Opinions and assessments, expectations and desired outcomes… Our daily life seems to revolve around the concepts we have formed about the world in which we live. In the media reporters, pundits, lobbyists and politicians seem to want to win us over to their point of view.
Assessments Frame an Occurrence
It is so tempting to settle for one particular angle and judge what happens in the world from that point of view. The chosen angle offers a clear picture of what is wrong with the world and what needs to change in order for us to be happy.
In a way an opinions and assessments frame an occurrence. The frame in which we have placed the situation becomes the lens through which we perceive it. The frame puts something in a context which allows us to make sense of it. While the occurrence itself may be puzzling or disconcerting, the frame is a tool that helps us make sense of it. And so we hold on to it. As long as we have an interpretation, so it seems, there is order.
Letting Go of Frames
Without a frame to help us interpret what we see, we seem to feel lost. Never mind that the interpretation makes us feel frustrated or desperate. The fact that we have found a way to relate to a situation gives us a sense of knowing our bearings: we are here and the event is over there. Opinions and assessments seemingly offer a sense of knowing where we are relative to something else. They relieve our fear of being completely and utterly on our own. As long as we hold on to the frame, so we seem to think, we steer clear of feeling lost in an incomprehensible, unknowable world devoid of meaning. However, as long as assessments and fear remain in place, everything is locked in place. Nothing can change in our experience.
Letting go of frames liberates us from the bond they impose on us. Letting go lifts the lens that was distorting our view. The great unknown turns out to be nothing other than Creation continuously unfolding in and around us. We are an integral part of that creative dynamic. We are not our body-forms, just as trees are not tree-forms and mountains mountain-forms. That which we are—the creative flow of life extending—uses various forms such as mountains, trees and bodies, in which to express.
It is easy though, to mistake the shape for the identity. In previous eras people used to be classified by the quality of clothing they would wear. By their dress you could identify them as belonging to the upper class, the middle class, and so on. And people would derive a sense of self from the class they belonged to and thus from the type of clothing that went with that class. In a way a coat indicated identity. That is a clear example of confusing form with substance.
The Ship and the Water
Knowing that we are not the coat but creative flow temporarily expressing in a coat is very liberating idea. It allows us to experience the creative expression not only in other garments, but in everything else as well. In the inner alignment with the source flowing through us, we are connected to the substance of each and every form and expression that surrounds us. Unfortunately, opinions and assessments aim at hiding all that. A frame seems to hold out a life line in stormy waters, whereas we are the ship as well as the water.
See also lesson 85 in A Course in Miracles which is about releasing grievances, as well as Allen Watson’s commentary on this lesson (Circle of Atonement).