REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from Natural Awakenings, p. 25

Human consciousness is a marvelous thing. It is more flexible than a yogi. For example: You are in a lecture that is definitely not going anywhere. You could be bored out of your mind, but lo and behold, your mind takes a little trip elsewhere and, before you know it, the stupid lecture is over. You walk out feeling not quite so bad about the lost time as you might have.

Or, something painful just happened. Pick one-you got burned, a heavy object fell on your foot, your vegetable knife just pierced your skin. But, at that very moment, you see your toddler falling off a chair and you rush to the rescue. Five hours later, after the emergency doctor visit and the stitches for your baby, you notice your burn, crushed foot or whatever.

Your Consciousness Knew What Was Most Important To Focus On

You see, our minds are really very smart, much smarter than we realize. We can compartmentalize our conscious focus, as is the case in the above scenario or we can turn it completely off as was the case with the opening example. Why were we created that way? Well, if you think about it, that makes our consciousness supremely efficient. We don’t need to clutter it up with irrelevant things and we don’t need to use it at all when it needs a break!

So where does denial come in? What looks like denial may really only be our consciousness not focusing on pain. Now, that makes sense, doesn’t it? If we were steeped in all the pain of our lives, we absolutely could not go on. Someone did a study on people who live to a really old age and they found that these people are particularly optimistic and resilient. They don’t let pain get them down.

See, the interesting thing about conscious focus is that it actually directs our feelings. For example, think of an unhappy period in your life. If you really focus on getting into that memory, it will literally change your mood-for the worse.

So the question is: Are you simply not focusing on a painful thing because dwelling on it will make you needlessly unhappy? If there is nothing you can do about the problem, that is healthy and it is not denial. Or, are you not focusing on it because the pain overwhelms you and you just don’t know what to do? That may be denial. Because if you could work on the problem and aren’t, that’s not healthy or good for you.

Deciding whether you are in denial is all about the possibilities. If change is really impossible, you’re not in denial. If change is possible but would take a lot of work on your part, then maybe you are.

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