is underestimated as a state of being. Denial is an ever present and even splendid thing when seen in the light of its merciful and elemental powers to cradle and hold an identity until it is ready to move on. Faced with the depth of loss and disappearance in the average life, a measure of denial is creative, necessary and self-compassionate: children are not meant to know they are one day to die and older adults are not meant to tell them. Refusing to face what we are not yet ripe and ready to face can help us to live in the present. Denial fully experienced, also enables us to understand the full measure of our reluctance thus becoming a way of both paying attention to and appreciating what is asking to be seen. Denial is a beautiful transitional state every human being inhabits before they are emancipated into the next larger context and orphaned, often against their will, from an old and very familiar home.

Denial is ever present and unavoidable in a human life, even in the most accomplished guru; even in the Dalai Lama; it is a necessary dynamic so that the overpowering elements of a waiting, terrifying, universe can be held for now, over the horizon; denial belongs to us all. Denial can be a prison if inhabited in too concrete and unmoving a way, but denial is also a necessary stepping-stone and a compassionate foundation for viewing those unable to take the next courageous step. Denial can be a beautiful skin shed, left to be seen, or even to beautify and beatify others as they follow, wearing our former clothes. To understand the true nature of our reluctance through observing and then inhabiting our denial is to see directly into the soul’s wish to participate.

All of us live with temporary names and temporary stories which allow us to breathe the air of the present while looking into the eyes of enormous powers that make up our immediate horizon of understanding. Denial comes to a natural end through the force of attention and intentionality to this horizon; much better to pay attention to what beckons than to try to look at what by definition, we are not ready to look at. To live in denial is to be in very good company. Denial is the crossroads between perception and readiness, to deny denial is to invite powers into our lives we have not yet readied our selves to meet.
Laraine Esposito 
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