The dance between form and formlessness

You and I are playing with this deliciously delicate process.

If you push too hard to get free of what you’ve been trapped in, that very pushing entraps you. The avoidance of stuff becomes a trap. People would say, “I’ve gotta live in the country. I can’t stand the city. It brings me down.” They’re like, crippled by the concept. You might choose to live somewhere, but it could be just as lovely living somewhere else. The moment is the moment.

I presented a functional model for practice, for conceiving of what the spiritual journey is all about: What we have when we look at the whole story of lifetime, of incarnation, is awareness that has manifest in mysterious ways, as a multiplicity of entities, which we now call souls. Each has their own unique karmic story line, and those souls then take incarnation somewhere or other when it’s appropriate to work out whatever they’re working out.

To the extent that we are egos, we are somebodies. We come down and we become a somebody. As that awareness starts to identify as a soul, it immediately feels separate from our mother and everything else. Then we begin to experience another separation, now as ego.

So it’s a separation within a separation, if you will. That’s the descent into more and more dense form, and that form is what we live out as an incarnation. Somewhere along the line in that story, we awaken. We begin to realize we are not only the incarnation, that there is more to us than meets the eyes, and we begin to realize that the more that we think we are, we are. That leads us to re-look at our experiences and to open to new experiences that allow us to enter into other planes of consciousness, other perspectives, other ways of looking at it.

That awakening starts and at first, because you have been in such a thick substance, you’ve been so very entrapped in your story, in your body, in your suffering, that when you awaken there is a joy, a breath… it’s like coming above smog when you fly. But there is also a kind of fear of getting trapped again, and a tendency to push against the stuff you were trapped in. You can use that like a rocket booster to get you out there.

Ultimately though, as you get established more as a soul, more established as just awareness, which isn’t even you anymore, as those become more real, and you become more comfortable in them, you look and you see that the incarnation that you have taken wasn’t an error and it wasn’t failure, and you’re not making mistakes. It is just an unfolding process.

And it’s nothing so personal about it all. Your personality isn’t that interesting. At that point you start to, from a soul’s point of view, inhabit your incarnation, at first resignedly, and then ultimately joyfully, because it’s just God at play. It’s just form, it’s just form.

So you went from descent into form initially. Then you awaken, and awaken and your awareness is going into more and more until your awareness is nothing other than awareness. That’s the ascent. Then there’s the next stage where the ascent starts to finally stop pushing against the more dense forms and enters into them, and then there is the descent.

Then you see the whole process is constantly the ascent and descent, and it’s all just a liquid process in which both are going on all the time. You’re constantly bringing spirit down into form, and you’re constantly, as a form, moving towards spirit, or the formless. It’s the dance of form and formless. It just keeps moving back and forth in those things, and you begin to experience your life as that, as moving in and out of all these planes all the time.

-Ram Dass

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