Running with the good wolf

I came across the parable of the two wolves via Eric Zimmer’s appearance on David Kadavy’s podcast.

Eric describes the parable as such:

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at battle. One is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery, and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred, and fear. The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?” The grandfather quietly replies, “The one you feed.”

Seems to me the one that wins is the one that you give your attention to. This is right in-line with what I’m reading in Why Buddhism Is True and The Obstacle is the Way. The former is a book about Buddhism, mindfulness practices, and how our brains have evolved. The later is about the Stoics, and how their writings from thousands of years ago apply to the present day.

Both seem to point to the modern practice of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I’ve never gone to a Therapist, so I may be speaking completely out of turn here. But I’m seeing correlations in all of these topics (including the ‘being present’ focus of Improv as well).

On that podcast Eric also mentioned that it’s not about caging or killing the bad wolf. I’m paraphrasing that. Seems like it exists in all of us, and from what I’ve read in the texts mentioned above The Bad Wolf is the Monkey Mind. That sometimes unkind chattering in the background of our minds.

You can’t stop feeling a particular emotion, or thinking a thought in your subconscious. Acknowledge it, label the emotion, and choose to act in a way that is not harmful to self or others.

There’s something in this overlap of the Venn diagram that I’m very interested in for exploration. On a “crawl, walk, run” scale, I’m certainly crawling here, and I am striving to be running with the good wolf.

Chad Moore @cm