A Course in Miracles Blog

Denial or acceptance - its your only choice

  • By Paul West
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  • In Illusion, Law, Mind
  • 3856 Words
  • 19 minutes 16 seconds
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In terms of the truth, these are our only two options: either accept it as it is, or deny it. Denying it is an attempt to reject what the truth is, and to replace it with something else.

Jesus says denial is an act of 'positive creation' not just an attempt to negate the truth. By denying, we substitute the truth for something else, and invent or make some other illusion to take its place, to try to prove that something else is true. We actively erect barricades and something else to fixate on and believe in.

In the Atonement, we accept the truth as it is, as God has established it, without any desire or need to change it.

The opposite of Atonement or resurrection, is death, in which there is an attempt to reject all truth (life) and prove that something opposite is true (death).

Denial produced the physical universe. Denial implements all forms of sickness. Denial is death. Denial is also fear. "All forms of sickness even unto death, are physical expressions of the fear of awakening." Or to put it another way, when you do not want to accept the truth, you invent fear to try to explain "why" you cannot accept it. The fear is fake, just as death is fake. Death does not END real life, it DENIES IT and paints a picture which PRETENDS the immortal son of God has been killed. ("You have made a bargain you cannot keep.")

Denial was the attempt to reject the fact that you cannot sin, by trying to replace it with an attempt to prove that sin can and has been accomplished. Even in that attempt, it is a state of denial. It hasn't changed the truth. Denial has no power to actually alter what the truth is. But, being denial, denial is "in denial" of this fact, and so attempts to change the truth anyway, believing that it is possible. Such is denial.

Denial also represents unwillingness. When we attempted to deny God's will, or to deny that we are as God created us, we moved into unwillingness. This was an attempt to suppress our own will. We became unwilling rather than willing, or imprisoned rather than free. Death is a state of unwillingness, as are punishment, suffering, fear, guilt and sin. This is why it takes "a little willingness" in order to move towards acceptance of the Atonement (truth) because denial has to be undone.

Blocks to awareness are denial. Since the truth cannot be changed (it's established by God's will permanently), denial cannot actually change the truth into something else. And the only way to "believe in" something else being true, is to block out awareness of the fact that the truth is true. While you are still aware that only the truth is true, you cannot bring yourself to believe or be convinced by an alternative. So you have to "block awareness".

Denial does this by putting up an illusory psychological barrier, comprised of a "will to reject", which makes the truth go unconscious. Conscious awareness is cut off from accessing the truth, hidden behind this wall of denial, and so now all that you are consciously aware of is "whats left" that hasn't yet been denied. The stuff that has been denied now forms the unconscious mind, hidden from awareness and kept in the dark. Consciously, since you are no longer aware that it is present, or still true, or an unchangeable fact, and you cannot "find it" when you search around with your awareness, it SEEMS not to exist.

Many false conclusions are made based on this unawareness - based on incomplete information. For example if you are not aware that you yourself chose to believe in sin, you made the sin unconscious by implementing denial and inventing fake guilt to cover it up, you will now be unable/unwilling to see that you are the one who made you guilty. Instead you will now search elsewhere for a "cause" of the upset, and inevitably blame it on someone else, because that seems to make sense given that you are not aware of the hidden key fact of what you did to yourself. This is why Jesus said "Forgive them father for they know not what they do" - as soon as you go into denial, you do NOT KNOW what you are doing, because you don't have all the facts in awareness.

The secret of salvation lies in your willingness to remove the block to awareness, so that you can become able to SEE the chain of causality coming from yourself, the choices you made, and thereby realize that none of your conditions are caused by anyone else. Your mind is the sole cause of your experience. But this block to awareness, in order to remove it, MUST entail the willingness to remove denial. The layer of denial which literally blocks awareness - blocks the ability to SEE, must be undone. And that will only be undone through honesty and willingness.

Denial takes on many forms, and indeed all forms. It includes the belief that you are already innocent even if you have unconscious hidden hates, secret sins, unhealed wounds and layers of self-repression that you don't want to admit to. This can produce a state of "fake innocence" in which you don't SEE that you are the cause of something and so become justified in blaming it on someone else - scapegoating, accusing your brother of your own sin. It also then justifies anger, and this is why anger is never justified - to become angry is ALWAYS based on denial and unawareness of the facts. If you knew the facts, the truth, you would have NO reason to conclude that you should be upset.

Denial also accounts for this world - Earth - this universe. Jesus says in reference to it, "a world that denies itself cannot exist." The world denies itself, because it is made OF denial of God's Kingdom. All denial is self denial, and so this world is made of denial. That is why it is a BLOCK to awareness. "Nothing so blinding as sight of form." This is also why, when denial is lifted, and we are willing to see the whole truth, this world must disappear because, being made from denial AS a block, it is merely an illusion preventing us from seeing, and once you see PAST it and become AWARE that you are the cause/dreamer of it, you will stop USING IT to make God's Kingdom unconscious.

Another expression or use of denial is in the ego's motto of "seek and do not find". By denying that you already are perfect, you don't SEE the perfection in yourself so you think it is not there, and so are now empty, and are in need, and this need compels you to search for a solution to the emptiness somewhere ELSE, outside of yourself. This sets you on a "spiritual path" - ultimately the journey without distance. Here you will pursue FAKE SPIRITAULITY, fake peace, produce a spiritualized ego, spiritualize the world, spiritualize the body, and seem to side with one half of duality (ultra positive or ultra negative).

This also produces the PERSONA, which is a fake identity or fake mask which forms this idea of who you think you are, which is made of the denial of yourself. Even your physical body is a fake image, designed to make people believe that they are seeing YOU when they see IT, when in fact it is made to HIDE YOU. The body and persona then become filled with fakery, lies, self deception and dishonesty, resulting in a veneer of "looking spiritual" or "acting spiritual", decorated with spiritual clothing and performing fake rituals, which are all really designed to maintain the denial and block you from being AUTHENTICALLY YOURSELF.

The facade of innocence hides unconscious guilt, and makes a person seem holier than they really are. The main problem is the person themselves is unwilling to admit to why they are overcompensating for a deep belief in unholiness, by pretending to be holy and trying to convince everyone that they themselves are convinced of it. This "spiritual seeker" has to be undone just as much as any other denial, because it takes you away from yourself. You do not need to seek. You need to *acknowledge* what is already TRUE about you, and be grateful that God's creation has not changed.

Denial also plays out in the unwillingness to accept what is happening in your life. I spent many many years in denial that I was unhappy, afraid, angry, and it wasn't until my mid-20's when I started to admit that the way I was feeling was even those things. I did not recognize the mountain of upset in me AS fear or AS anger, and didn't even know that I was afraid and angry. Such was the denial. Denial obscures, making reality seem twisted and not what it is, so that you do not *recognize* it, and so remain in a state where you think it IS something ELSE. This failure to recognize the truth is what keeps us in the dark. Yet "illusions recognized must disappear". They can only be recognized by not being in denial.

Denial also produces various kinds of blindness. The unwillingness to see the truth. Even though people may be walking around in bodies talking and performing activities, they can be in various states of awareness ie various states of denial, thus various states of unconsciousness. Just because someone is working in a job and playing on the internet and chatting to their friends, does not mean they are aware or awake. Denial indeed is sleep. It is a suppression of awareness.

Since denial is unwillingness, it also produces justification for fear whenever the truth comes along to challenge the denial. If you are in denial and you are believing that the truth is not the truth, you've made it out to be evil, and have replaced it with a lie that you believe is your salvation. When the truth comes along, you see it as an attacker, a threat, and thus USE denial once again as the ego's only tool to reject, shut out, or put distance between, you and that truth. You bury your head in the sand to avoid it and to pretend it is not there. This induces all forms of sickness, because sickness is a defense against the truth. So yes, sickness is denial of life, as is death.

The funny thing about denial is that instead of being able to actually change the truth at all, you instead hide from the truth and block your awareness of it, reasoning that if you are not AWARE of it, it must not BE there. This is clearly denial because you are simply hiding your vision. Pretending that something is not there, does not make it go away. But in the ego, we become convinced by this delusion and think "out of sight, out of mind"... that if we can't SEE something, or cannot be AWARE of it, then it must not exist.

This way, we've told ourselves that we actually UNDID God, reversed creation, cancelled Heaven, and erased our true self. By believing that our denial of truth CAN change the truth (that darkness can hide the light), it's very easy to make the tiny shift from "I'm in denial of it" to "It's actually gone." Therefore we have come to believe, in ego denial, that we ACTUALLY HAVE changed the truth because our awareness does not show it to us and it seems not to exist any more. This way we came to believe that sin is real and has had real consequences. We think that we actually HAVE hurt God, produced a new truth, got away with murder, and destroyed ourself and our inheritance.

This belief then leads to the distorted perception that we stopped being innocent, CHANGED into a different state, our innocence went away, and now all that we're left with is guilt. And in that view it seems as though we have become unworthy, have transformed from sinless to sinful, or from innocent to guilty. The blocked awareness viewed from inside denial, makes it SEEM as if this is true. And so in denial, we automatically come to believe that our denying is actually WORKING, and is CAUSAL, and has power OVER the truth to change it. And so we think we have sinned, are really a sinner, deserve to be guilty, should be punished for it, and are worthy only of death. Denial produces the death wish.

From this side of denial, not seeing that our denial HAS NOT changed reality, we're quite convinced that we actually are guilty sinners who don't deserve love or forgiveness. And so we think we are working on or in or with this guilty "ego self", which has not only replaced our real self, but is the ONLY self left. In denial, we are not aware that our real self - our innocent self - still as God created it - is STILL THERE, still fully alive, still perfect, and has not changed whatsoever. That real self is right here with you now. That real self is already in heaven and never left, nor did it change anything in reality.

And so now we're in this strange position where we think we are only this evil self who can never go back to being holy, while all along our true self is perfectly undefiled and holy forever, existing in parallel to this false idea of ourselves. Your "higher self" therefore exists right NOW, even if your sense of identity is all caught up in denial and confusion and ego. This is why "enlightenment is but a recognition and no a change at all". It merely entails the willingness to be AWARE of what is ALREADY TRUE. And to reach that awareness, ALL layers of denial MUST be removed from the mind so that you CAN be aware of it.

To admit to being in denial, or even to admit to wanting to stay in denial - wanting to keep your denial - is still an admittance. It reveals a willingness to allow the truth to enter. Even if you say, "I admit I do not want to wake up", that is better than an unwillingness to even admit that. To admit, is to permit access. It means you are willing to let truth be said or expressed about whatever the situation is. And this truth then sets you free. Even if just a little bit. Even if you are just admitting to being in denial and that you don't want to do anything about it, admits more truth than to not even want to admit to that.

This therefore takes some willingness, and it takes honesty. It requires a willingness to be mistaken, without implying punishment. It requires you to get honest with yourself, to stop being in resistance or avoidance, and to LOOK AT what it is that you don't want to see. And looking at it with the truth, is looking at it with the Holy Spirit. He represents the state of mind in which there is no denial. Your willingness to dig out and offer up secret sins, hidden hates, grievances, and also ways that you don't want to admit or accept something, allows Him to shine away those lies and release you.

Now, in ACIM circles there are various forms of denial and blindspots and each person is different. I've seen the most denial circling around topics to do with the body not existing, and to do with the world not existing. These are two of the major sticking points because the ego denial has
built a fortress to protect belief in these two things, and believing you "are" a body or that there "is" a world are the two most fundamental "givens" in this world. The body is the hero of the dream, and the world is the dream itself. To question belief in either of these seriously pushes the ego buttons and seems to "threaten your establishments."

There is a lot of denial around these topics and a lot of refusal to accept them. Accepting that there is no world is one of the hardest things to do, because denial makes the world seem true, real, valuable and desirable. Denial that the world is a cruel place, for example, leads many to believe God created it. And with that kind of a conclusion, who would want to question God's reality? Yet we are still in denial until we are sure to have removed all denial. And we will be in denial that we are in denial, because we don't SEE that there is something unconscious to us that we believe does not even exist.

There are also good and bad forms of denial, or uses of denial. If denial is used to reject the real truth, that's not a good thing. If denial is used to reject lies, that IS a good thing. Or rather, if denial is used to reject the belief that denial is true, using the mind to ADMIT that the denial is there, or that it is FALSE, that is a worthy form of denial.

There are unworthy forms of denial, which usually entail either a direct 1st-hand rejection of what is real, OR a 2nd-hand rejection of the illusions that have arisen due to the first level of denial. For example it is denial to produce a body. The body was made to deny God and shut out sharing with the Sonship. This denial needs to be undone. But additionally, on a second level, while you are making a body, if you KEEP making it through denial, but then pretend in some way that it does not exist and try to "separate from" it, THAT is also an unworthy form of denial. Up to a point, "the body is merely a fact of human existence." But at some point, human existence (bodies) is also denial of Spirit. These denials are at different levels.

Jesus also tells us in ACIM that "the separation HAS happened." Many people DENY this, mainly due to confusion about "nothing happened" as the atonement principle. This is level confusion. We did have the tiny mad idea, and we did share it, and it did produce imaginary worlds of illusion. Jesus even says, that to deny this fact is an unworthy form of denial. But to "accept" that it has happened should only be done in order to quickly realize that atonement is the only meaningful "correction" for the separation, and that it should be done as soon as possible.

It is also possible to have denials on top of denials on top of denials. For example when you are in fear, you are pretending that you have good reason to be afraid of something outside you. But the fact is, the fear is a decoy to deny guilt. Fear is protecting you from guilt and deflecting attention away from it as the "reason" why you are afraid. Fear makes guilt unconscious and blocks the guilt. The only reason you are afraid is because you think you are guilty and want to punish yourself. But without awareness of that, in fear you'll look for causes of the fear externally. To undo fear you must remove the denial behind it, become MORE AWARE of what you denied, reveal the guilt, and fix the guilt. So you can see there are multiple layers of distortion surrounding the guilt, and even guilt itself is denial.

The ego only has one tool. "Deny what is." The one antidote is the atonement - "accept what is". But to accept what is, you have to first remove the denial, so that your awareness of "what is" increases. So this doesn't mean just accepting the world "as it is", because how you are perceiving it is NOT the fullness that's present. You are NOT seeing it for what's really there, and are not recognizing it as an illusion. Blocks have to be removed in your mind, so that you can SEE. By seeing accurately and fully, you have true perception, which shows you the truth about this world, that it is not real and doesn't exist. Without removal of denial you will try to accept it, but won't be able to recognize it or accept its unreality.

The ego used denial to hide God, by making sin. The ego used denial to hide and keep sin, by making fake guilt. The ego hid the guilt behind fake fear using more denial. The fear produces self punishment but by denying that you are doing so. And eventually death is denial even of punishment. At every step the ego is denying, denying, denying. Denying who you are, stripping away layers of what remains, until eventually there is nothing left to deny. In death there is TOTAL denial of the truth, and no-one who goes through death is in their right mind.

It all boils down to this simple dynamic. Either you accept the truth - God's truth as God established it, or you deny it. You have no other choice. And because denial does not change the truth, denial MUST be a lie, where you are PRETENDING that the truth is not true. So either you are pretending to be something you are not, or you are being your real authentic self - as created by God. It's your choice, whether to accept or deny. But no-one gets to define what the truth IS. Only God can do that. And being in denial DOES NOT redefine the truth, even though those in denial believe that this is precisely what they're achieving. This is the authority problem, which is nothing but denial and an unwillingness to be honest.

The freedom we have is one of accepting or rejecting, not establishing, but anyone in denial with an ego will be in the business of trying to establish what the truth IS, acting as a gatekeeper to have to "approve" or "disapprove" before anything is permitted into awareness. Only when we are willing to give up our attempt to be God, to make the truth, will we be willing to simply open up to ACCEPT and RECEIVE it. Accepting the atonement is like throwing up your hands and admitting, only the truth is true, and only God's will is possible, and only God's way will work. Nothing else works. The ego is a lie and death is failure. Nothing else is true. I might as well accept it and go with it. And this takes TOTAL SURRENDER.

Thankfully, the truth is on our side, and loves us and has created everything for us. A perfect home, the inheritance of eternity, immortality, absolute peace and total joy. Not too shabby an option to accept, when you realize you stand to gain everything and give up nothing by letting go of denial.

"No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth."

"Heaven is a choice I must make."

"A dream of death is not left by death but by truth."

"The truth shall set you free."

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