One time, on a sweltering August night, Grandfather and I made camp down by the ocean. He said, “While I teach you about the ways of war, I want you to know that the real struggle is between the two wolves that live inside each of us.”
“Two wolves?” I asked, seated on an old log near the fire. My eyes were transfixed by the flames twisting uncomfortably in the night air.
“One wolf is evil,” he continued. “It is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, deceit, false pride.” He paused, poking at the embers of our fire with a long stick he’d been carving.
“The other is good. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, humility, loving-kindness, forgiveness, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, faith.”
I considered that for a minute, then tentatively asked, “Which wolf will win?”
Sparks danced towards the stars as the old man stared into the glare of the flames and replied, “Whichever one you feed.”
I don’t know how often I feed the joyful wolf, but it is not nearly enough over the past two years. Sometimes I live in a world of self-doubt, self-pity, anger, envy, resentment, and inferiority–and I don’t wish to do so any more. It’s an exceedingly tough cycle to break from. But I aim to do it.
Hat tip to Mr. Kottke, because his post rings true for me. The above passage was from Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke. Full disclosure, the link here hopefully sends a little money Kottke’s way if you happen to purchase the book.