Posted July 31, 2017 in Monthly News

Changing Frames

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
~ Wayne Dyer

In an 1819 letter to his brother and sister, the poet John Keats said the common notion that life is “a vale of tears … from which we are to be redeemed by a certain arbitrary interposition of God and taken to Heaven—What a little circumscribed straightened notion! Call the world if you Please ‘The vale of Soul-making.'” He goes on to say that the purpose of our experiences is to school an Intelligence and make it a Soul. Decades later, Gary Zukav would refer to the same idea using the expression, Earth School.

We are “here” (living a particular life) to learn. Exactly what we are to learn isn’t clear, but those who have been revered for extraordinary wisdom—and perhaps especially Buddha and Jesus—have provided at least some of the “lesson plans” for doing well in “Earth school.” The first, and perhaps the most challenging lesson for all of us, is becoming aware of our progress through “earth school.” More than one lifetime is required to learn the lessons of earth school. Just as all of nature evolves by imprinting wisdom from one generation to the next, you can say a soul lives more than one lifetime to learn the lessons being taught in earth school.

Fortunately, earth school allows “do overs.” Having to learn increasingly difficult lessons over many lifetimes is not as easy, of course, as living once, being judged “worthy” or “unworthy,” and packing your bags for Heaven or Hell, depending. If you fail the second grade in Earth School, you get to do it over until you get it right.

Those of you who know us have probably already heard Joel’s report of how the first time he was on Debra’s massage table for energy work she blurted out, “You killed me in a former life.” When Debra said that, Joel knew instantly that not only was it true, but he remembered the time, place, and circumstances of the event. Simply an hypnotic hallucination? Perhaps, but not likely. You may well have had similar experiences, even if you could not define them at the time. Such experiences are often referred to as Déjà_vu, meaning “already seen.” A few years later, Joel told the story of his first Healing Touch session with Debra to Caterina Pellegrino-Estrich (associated with the Brazilian spiritual healer John of God), and Caterina replied simply, “It is true. You did kill her in a former life.”

Current science would prefer that “normal people” didn’t have such experiences, but they—we—do. Most people have such experiences but dismiss them because of the bias against what’s often called woo woo. If you want to think about “memories” of past lives as energy and information being passed down through our DNA, that may a helpful frame. The concept of frame comes from linguistics and is based on the idea that if we change the “window” we are looking out, we change what we see. Two people looking out different windows will see different things. Just because others look out their window and see one thing, doesn’t mean that’s the only valid window through which to see reality. One of the good things about science is the demand that scientists keep seeking larger truths. It took a very long time, for example, before scientists agreed Einstein was right about spooky action at a distance. The forefront of science touches on the mystical.

In some ways, “spooky action at a distance” perfectly describes the idea of past lives. We recently had a session with a gifted woman who does spiritual readings, and that past life, along with many other past-life “threads” presented themselves quite clearly. Each of those threads represents a frame providing a more compressive view of our current life situation. No one knows for sure, of course, whether past lives are “real” or metaphorical. Being “sure” may not be especially important, or even accurate. What is important is an openness to learn from what you “remember” as lessons from your each lifetime (real or imagined). In some ways then, memories of past lives serve the same function as reading and watching movies and TV shows. We learn from the behaviors we see being modeled.

Most of us, for example, would rather “be like” the protagonist—the hero or heroine—than the villain. Charles Dickens begins his great novel, David Copperfield, with the sentence, “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” The novel resonates because most of us have that aspiration, at least when we are young.

No one, after all, ever said that Earth School would be easy. One of the things Shakespeare said about Earth School is that one must face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. The reason great literature, including writers as different as Shakespeare and Dickens in a few hundred years of English literature, often focuses on human struggles through Earth School, is that we are all here to learn the same lessons, and the great literature from all cultures in all times is pointing the way.

The signs and symbols pointing the way for you will not be the same as those we have encountered over the years, so we can’t tell you what your specific challenges will be. We know only that you will have them, and that it is up to you to recognize them. Another English poet, Richard Lovelace described some of the challenges we all face in one way or another while we are in Earth School.

Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such
As thou too shalt adore;
I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.

You, of course, are the only one who knows what challenges you face, and you, of course, are the only one who can face them. The first step in changing frames is to recognize you are being influenced by a frame. If your “frame” is that Mondays are bad days, you will likely miss having some great Mondays. If your “frame” is that all “blank” people (color, race, religion, creed) are something (lazy, dishonest, stupid, inferior), you will probably miss getting to know some wonderful folks. If your “frame” is that past lives are only metaphor, that becomes your belief, and that belief is probably limiting what other views are available to you.

One of our SCS/NLP students always suspended disbelief with a “what if” frame. Ask yourself what you might gain if you let yourself see things differently. Ask yourself what you might be missing. After all, changing frames can be a fun, safe, and easy way to feel better about the past and to picture a brighter future, can’t it…

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