There is a battle of two wolves inside each of us.
One is evil. It is anger, jealously, resentment, fear, insecurity, greed, lies, inferiority and ego.
The other is good. It is joy, peace, kindness, compassion, humility, truth, faith and love.
Which wolf will win? The one that you feed.
I have been sitting with this proverb a lot lately (thanks for reminding of this one nahko bear <3), and i think it is a beautiful story for us to consider. As with any words of wisdom, this tale has many layers to it, and the truth it illustrates can be applied to every aspect of our lives. Really in each moment we are choosing to either energize our feelings of joy, peace, compassion, and the like, or to focus on feelings anger, fear, inferiority, and evil. I like that word "evil", many people i know have a charge about it, or a resistance to it, but to me it shows very clearly that evil is what happens when we live backwards. Which is to say, evil is what happens when we harbor the belief that our inner world of thought and emotion is entirely dependent on our outer world of environment and perception. When we operate from this belief, our abilty to be happy is determined by how effectively we can shift and shape everything (and everyone) we encounter, to suit our desires. This is the kind of thinking that leads us to manipulate each other, and compulsively chase after pleasure and avoid pain. Thinking in this way, we can continually blame our unhappiness on any number of environmental conditions, from rainy weather, to unrequited love; from a traffic jam to losing a job. This approach to life absolves us of any responsibility for our own emotional well being and weakens the spirit immensely.
A lifetime is short, and it would be a shame to waste it on compulsion and judgment. Besides, it is far more enjoyable and satisfying to put our energy into the things we love, the aspects of life that make our hearts sing and dance. I know it can be tempting to let fear and uncertainty muddle the mind and bring uneasiness to the heart, western culture has steeped us in these conditions and seems to be fixated on reinforcing ideas of scarcity and competition. With this in mind, i feel called to share some of the ways i like to feed the good wolf ;)
1. Watch the way you breathe.
Breath is the basis of all life, and the most fundamental aspect of our own lives, physically, mentally, and emotionally. When we watch the way we are breathing, we can see how we are living, moment to moment. By paying attention to breath we are paying attention to life. If we breathe well, we live well. For every way of breathing there is a corresponding way of thinking, feeling and living. Calm and steady breath brings a calm mind, calm feeling, and calm way living. Conversely, shallow erratic breath brings a shallow erratic mind, feeling and way of living. So by taking more notice of our breath, we can more clearly understand who we are and who we are becoming. Baba Hariharanda always says "Breath control is self control. Breath mastery is self mastery." I would add that breath awareness is self awareness.
Breathing deeply and sweetly is the most powerful way to feed the good wolf.
2. Give thanks!!
The good wolf loves the taste of thankfulness! Cultivating an attitude of gratitude and appreciation has a profound effect on the way we think and feel. This is an especially easy practice to get into, because there is always so much to be thankful for! No matter what is happening in the world around us, we can always be thankful for our breath and the countless opportunities it offers. We can also give thanks for our imagination and its ability to dream up new potentials. And we can always feel deeper gratitude for the plants that are continually supporting us in this human experience...which brings us to the next delectable treat we can feed to the good wolf :D
3. Plant a garden!!!
Geoff Lawton says "All the worlds problems can be solved in a garden" and i wholeheartedly agree! Everything that we need to thrive on this planet comes either directly or indirectly from plants, so if we develop a loving relationship with plants, we will want for nothing. Helping plants to grow is easily one of the most rewarding practices we can put our energy into. Depending on the plants we choose, we can surround ourselves with beautiful flowers and fragrances, exotic fruits and nuts, or create native habitats for the indigenous wildlife (there are few things more magical than a garden buzzing with hummingbirds, butterflies and bees). If we cultivated the 27 million acres of lawn in this country we could feed everyone from gardens that grow within a short bike ride of where they sleep. Aside from the more practical aspects of gardening, it is simply magical to watch the process of a seed growing into a tree, and scattering seed balls makes me feel like a wizard *pOoF** beautiful flowers and thriving habitats everywhere i wave my hand!! :)
4. Take a walk in the woods.
The good wolf is a wild one, and loves to spend time in the forest. Even a short walk in a small patch of trees has a wonderful way of settling the heart and calming the nerves, even more so if there is a small creek or body of water to sit beside. Kick off your shoes, put your feet on the earth, and listen to the forest sounds. The whole forest knows you're there. It can feel your heart beating and taste the scent of your skin.
5. Eat something wild everyday!!
Anything we can do to empower our wildness feeds the good wolf. The old adage "you are what you eat" comes to mind. When we eat domesticated highly processed foods, we end up with a domesticated highly processed body. When we eat wild food, even its just a few dandelion leaves, we become more wild.
6. Watch the sunrise or sunset.
The sun is the source of all the life on this planet. It is wise, generous, and brilliant. Gazing into the soft light of sunrise and sunset is like giving the good wolf a bowl full of buffalo blood. The sunlight absorbed through the eyes invigorates every cell our bodies, and shifts our hearts into feelings of expansion and interconnection.
7. Sip some tea, very slowly.
There is an old zen saying "it is better to go a week without food, than even a single day without tea". There is much wisdom in this, especially considering the nourishing herbal tonics they call tea. I highly recommend daily consumption of tonic herbs like reishi, tulsi, and chaga, and highly nutritive herbs like, stinging nettle, dandelion, and burdock. These teas calm the mind and strengthen the body, making it that much easier to continue feeding the wolf of love, kindness, and compassion.
Both the good and bad wolf are with us everywhere, eagerly awaiting the next meal. Share your food wisely <3
...and keep on being the love family _()_