious thinking about, however now realises that she has a lot of personal thinking and only focuses on a tiny part of her experience, realising that she doesn’t need to find a solution because there is no problem to fix in the first place.
Mary & Kaye talk about that this understanding doesn’t require you to change your thinking. It’s not about having better thoughts and better feelings. When we see the system that sits behind everything, we get less caught up in the experience. Kaye shares that when she does go in the direction of her insecure thinking, she just needs to remember not to pay attention to that and she doesn’t need to come up with anything else either. The system will come up with someone else, it’s just automatic.
Mary talks about how she’s been observing herself having the experience of getting annoyed. She’s no longer afraid or trying to avoid those feelings or thoughts, she wants to experience them all because she now has an understanding of who she really is, so now those thoughts don’t mean anything about Mary. In the past she was trying to change her thinking, trying to manage her experience, trying to change the circumstances in order to feel differently.
She can now allow herself to have the full human experience, allowing herself to feel down for a few days or feeling annoyed or frustrated.
Kaye shares how when we stop getting wrapped up in our own thinking or believing other people’s thinking, we have pure thought and can hear our own wisdom in the moment because our wisdom informs us moment to moment.
Mary shares that a few people asked her whether anyone is able to hear this understanding in a depressed state of mind. She shares that her experience has been that they do because it’s not something that people don’t already know, it’s the system that we operate under, it’s something that people understand intrinsically but there’s more an explicit understanding required. Mary can see that before having this understanding she could still make competent decisions, she was still able to create things even dealing with PTSD. Since this is our natural state we’re talking about, it doesn’t matter how someone looks on the outside, anyone can be responsive to this, mostly through the presence we bring to the conversation. If we’re clear and our presence is clear, then it becomes more transformative for other people.
Mary states that if she just had one person come up to her during all those years of struggling with PTSD, saying there is really nothing wrong her, that would have made the biggest difference to her in her life then. She would just love for people to see that no matter how it looks to them, there’s nothing wrong that needs to be fixed, it’s just a simple awareness that can bring about huge change.
Once Mary really saw there was nothing ‘wrong’ with her and that she had just been listening to a lot of thoughts and been reacting to them, that there was a Mary underneath it all that was unaffected by thoughts, circumstances or anything, that she was completely whole and healthy, that was a pivotal thing for her to see. No matter what any mental health person told her over the last years, she was not mentally ill and all the traumatic events of her 20ies and 30ies that she thought had damaged her psyche traumatically, they were all false. It’s not that those things didn’t happen but they didn’t harm her in the way that she thought they did.
There is no possible way that a human can be damaged by anything that occurs to them. The only thing that makes it look that way is if we have thought that look compelling and listen to them. People usually don’t believe Mary when she shares that within 6 weeks of coming in contact with this understanding of the Three Principles, 30 years of PTSD symptoms disappeared, never to be seen again. If people feel there’s no solution for them, if they think there’s something wrong with them, then that’s just a mistaken understanding which can easily be cleared up.
Mary shares that sometimes it’s hard for people to see what she was like before, being very unhappy, having everything tainted and greyed out as a result of the violence she experienced when she was younger.
Kaye talks about that it’s easy to judge someone when you don’t know what they’re up against but it brings so much compassion and understanding seeing why people behave the way they do. The power of thought and consciousness can create suffering when you don’t understand it and when people are scared of suffering, they’ll do anything.
Mary adds that she also found it easy to finally understand why her husband acted the way he did, why he could treat another person like that compared to in the past where she found his behaviour baffling, trying to look in his family life for answers. She had struggled to forgive him for his behaviour, since her daughter and other people were harmed too. However there was one moment in her life where she realised how there’s nothing to forgive when you understand why people do something. She could see that he was trying to end his own suffering by leashing out onto another person. She could see that now where that piece of her life is answered, there’s really nothing to worry about anymore.
If we can show people the actual source of their suffering and stress, then there’s no need to control all the things and people that are causing all these problems. Mary’s looking forward to seeing what else she’s going to uncover in terms of areas where she can’t still see quite through yet.
Kaye asks Mary who she really is beyond her thoughts. Mary responds saying that she doesn’t have any idea but she loves living in the unknown. Kaye talks about that the space of the unknown is full of possibility and when we access that, we can’t go wrong. There’s no failure in anything.
Mary shares that for her it was all about divorcing herself from her thoughts. Whilst the thoughts are there and giving her this experience of being human, they’re not her. Seeing that was huge for Mary, seeing that she wasn’t broken or damaged.
Mary can see that living in a culture where we’re bombarded with things that cloud us up, having something so simple can be unnerving. She can see people questioning whether it can really be that simple not having to do all these other things anymore. However there’s beauty in the simplicity.
Mary finishes off this conversation referring to a documentary about Africa, demonstrating how nature takes care of itself and that there’s such a level of intelligence present in nature, questioning why we would work any different to that. She can see that we too have a system that works for us.