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 husbands* 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.
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 warriorship**, 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.
[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.]
* 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. ;)
** I believe warriorship in this context means someone who is brave, not someone who harms people.
- 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?