■ Nurturing yourself
■ Nurturing positive values
■ Finding resolutions for inner conflict
A grandfather sat down on a rock in the sunshine beside a babbling stream with his grandson. "Tell me a story," asked the grandson.
"This is a story about two wolves," said the grandfather. "As we grow up it sometimes feels like there are two wolves inside us struggling to take control. You might imagine the first wolf with soft gray hair, a kindly look in its eyes, and maybe even a gentle smile on its mouth. It is a wolf that hardly ever bares its teeth and is willing to stand back to let the little ones feed. We might call this the wolf of peace, love, and kindness, for the wolf thinks that, if we all live peacefully with each other, every animal and every human will be a lot happier.
"For this wolf, love is what matters more than anything else. You see, it knows that without love our world of animals and humans would cease to exist. It is because a mother loves her baby that she cares for it, feeds it, clothes it, shelters it, and protects it from danger. We arrive in the world as an act of love and we grow through the love that parents show us. We long to be loved and our lives are nurtured and enriched when we love and are loved in return.
"The wolf, too, seems to know that kindness is part of that love. When we are kind to others they are likely—though not always—to show kindness back to us. Smile at someone and there is a good chance they will smile back. Go out of your way to be helpful and the one you help is more likely to help you when you need it. Wolves are a bit like humans and live in groups. They mix with each other and, generally, feel better when they are mixing in a warm, harmonious way.
"But," continued the grandfather, "let's imagine that there is another wolf in the pack who doesn't think the same way. This wolf has a really mean, nasty face. It pulls back its lips at times to bare its teeth threateningly toward other animals. When it does they usually feel fear rather than love and respect, for this is the wolf of fear, greed, and hatred. Maybe it is frightened or afraid, and that's why it's always on guard. Unfortunately, it hasn't learned that by being so angry or aggressive to others, by thinking of who or what it hates rather than who or what it loves, it builds a lot of bad feelings in itselfand among the other wolves. This wolfis out for number one, whereas the wolfofpeace, love, and kindness is looking out for others' happiness and well-being as well as its own.
"As you can imagine, two such wolves in a pack might be in a struggle to see which one gets its way. The wolf of peace, love, and kindness wants to share those values with everyone, but the wolf of fear, greed, and hatred cares only for itself. It feels bad in itself and leaves the others around it feeling bad.
"Let us continue to imagine," said the grandfather, "that two such wolves are in a struggle inside you."
The little boy looked up at his grandfather, wide-eyed. "Which one will win?" he asked eagerly.
The grandfather looked down, kindness in his eyes, softness in his voice, and answered, "Whichever one you feed."
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