This is a concept I’ve long since held as truth close to my center, but I just recently found out there’s a term for it. The term is a Impeccable Formless Warrior and it comes from the writings of Carlos Castaneda.
Impeccable is generally defined as “Perfect, having no faults, flaws or errors; Incapable of wrongdoing or sin; immaculate.” That is a lofty goal, indeed, but we are all have our flaws and faults. We can, however, strive to be better than we are. We can be more impeccable today than we were yesterday. We can turn the other cheek when we know that is the right thing to do. We can let that criticism of our fellow man fade into the static of our minds when we know it will not be well received and would be an injurious truth.
That is the concept we should strive for. While I’m the first to say that I have not and likely will not always take the high road in all the decisions in life, I do make an effort to strive to be Impeccable. It’s important to be trustworthy both to yourself, your fellow man and your higher power so that when you’re called to stand tall before “The Man” you can meet him eye to eye and know that you’ve done your best.
Formless, now that’s an alien concept to most of us. Of course it means “without form” but in this context we’re talking about the human form, not in a physical sense, but in an emotional sense. We should all strive to be detached from the drama, cares and concerns around us as much as we are able so that in moments of crisis or stress we don’t get swept away in the current of the moment. We are anchored from that stress and free to take a step back in the middle of the storm and re-assess the situation. What is really happening? What are my real choices here? What would happen if I simply walked away or took no action?
So many times in life we look back in the rear view mirror and say to ourselves, “I wish I would have reacted this way or that” and had we not been caught up in the emotion of a decision we could have. Practicing a loving and compassionate sense of formlessness allows you to do that and keeps you out of those situations where you tell yourself you wish you would have had the clarity to react a certain way in a given situation.
You have to be careful though to not confuse being detached (formless) with being disassociated. To be disassociated means there is no connection. It’s imperative to see the line that connects all of us to everything. They key is in the values we place in those connections.
For example: Lets say I have a horrible IRS Debt. I choose this because I have had one and I know first hand how stressful it can be. I can allow myself to get caught up in the drama of how I’m going to pay off the debt and what’s going to happen if I don’t do it or can’t do it and I can put myself through the emotional wringer. Or, I can take a deep breath, step back and realize that while I do have to make a decision and ultimately will have to pay this I also recognize that on my deathbed this issue will make very little difference to me so it doesn’t place very high in my value system. That allows me to allow a certain degree of emotional distance so that I can calm down and think rationally.