Two Wolves. . .
“All sentient beings developed through natural selection in such a way that pleasant sensations serve as their guide, and especially the pleasure derived from sociability and from loving our families.“ – Charles Darwin
I once heard a teaching story in which an elder, a grandmother, was asked how she had become so wise, so happy, and so respected. She answered: “In my heart, there are two wolves: a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day.”
This story always gives me a little shiver. It’s both humbling and hopeful. First, the wolf of love is very popular, but who among us does not also harbor a wolf of hate? We can hear its snarling both far away in distant wars and close to home in our own anger and aggression, even toward people we love. Second, the story suggests that we each have the ability—grounded in daily actions—to encourage and strengthen empathy, compassion, and kindness while also restraining and reducing ill will, disdain, and aggression.
Although the wolf of hate gets more headlines, the wolf of love has been painstakingly bred by evolution to be more powerful and more central to your deepest nature. In the long march of humanity to today it has been our ability to relate, love and nourish not only our own needs but the needs of others as a whole to move us all forward.
So know your wolves and train them well. Life is about so much more than two wolves and sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
Peace and Love, Jim