My friend Andrew told me that I seem to take on an avatar state (in reference to Avatar: The Last Airbender) the moment I sit in front of a yoga class to teach. We laughed about it because I knew what he meant. He sees me as a friend first before he sees me in my role as a yoga teacher. He has known me for years and so he knows my former self and all that I still am with my angry, judgmental, and impatient tendencies.
And yet, that so-called avatar state or the state of enlightenment is our natural state. It is who we are that we have forgotten. We say we are putting our best foot forward when we are kind and patient and forgiving and compassionate, but is that not who we really are? Is that not who we aspire to be? Think of it this way. When we are angry, our heart races; when we are afraid, we feel butterflies in our stomach; when we are impatient, our chest tightens. And when we are forgiving and courageous and patient, we feel calm and relaxed and at ease with ourselves. Which feels like a natural state?
We are hesitant to take on the "role" of the enlightened one, because we think it is a "role" to fill. It is not. It is our illusion of our smallness and insecurity that is the role. We have it all backwards. So what if we make mistakes or fall short of all that we could be? We have merely forgotten. That is all. The path towards remembering who we are has room to explore who we are not. It is trial and error, the same way that we may go through the alphabet in our mind when trying to remember a forgotten name.
You are the avatar. You are the enlightened one. You are the liberated soul. You are the jivan mukta waiting to awaken from this dream of maya.