Recently, someone asked me what I meant by ‘Formlessness’ – It’s come up a lot in my ongoing pilgrimage.
I understand the Path of Formlessness as something that detaches from a particular fixation upon form. It does not negate the fact that spirit can move and work through matter, but that it can and does constantly shift its form of expression. Spiritual energy, Divinity, our connection with some sense of Cosmic Consciousness does not have to be held down and exclusively confined to material objects, ideas and practices – be it a statue, temple, ritual, religion, ideology or spiritual world-view.
Formlessness in other words, honors the various material expressions of Divinity but does not see the need to confine itself to one in particular. One can find the sacred in a blade of grass, a lone puppy wandering without food on the street, the smile of a friend, the glorious statue of a Goddess, an ancient temple, your reflection in the mirror – and more (or nothing at All).
I would however draw the line at claiming that material forms are somehow … lesser or impure. They are channels of expression, the canvas through which we see the movement of spirit. – in the same way that you can see the movement of the wind across the lake by observing changes at the water’s surface, or the presence of force by the changes it can exert on objects.
And that is where – for me – The Dark Goddess comes in. She teaches me to honor Her, and all Things in All Forms, and to detach from my preconceptions of what an expression or experience of Divinity must look and feel like. And at the end of the day, I know that that construct too will one day give rise to a perspective that transcends even that.
As She takes me through the different levels of consciousness, she ensures that I arrive at – time and again – in the space of Compassionate Detachment. Where I find Her, so too do I find the Compassionate Masculine.
When someone asks me what my spiritual path is — this is the answer I give them – I am a Daughter, Priestess and Embodiment of the Dark Goddess, on the Path of Formlessness. (And at some point, even that answer will dissolve).
Now, some people find the idea that they-you-we-me-everyone ’embodies divinity’ as problematic. Part of that comes from the elevated status that we ritually ascribe to The Sacred. But by going on the Path that allows you to realize your inner Divinity, you often lose any interest in any kind of pomp, ceremony, title, validation or any kind of special treatment for realizing it. You might still need some ritual forms and understandings to express your sacred energy, but there is … a detachment to that expression.
In other words – We are all expressions of Divine Energy. And when one begins to realize that at a deeper level, any idea of ‘grandeur’, or superiority on account of that Divinity flies out the window.
This reminds me of a line from one of my favourite films (Baba, 2002) where a disillusioned seeker meets Mahavatar Babaji – a great spiritual presence who is said to remain eternally young in the Himalayas – and asks him –
Are you God?
Mahaavatar replies. I am God. You are God. All things are God. The only difference between you and I is that I have realized that, whilst you haven’t.
This is the lesson that my pilgrimage has been.. teaching me at a cellular level. I’ve been visiting my favourite temples, and finding myself disillusioned with the physical trappings.. It’s a good kind of disillusionment. I’m still going to keep going with the pilgrimage, but it feels that the purpose has shifted.
Believe me when I say I’ve felt this overwhelming urge to simply give up all of that (the title, the path, the constructions, the explanations, the words) and sit somewhere and just be. I still have certain responsibilities and duties that I chose to fulfill, though I await the time where that complete surrender can happen.
It’s one thing to read about how we are all Divine and understand the philosophy behind it – and I assure you, it’s a very different thing when you begin to feel that in every fiber of your being. In some sense you crave disembodiment, what the ancients called ‘Jeeva Samadhi’, where the Soul returns back to the Elements and is at One. It remains alive in some form, but without the physical body to house that consciousness.
It’s a very different idea than dying, suicide, or anything of that sort. Attaining that state requires great discipline, unconditional love and absolute surrender – Of Everything. Even the Ego that would like to believe that you’re doing that already.
Being in the land of my ancestors, Tamil Nadu, I find myself less and less fixated upon defining myself in terms of any identity. Be it a national, ethnic, religious, spiritual, gendered, or in fact – any identity.
The interesting thing is that it doesn’t feel like I’m having an identity crisis, but am stripping away the various attachments I had to certain ideas, and a more … eternal sense of Self is beginning to show itself.
As the Soul begins to remember its origins, such definitions generally dissolve. For we have all cycled through various lifetimes of being men, women, different genders, of living in various cultures, of learning so much that it seems pointless to have a definition of the Self confined to the present lifetime.
At least that is where my journey is taking me. I expected to learn and feel something completely different on this trip, but I’m glad I’m being guided in the way that I am.
At some point, the external search simply comes to a halt.
Gattam Gattam; Mudinjithu Mudinjipotchi (What is done, is done – In Sanskrit and Tamil)
And one finds, that at the end of the day, you and your Beloved, you and your sense of Divinity have always been One and the Same.
And the next chapter begins.
Blessings to All,
Image: Bairavee with Bhairavi at Thanjavur Art Musuem (13/4) & Text and Linked Content © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015. All rights reserved.