A few days ago I read in a book about a Cherokee elder who was talking to his grandson; he was telling him a story about two wolves. ” You know, son, we in this human experience have a battle inside of us. It is like having two wolves. One has the quality of seeing beauty and love all around, can experience kindness, generosity of the heart and forgiveness, connects with joy and fun and knows how to play fully in life. He can let go and move forward in the present moment.
The other one lives constricted by ideas and beliefs, he feels lonely and experiences only pain, he doesn’t trust, judges things and people and blames the outside world for all these emotions he or she has, and he is overwhelmed by life experience.
After a while the son came back to him and asked “so which of the wolves wins this battle?” and the grandfather said:
“The one that we feed the most, son.”
They shared a moment of silence and continued with their daily tasks.
When I read this little but profound story, I was touched. Sometimes you just read the right story or you just come across inspiration and universal creativity at the right moment. Maybe at another time I wouldn’t have been moved the way I was.
So I stayed quiet in a silent sensing with this story, enquiring a little more about what the Cherokee man really wanted to share with his grandson beyond the external interpretation of the story of the two wolves.
I took the story as if it was a koan, a Zen meditative enquiry to connect with the more, or the unknown within me, and in a way I was on a journey to connect through time and space to that time when the Cherokee man was sharing this story with his grandson. A story which is still resonating and heard in this moment, travelling through time, so much alive and still wanting to be heard deeply. I started by connecting with the different edges of the sensing experience within myself as I could hear the story over and over from that Native American man with a face made up of many edges, listening to all the parts, sweetly sensing that child listening, that silence within me. As if I was there, as if this was the story being told by life itself to be heard now.
So the experience of living within this story for a few days, as I am writing this, after one week now, has been quite intense. The inner journey of enquiring is intimate and has many faces. It is an investigation from the more in me, questioning and noticing all that is present in the enquiry.
Focusing within is also reflected on the outside. Once you live a life of focusing or enquiry, the outside life events become more intense for the human and it can feel like all the people around you are exposing their wolves more than before. My feeling is that when you are enquiring and sitting with your identity in your inner process you are also more open and sensitive to feeling life events deeply, as the membranes of protection and self-righteousness become less thick and fall down to the ground.
They were there before, there’s nothing new about them; what is interesting is to be there for the pain which your layers of protection and conditioning are experiencing as they are shed away, on the human exchange of living, while you are very attentive to “the more in you” the truth or the big space and stillness that is there within and the awareness that is you”.
So coming back to the story of the two wolves, and how I lived it and continue to live it, I would like to share an image I had while working with the story in meditation.
The image was a thorn coming into my heart, a thorn from a blackthorn tree. As the thorn was coming in I could feel how it was coming in, where it was coming from, why this was happening and what and whom it was serving, I also felt some not knowing form of me having a choice in the experience of how to receive it. The thorn, as it was coming point-first into my heart ,was slowly being melted and integrated. By the end of the journey of the thorn into my heart there was nothing there. Well, that nothingness was so full at the same time. It felt like the journey of the thorn through time, in the space of the heart had left a “sweet nothingness” that felt so full and whole. More complete. Somehow more real and part of the whole.
Blackthorn has been with me for a good while informing me about the power of love and compassion, a tree that teaches us about truth and the ruthlessness of life and human living. Nature is the representation of pure beauty with all its raw edges and complexities, while at the same time so simple and real. It shows us how to let go, and the power of breath, the breath of the now, the whispers of our ancestors. Mother Nature wants us to sense that this breath is all we have; this breath in this moment as we inhale and feel the aliveness of the oxygen coming in, all the many perfumes that trees are gifting us, the scent and quality of each moment.
I hear the whisper of the Cherokee grandfather coming into my heart and leaving a “sweet nothingness” as it leaves me now.