Aloneness and ruling your world – Chögyam Trungpa

Don Draper

AMC’s Don Draper – hot and a “dream date” according to some female friends of mine.

Are you ruling your world?

If you’re like me, you get bored sometimes, or lonely.  If we’re well-off, we might like to find the perfect app for our new iPad, the one that makes us feel powerful, alive, connected to everything good.  If we’re a bachelorette, we might like to find the understated accessory to wear on Saturday night, the one that will snare the real-life Don Draper we encounter while out on the town with friends. Or if we’re less well off, we’d like to find a good movie to watch at the end of the week.

But we might ask ourselves… have apps, accessories, or encounters with emotionally-distant cheating husbands1 brought us the satisfaction we crave?

Without getting too fancy, hopefully, and with nothing against apps or Mad Men, here’s a different description of what it might look like to rule our world, from a man named Chögyam Trungpa who died 25 years ago this week (April 4th, 1987):

When you walk into this world of reality, you will find a way to rule your world — but, at the same time, you will also find a deep sense of aloneness.  It is possible that this world could become a palace or a kingdom to you, but as its king or queen, you will be a monarch with a broken heart.  It is not a bad thing to be, by any means.  In fact, it is the way to be a decent human being — and beyond that a glorious human being who can help others.

Tunitas Beach

Tunitas Beach, where Adi Da once lived in California, had a very stark, alone, “retreat” feeling when I visited there. (Photo by benloudman; some rights reserved.)

This kind of aloneness is painful, but at the same time, it is beautiful and real.  Out of such painful sadness, a longing and a willingness to work with others will come naturally. You realize that you are unique.  You see that there is something good about being you as yourself.  Because you care for yourself, you begin to care for others who have nurtured your existence or have made their own journey of warriorship2, paving the way for you to travel this path.  Therefore, you feel dedication and devotion to the lineage of warriors, brave people, whoever they have been, who have made the same journey.  And at the same time, you begin to care for all those who have yet to take this path.3


  • What does he mean when he says “it is beautiful and real”?
  • There is a saying that unless we begin to come to terms with the inherent aloneness of our existence, we’ll never really experience intimacy with another human being.  What do you think?
  • What ideas about “ruling one’s world” have you gotten from TV and popular culture, and how do they compare to the quote above, in terms of style, application, usefulness?
  • Can aloneness and intimacy go together, like a wine pairing?
  • Is there a price we pay when we flee from loneliness?  Have any of your friends rushed headlong into the arms of Mr. or Ms. Wrong, a false cult leader, or wasted countless hours in pointless distractions, because of a fear of aloneness?
  • Who are the people who have nurtured your existence, or inspired you to be a warrior of the truth?

Best regards,
BoT Student

  1. Of course we men fantasize about unrealistic creatures at least as much as women do. I just wanted an image of Don here as a marketing trick.  ;)
  2. I believe warriorship in this context means someone who is brave, not someone who harms people.
  3. Excerpted from Shambhala:  The Sacred Path of the Warrior, by Chögyam Trungpa (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1988).  As included in The Basket of Tolerance by Adi Da Samraj.
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6 comments · now closed

  1. kay witt   Thumb up +3

    Hi, I’m glad you’re back. It’s taken me almost this long to read The Mysteries of the Bridechamber….twice. Great book!
    I really enjoy these Basket of Tolerance postings.

  2. Denise Hobbes   Thumb up +3

    Delighted you are back- I have missed the BOT Quote of the Day.

  3. Mr. Wide   Thumb up +4

    Fantastic blog today! Loved it.

    My experience has shown me that Aloneness is both an ordeal-reality-practice and a wound of unique beauty inspiring service to others, maturity and love. The pain part is that we are all actually alone–in our minds, and even while making love or holding hands or touching, alone in our bodies. And we all die alone no matter who is around us. The ecstasy part is that we are, while alone, also always connected to the the living nature of all existence everywhere around us. With our friends, our environment. Our feeling nature and our breath connect us to all of this mysterious arising, and we feel whole, instead of just being in our heads or even our genitals. The warrior is one who accepts his Aloneness, and in sympathy with others, serves to love them, only.

    Aloneness often seems paradoxical–which it is–but ultimately, it is profound beyond any meaning at all. Indeed it is the “doorway” you Stand in as you Realize the Ultimate Condition of Conditions, the Prior Heart, timeless, thoughtless, needless, which is Conscious Light Itself. In Adi Da’s “The Mummery Book” the Author emphasizes the Aloneness descriptions just before the main character Raymond Darling, “drops the egg” of separative egoic existence once and for all and Realizes his Ultimate Divine Self-Nature. Even then, as there is no more “you” or “other,” there is only a state that is perfectly Alone, yet mysteriously arising as all and all and all, completely non-separate and transcendentally only “experiencing Itself” as pleasure and love-bliss, living light: the very Being of True God, or Reality.

  4. Rick   Thumb up +3

    I like your BOT creations bro,but mainly what Kay says about them.

  5. Wow, thank you for the comments. And I really enjoyed Mr. Wide’s remarks about The Mummery Book… reminded me of something I had forgotten, and helped tie things together for me. It’s amazing how powerful it can feel to discuss these things with a group of people.

  6. Gene   Thumb up +3

    Excellent post.

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