The famous American Indian legend from which we can learn a profound message to better understand and overcome our inner conflicts.
The story tells of a wise old man teaching his grandson the story of the two great wolves that live inside us.
The grandfather tells his grandson: “You see, inside everyone there is an incessant war in the mind and heart, as if there were two wolves fighting inside us, one white and one black.
The white wolf is good, kind and loving, living in harmony with everything around him. The white wolf only fights if it is necessary and when he has to protect himself and his family, he is very careful with all the other wolves in his pack and never deviates from his own nature.
The black wolf in us, on the other hand, is very different: he is overbearing, angry and discontented. He is overbearing, angry and unhappy. The smallest things provoke him to anger and he quarrels with everyone. This wolf looks for trouble wherever he goes, so he finds it easily, trusts no one and has no real friends.
Sometimes it is difficult to live with these two wolves, because they both fight hard to dominate our souls.”
“Which of the two wolves wins, Grandpa?” asks the grandson.
Note: At this point, the version of the story I knew ended up with Grandpa answering, “the one you feed.” However, there seems to be another version of the story that goes like this….
“Both,’ replied Grandpa.
“You see, if I choose to feed only the white wolf, the black wolf will be waiting for me to take advantage of some moment of imbalance, and will attack the white wolf, causing a lot of trouble; he will always be angry and fighting for the attention he demands.
But if I give him a little attention because I understand his nature, if I recognise his powerful strength and let him know that I respect him for his character, he will be happy and the white wolf will also be serene, and both will win”.
Confused, the boy asks, “I don’t understand, Grandpa, how can they both win?”
The wise grandfather, continues:
“You see, the black wolf has many important qualities that I may need in certain circumstances: he is reckless, determined and never gives in; he is intelligent, cunning and has very sharp and honed senses, which only those who look with the eyes of darkness can appreciate. In the event of an attack, it can be our best ally.”
Then he takes out two pieces of meat and throws them on the ground, one on the left and one on the right. He points to them and says:
“Here on my left is food for the white wolf, and on my right is food for the black wolf. If I choose to feed them both, they will never struggle to dominate my mind and I will be able to use each one in the way I need.
And since there will be no war between the two, I will be able to listen to the voice of my deepest conscience and choose which of the two will best help me in every circumstance.
If you understand that there are two great forces within you and regard them with equal respect, they will both be victorious and live together in peace; and peace, my nephew, is the ultimate goal of life.
This beautiful story teaches us that in each of us there is black and white, male and female, beautiful and ugly, peace and war, just as in the Tao symbol. So if we accept this and silence our inner conflicts, then from the peace of mind we can better hear the voice of our consciousness. To do this we have to be aware of this and above all we must not be afraid of the ‘black wolf’!