the two wolves: how to feed your loving heart
There is an old Native American wisdom story. A Cherokee Grandfather is talking to his grandson, telling him that he has two wolves in his backyard. The grandson says “wow grandfather, what are they doing?” and the Grandfather says “fighting-one is the wolf of love, the other is the wolf of hate”. The boy then asks the grandfather “which one is going to win?” the grandfather simply replies “the one I feed”
How often have we fed the wolf of hate inside us? This is the wolf that appears to actively-and often savagely- dislike and hates what it might start perceiving as all the injustices and issues and immoral acts in the world, but we as feed it grows into a raft of elaborate defences. We begin to identify with this wolf, we who hate become hatred itself. In turn, since we find dislikeable (sometimes hateful) aspects of ourselves-anger, jealously, greed, resentment, ego- we create a situation where we have to suppress, repress or deny aspects of ourselves, projecting those hateful aspects on to the world. This starts in a very small way, but before very long those rickety little roads in the human brain have turned into huge neurohighways. The very thing we wanted to rid ourselves of we fed.
What of the wolf of love? At its heart there is welcome and acceptance; it knows that nothing will change with resistance (the phase “what you resit, persist” rings true here) so this is the part of us that meets our experience to the fullest, allowing it to be exactly the way it is, in turn allowing quite disparate parts of ourselves to soothe and integrate. The wolf of love does not suppress or repress but says “welcome” to the world with great compassion for self and other. Those aspects of ourselves that are scared or scary, lonely, anxious or sad and depressed, fragile or denied it meets with tenderness and love, encouraging the layers of our suffering and pain to subside, greeting our inner and outer worlds in a tender embrace, teaching us we can learn to accept and love our messy and broken selves.