19541894_sContinuing the discussion on good and bad, let’s look at the ancient parable of the two wolves.  It goes like this:  There are two wolves fighting inside your head.  One is dark and one is light.  The one that wins, is the one you feed.

You can call the wolves good and bad, but I prefer dark and light  Just like the symbol of Yin and Yang, where the good and bad are indivisible from the whole.  It is a dynamic system trading back and forth, like the fighting wolves.  Everyone has both.   It is nearly a universal theme, but personally, I like the wolves.

These wolves can’t be killed and they don’t go away.  Neither is wrong or right.  You can’t have darkness without light or light without dark.  It is in the contrast that the other is exposed.  Looking up at the night sky, this is evident.  We can marvel at the beauty of the stars, but those stars don’t exist without the dark space in-between. They would be destroyed.

Feeding the light wolf is hard.  It is what is often called our ‘better angels’ and it takes courage to actually feed it.  I’m going to paraphrase something I heard the Dalai Lama say in a video.  “There are two rules for living.  Rule one, treat everyone with kindness and compassion every time you can.  Rule two, there is no time you can’t use rule one.”  You feed the light wolf with kindness and compassion.

Start with yourself.  You don’t have to be a hero.  Be kind to yourself, recognize you are human and going to drop the ball occasionally.  It’s okay.  Now, I’m going to mess up an Edmund Burke quote.  I’m doing it because I don’t believe the dark wolf is evil, but the quote is still appropriate.  “All that is necessary for the dark wolf to win, is that you do nothing.” (Mushed it up good.  See the actual quote here.)

Our environment and normal daily lives feed the dark wolf.  Doubts, greed, fears, jealousy, and rage are all too common.   Media is an active accomplice in feeding the dark wolf.  Television shows us evidence of our lack or insufficiencies everyday.  Appealing to our basest fears and desires drives their ratings.  The dark wolf grows as we watch and we lash out at the innocent and unsuspecting.

It’s really hard to unplug completely, but recognize it is happening.   Acknowledge that the ads, the shows, even the work day is designed to feed the ideas of lack, desire, greed, and fear.  The dark wolf gets stronger by default.  So acknowledge the feeding, but have the courage to be kind.  Have compassion for yourself and others.  It takes courage to seek balance and to do it you need to keep feeding the light wolf.

Meditation is a good way to feed the light wolf.  Relax your mind and ease your stress.  Let go of your unrealistic fears and desires.  You are the worst bully you will ever meet.  We heap anxiety and judgement on ourselves.  Much more than anyone else ever would.  Stop comparing yourself to others, you don’t need to.  You are unique.  No one who’s ever lived is like you, and no one ever will be.  Take comfort in your differences.

You won’t be able to instantly clear your mind or instantly find peace.  Balance and peace takes practice.  Again, don’t be a hero.  Work on your mind like you work on your muscles.  Practice won’t rid you of the dark wolf.  But balancing the dark and light within you is the path to less stress and more happiness.  Make a better world by feeding your light wolf.

Originally posted on brianpigg.com