There is a story, usually attributed to the
Native American tradition, which illuminates different ways of paying attention. An elder,
talking to a child, says, “I have 2 wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is fearful,
vengeful, envious, resentful, and deceitful. The other wolf is compassionate, loving, generous,
truthful and peaceful.” The child asks, “ Which wolf will win the
fight?” The elder responds, “The one I feed.”
Which wolf living in our hearts do we learn to not support, so that they don’t rule
us? That doesn’t mean we try to deny, or hurt or kill the angry wolf. If we did that,
we’d end up in a long battle, all the while somehow making that wolf more powerful through
our hostility and fear. Hating that wolf sucks the strength right out of us. Instead, we
calmly pay attention to the angry wolf, and let go of believing they have the answers.
If we can do that, they end up lying down next to us, no longer an enemy.
Which wolf living in our hearts do we feed and help grow? We pay attention to and feed
the kind and loving wolf so it can feel safe in our hearts, and can direct our choices.
We help strengthen the kind and loving wolf, giving it nourishment and support, so that
it can lead us onwards, so that we can follow it. That peaceful wolf can become our steady
companion, and show us the way through all kinds of different life experiences…. Restful
or chaotic, enjoyable or disappointing experiences may come and go, but we can have a guide with
us through it all. This is what mindfulness can help you do.
Mindfulness allows us to see our thoughts and feelings as they are beginning, not after
we have gotten overwhelmed or have made a It’s very powerful to know what we’re
feeling as we’re feeling it. Know what we’re thinking as we’re thinking it.
With mindfulness we can choose what will strengthen and bring into action with some spaciousness, so that we are empowered:
we can choose what we’ll strengthen and bring into action, and we can choose what
we will gently let go of. We
don’t have to be at the mercy of old habits or old ways of thinking, or old ways of being. We are empowered.
It just takes practice.