Asking this question of myself, my immediate and heartfelt answer was, “OMG I hope not.”
This line of thinking began one day after a series of events triggered the desire to be somewhere and someone else. They were little things. I am sure you have experienced them.
Feeling a bit stiff and sore, catching myself in the mirror without prearranging my face (don’t laugh, you do it too), one too many people proudly sharing their illness (okay, one person can be too many), and an extra high (blast the winter) electric bill.
Asking the question snapped me out of being stuck-in-human long enough to explore the idea of avatar; the definition I am using is this: “an icon or figure representing a particular person in computer games, Internet forums, etc.”
Using an avatar on the computer, or in a video game, we can decide what the avatar looks like, and how it behaves. We get to design it, we get to control it, and we get to play with it, but we never, ever, think or behave, as if we are that avatar.
We know we are outside of the game, and that we can turn it off, or walk away from it, at any time.
Not so, in this game we call human. We forget that we are outside of the game. We forget that we don’t have to fix the game, or stay in it. We forget that we are much more than what appears as a material object.
We don’t have to imagine a computer game to understand this analogy. What about the avatars we use when playing chess, or the avatars we use to play monopoly, or the avatars called marbles we use to play Chinese checkers (look it up if you are too young to have played it.)
Never do we think that we are those pawns that we move in a game; but we do think we are the pawns that are moving in the game of life.
When we rise out of the belief of being an avatar, we leave behind programed beliefs—those that we have accepted as part of our design, and those that the worldview (the game board) has set as the rules.
We discover that no matter what happens to our avatar, it has not touched who we are in Reality.
Do we take care of the avatar that represents us? Of course. We take care of our cars, our homes, our pets, our gardens, so why not our avatar. The difference is, as much as we may love our cars, home, gardens, and pets we do not see them as the full representation of our being.
I traveled recently and spent more time than usual waiting for my flights. I like traveling, and even waiting in airports, because it always feels as if I have stepped out of time. I have stepped out of people seeing me as they believe me to be because they know me, because no one does at the airport. Time zones have changed. Everyone is coming, going, or waiting, and life is not moving at the same speed as it does at work or home.
This time, I watched avatars instead of people. I thought about how each one of them represented a non-local entity that is the action and expression of what we often call God. A little girl with blond tiny pigtails, glasses, and sneakers that lit up, was jumping, laughing, playing, and expressing joy and life. She was a delight to watch, and yet that was not the “real” person, her avatar represented so much more.
Although I know we are not our avatar, it is hard to comprehend all that it means. Mostly I have to imagine. Perhaps you will imagine along with me.
Imagine knowing that we are not contained within an avatar called a human body. This means we don’t need to quibble over who owns what, who has more, who has less, who is more beautiful, who is sick, who is healthy, who has power; because all that is no more important than who has the highest score in a video game. Live, die, prosper, struggle, it’s all in the story of the game, but not a part of Life.
Imagine that we are non-local. Imagine that instead of fighting the human condition, and all the trials and tribulations that come with it, we use them as reminders to rise above the game, and live as our true nature.
Imagine that you are not your avatar, because we are not, and absolutely everything will begin to change for the good; and that is both a relief and a blessing!