Denial is an interesting trait nearly everyone has to one degree or another. Basically it is a refusing to acknowledge something that is present. It could be a condition, a fact, or any other reality. Why do we do this?
What the denial pattern is really doing is trying to pretend the situation or circumstance is not there. Denial is a natural ego defense mechanism that is trying to protect you from pain in any form, and yet it really can’t.
It is kind of like pretending that everything is all right while ignoring something thought to be unpleasant or unfortunate. Denial is not always about something outside of us like a tragedy or unfortunate circumstance, it can also be in regard to a fear, anger or any other negative emotion or reaction.
Your mind equates denial with refuting which would say something is definitely not true and therefore you do not need to accept it.
Denial is actually the ego’s version of refuting. Refuting is a good process because it declares your truth and acknowledges your true self which is already in an enlightened state and therefore does not attach to or identify with negative traits. Refuting is acknowledging what is deeply true while denial is ignoring or refusing to acknowledge a truth. The reason refuting works is because it is a form of dis-identification which enables you to subsequently surrender and release the causes of pain and suffering.
In our spiritual practice refuting is a useful tool because it declares what we believe and know to be true about our essential core nature which is complete goodness. For instance, if you are feeling fear or discouragement you can acknowledge the sensation and then declare, that you know that is not emanating from your soul or core truth and therefore it is not who you truly are, but rather an ego reaction and an overlay on your consciousness that is fooling you into thinking it is you.
Why is this distinction important? Because it is quite difficult to release something if you believe it is intrinsically who you are or part of you, but if you acknowledge and declare it is not you, your dis-identification begins to dislodge it and distance it from you and it is much easier to let it go and dissolve it. This is fundamentally important to becoming totally clear of all issues and obstacles, and that is an important part of the journey to mastery and enlightenment.