My teachers Sharon-ji and David-ji live at a place they call Jivamukti Wild Woodstock Ashram, where the land is largely untouched and where the wild is left to remain as it is so that animals could thrive in their natural environment. David-ji told us that one time, a father and son were in their private property in matching camouflage outfits, carrying guns, and were there to hunt. In the way he told us this story, he did not express anger. It was almost comical, like a sketch, that this father and son tandem would dress up and play pretend games.
The focus of the month is forgetting and remembering. We have forgotten our true nature, and like the father and son in matching outfits, we take on roles. If we remember that this is all a game of false identity, perhaps it will be easier to hold others and ourselves in the light of compassion. When others do hurtful things, it is because they are still wearing their costumes, pretending to be hunters on the prowl. When we make mistakes or are lost or are struggling, it is because we are still attached to our costumes. And who could blame us? We are just having fun playing this game of pretend. There'a a certain amusement and entertainment to it.
What game of pretend do we play? What armor do we put up? What identity do we attach ourselves to? Can we see that this game and this armor and this identity are limiting, that they are most certainly not a complete picture of who we are? Can we forget about being victims of our hurts and pains and remember that who we truly are can emerge from this imperfect human experience? Can this life be a practice of donning our costumes, because we would realize sooner or later that who we are is far more interesting than any costume we could wear?