Practicing Discernment & Reframing Your Experience
You make meaning from the world around you by taking a limited number of facts and through your frame of reference you infer meaning. A frame of reference is the combination of beliefs, values, attitudes that you use to perceive a situation. You effectively look through this frame in the way you would look through tinted glasses.
Discernment is a process through which you become aware of what frame of reference is operating as you perceive and interpret the happenings and events of your life. For example, I see a walk in the foothills as a distraction or mental break from my busy day. My friend sees it as a social experience for us to talk and share about our lives as well as to walk her dog. My daughter on the other hand sees it as an opportunity for rigorous physical exercise. Each of us views a walk in the foothills from a different frame of reference and thus perceives the same event very differently. If all three of us begin our walk with these very different expectations, there is the potential for conflict. Looking for a mental break, I may not be interested in socially interacting with my friend, taking on the responsibilities of walking a dog or walking at a vigorous pace. Likewise, my friend or daughter may not be too keen on a quiet and leisurely walk. To reduce the potential for conflict, I may want to change or reframe my own frame of reference and see the walk I am about to take from the perspectives of my friend and daughter and adjust my expectations.
The First Step
The first step to managing the process of transformation is to discern what frame of reference is in operation as you experience the events of your life and then determine if that frame of reference serves your needs and interests in the present moment.
Practicing discernment requires:
- Knowledge of the different and prevalent thought-patterns/frames.
- Observation of what perceptual filters is being used in the present situation.
- Assessment as to whether or not the current perceptual filter is the most appropriate filter for the present situation.
- The decision to shift to the more appropriate perceptual filter.
One of the hardest parts of the discernment process is putting yourself in a state of awareness that allows you to observe what perceptional filters are being used in the present moment. One way you can do this by:
- Focusing your attention on your breath.
- Place your attention on your heart, imaging that you are breathing through your heart.
- As your mind becomes quiet, notice and then name what frame of reference you using to interpret your experience.
Once you have identified the perceptual filter you are using, you then can decide whether or not it is the right one for you given the situation.
Photographer: Iryna Rasko at Dreamstime
(C) The Transformational Journey