I just returned from 5 days of family camp with my two sons at Coyote Tracks a camp run by the Children of the Earth Foundation. It is a camp where you learn survival skills and nature awareness. In past years there I have learned how to camouflage myself and disappear in the woods, to fox walk silently, to use wide angle vision to meld in to the natural world so the animals don’t sense me as an intruder, what plants are edible and how to make a fire. This past week I watched my son and a group of people get camo-ed up. Their first step was rolling in the cold ash powder from the dry fire pit, so large blotches of the powdery ashes covered the body, then they took soft clay mud and painted designs on their bodies. Then they took a fern leaf and used it like a paint brush, for highlighting with a yellow clay, and as a finishing touch they tucked in a small leaf covered twig behind the ear, in the pocket or elsewhere for effect. When they were done they were in full camouflage, their skin and who they were was hidden from normal sight.
The thing is- most of us are like these kids in full camo. We walk around covered and hiding who we are in the truest, deepest sense. What covers us? Our thoughts about who we are, our ideas and limitation about what is possible relative to both our strengths and our weaknesses, our past patterns of behavior and our ideas about the world and how it works. And too our judgments about who and what everyone and everything else is. Our confidence in the solidity of these limiting ideas holds us stuck in camouflage masquerading as “just human”- and we don’t even realize it!
Well, it is time to get clean! To remove, let go, surrender the layers we all wear to disguise our true selves! The divine essence, the Christ within is who we really are, and what lies underneath all the layers of protection we have amassed over time. It is time for us to dive into the lake like the kids did when they let the mud, clay, twigs and plants wash off. It took some scrubbing for them to get the ashes and all the dirt off. In some places they needed help because they couldn’t reach the dirt themselves. We too may need help with this process of allowing the Christ within to shine forth. So what is required to remove the camouflage? It is different for each of us, and certainly willingness is a part of it. For me the work of Craig Hamilton and the Integral Enlightenment introductory class called “moving beyond ego the step that makes all the difference” began an ongoing process of aligning to a higher purpose and discovering what my own particular protection patterns are. Many spiritual teachers impose disciplines and practices that are designed to increase our spiritual energy and peel off our layers of protection. They help us expose our true Self or our Christ self so that it may express itself through the life we live- so that we may truly LIVE!.