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adenialI was thinking yesterday how easy it is from here in our lovely, peace-filled location in rural Upstate New York to ignore all the turmoil in the world and in our country. If I don’t wish to allow the distress into my consciousness, I can just avoid watching or listening to or reading the news and go about my days in isolation. While I know that is not a valid choice for me, it is occasionally a temptation. I was reminded this morning of my need to be awake and aware by a page from Meg Wheatley’s book, Perseverance, that I will quote below in its entirety as a call to all of us to resist the pull of inertia in favor of responsible engagement in whatever way we are able to contribute to raising the level of light in the world. (This includes a willingness to discriminate between “fake news” and truth.) The page is entitled Non-Denial. It is not a message to be read quickly and dismissed. I would recommend reading it, as I plan to, several times, and seeking examples from our own life of applications for the message.

Looking reality in the eye is an interesting experience. Often, people are startled to realize how much information they have been avoiding, and how much information is out there, waiting to be useful.

“Facts are friendly,” a psychologist once said, but most of us don’t see it this way. We move away from all the information that’s available, we retreat into denial. It’s the way we keep our world intact and avoid being challenged or threatened. If we can just hold onto our opinions and views, the world will continue to work just fine, thank you very much.

We get led into the practice of non-denial by failure and defeat. When we have no choice, we seem to get curious. When our back is against the wall, finally we’re willing to look at all the messages we had avoided. This isn’t a graceful process. But when we’re ready to open to the signals, guidance, and information that have been swirling around us, ignored and unnoticed, it’s amazing what we learn.

And it’s remarkable what capacities we develop. Absorbing these messages, we suddenly see things differently. We discover solutions not available from our former position. We experience surprise, sometimes delight, sometimes despair that we didn’t notice things earlier. But the end result is that we become more open, more engaged, and more intelligent.

We learn where we are. From here much more is possible.