Expanding Our Frame of Reference

Our frame of reference is how we approach the world.

Frame of reference is defined as ‘a set of ideas, conditions, or assumptions that determine how something will be approached, perceived, or understood.’ (Merriam-Webster, 2019)  Each of us has a unique frame of reference that is embedded in our culture, education and experiences. This provides us with a structure to make sense of the multitude of stimuli that constantly bombards our senses.


Our senses perceive external stimuli. We dismiss stimuli when it does not fit within our frame of reference. In these cases, we don’t even notice the material nor do we question the relevance. The material is dismissed because it does not match our programming. Effort is not exerted to try to understand. Period.

With our focus on science and fact, we need to be aware of the benefits and the limitations. The voices of authority provide rational knowledge and advice. However this knowledge is constrained by the frame of reference of the ‘experts’. When experts come together to form institutions, the frame of reference becomes more rigid and difficult to expand. The institution focuses on rational thought but often struggles to acknowledge the irrational emotions that are triggered by external stimuli. When dismissed, we do not expand our frame of reference and reactions often derail results


We learn through curiosity and experience. As we search out new information, we build on what we currently know to be true for expansion. Our process of education allows us to methodically expand our knowledge based on the work of experts. At times, we recognize inconsistencies in this knowledge base or in our beliefs. This triggers us to react, to question and to search out more information. In this setting, our reactions intrigue us to learn more.

Curiosity provides a spark to search for new information to expand our frame of reference in a controlled manner. At times, life happens beyond our control. Also, events happen that we have never considered. Our beliefs are shattered. We are forced to pay attention. Yet we have no way of incorporating the event or stimuli into our current framework. We experience thoughts, emotions and sensations that are not comfortable. We feel distress, we suffer and we learn to cope.


We often hear reference that we grow through our struggles and life experiences. This growth is dependant on whether our coping techniques keeps us frozen in the past or if we learn to embrace the present.

‘Frame of reference’ refers to thoughts, beliefs and ideas. This is energetic space and words have long been recognized to have the power to shift energy. So as we look for growth,  we need to be open and curious to the power of spirit (energy).  Logosynthesis, discovered by Dr. Willem Lammers, is a psychotherapeutic and coaching model that offers a simple yet powerful technique to shift the energy in mental imagery. As we identify and resolve the mental imagery, our energy is available for thinking rather than reacting and our frame of reference expands.

Expand your Frame of Reference.

We live in a rapidly-changing, global world. Thus, our beliefs are challenged daily. We witness highly energized events daily. We cognitively dismiss stimuli regularly so that we can cope in the world. And yet this mental imagery triggers automatic reactions. It’s how our body responds to change.

But we can learn to resolve the sensory perceptions that trigger our reactions so that we can expand our frame of reference. And why is this important? So that each one of us can enhance our capacity for compassion to create peace in our world.

Life is a journey. Learn more about my journey:  Logosynthesis: Enjoying Life More Fully (Caswell, 2017)