The Mind Tries to Avoid Coming Out of Denial

peacock coming out of denial

If this peacock does The Work, it’s probably going to find that it really is quite cocky. It’s not just that the other peacocks are off. He’s as prideful as the lot of them.

The Work Doesn’t Lie

So if you want to stay safe, don’t do The Work of Byron Katie. But if staying safe isn’t working for you, I invite you to question what you believe. Just be prepared.

This work is not for the faint of heart. It is as gentle as gentle can be. That’s why I love The Work. I don’t know of a gentler way to see the hard truths about myself. But in the end, I’m still looking square at myself in the mirror. And mirrors don’t lie.

The Mind Will Try to Avoid This

And it has many tactics to keep the truth at bay: it may simply deny it, it may go into a renewed attack on the other person, it may tell a distracting story, it may stop doing The Work and go get something to eat, check Facebook, etc.

When faced with the truth, the mind can get very uncomfortable. It may cause the body to shake, or nausea to happen.

Another big way that the mind tries to avoid the truth is to attack itself. It cleverly steps out of itself, becomes a traitor to itself, and joins the “other side” in attacking itself (all to stay “safe.”)

This Happened with a Client Recently

While questioning what she wrote on her Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, she saw how demanding she was. She saw it in the situation she was looking at, and as a trend throughout her life. It was a clear view in the mirror.

It shook her. She felt nauseated. And immediately the mind began to wriggle its way out of this uncomfortable feeling. She began to attack herself. It’s funny how the mind often chooses self-attack over standing in the truth.

She spoke out her self-attack and defensive thoughts:

I’ve humiliated myself.
I’m so stupid.
I’m making problems.
I’ve been so arrogant.
Everyone hates me.
I made too big of a mess to be cleaned up.
Nobody cares.
They just want to see me gone.
It hurts.
I can’t bear this.
I wasted so much time.
I hurt everybody.
I can’t admit to that.
I’ll get obliterated.

These thoughts could all be questioned. They are the distractions the mind puts up when it doesn’t want to fully sit in the truth, in this case, “I am demanding.” Just knowing that these are the mind’s distractions helps a lot. Questioning them can also help.

The Mind Is Coming Out of Denial

I remember when I fully believed I was a nice guy. Now I know it’s not true. But coming out of denial was scary at first. And my mind did everything to avoid it. But when I could see and fully own the fact that I can be mean, I was free.

Free because I no longer had to pretend.

I didn’t have to keep up appearances of being a nice guy, and covering up when I wasn’t so nice. I didn’t have to cover up by blaming others when I was really at fault. That is the value of standing in the truth. It sets you free.

But you have to really stand in it. A quick peek at the truth is helpful, but there’s no substitute for fully coming out of denial and owning it. That’s what The Work points to over and over in the gentlest of ways.

There’s No Way Around It

The truth must be owned if freedom is to be gained. It takes courage. But it also takes awareness of how the mind tries to dodge the truth.

When you’re aware of what the mind is doing, you can be gentle with it, yet not be fooled by it. Maybe you question the self-attack thoughts. Or maybe you see through them the way you can see through the manipulations and tantrums of a child, and gently guide it back.

If peace is what you want, coming out of denial is medicine.

Join us for my eight-week online course, The Work 101, starting in January. We’ll be uncovering a lot of beautiful, scary, freeing truths as we do The Work together.

Have a great week,

“The Buddha says that even one glimpse of the truth is worthy of our deepest respect. The basic realization that other people can’t possibly be your problem, that it’s your thoughts about them that are the problem— this realization is huge. This one insight will shake your whole world, from top to bottom. And then, when you question your specific thoughts about mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, boss, colleague, child, you watch your identity unravel. Losing the “you” that you thought you were isn’t a scary thing. It’s thrilling. It’s fascinating. Who are you really, behind all the façades?” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself