The story of the two wolves battling inside us is a parable about our human nature, (the ‘bad wolf’) and our soul (the ‘good wolf’). To understand how this parable works it might help to take a look at the nature of these two beasts.
Let’s begin by looking at the ‘good wolf’; our soul.
Our soul is the part of us that is made of pure energy; the energy of Life itself. Our individual soul is a small part of the Great One Soul (God?) and as such it is endowed with all the Wisdom, Intelligence, Creativity and Love that brought life into existence in the first place.
Our soul lives in the realm of Ultimate Reality and Ultimate Truth and its purpose is to bring this Truth to the physical realm where our minds and bodies reside so that we might know ourselves more fully. Our soul’s job is to communicate with our minds and bodies in order to remind them that they are part of the soul. By doing this the soul encourages us to reach for the full expression of whom we are instead of settling for a version of self that is limited by the physical world only.
The soul’s language is love and freedom and its agenda is to help the mind and body reconnect with itself. This is in direct opposition to the nature, language and agenda of the unconscious mind, the ‘bad wolf’ in our story of two wolves.
Now let’s take a look at this ‘bad wolf’.
Our human nature is dominated by the ego, the part of our mind that has forgotten (become unconscious of) the truth of its existence as part of the soul and has come instead to believe itself to have a separate, living identity all of its own. This identity however has no real substance of its own; it is very much a shadow identity – that is it is like a shadow in that it only exists relative to a light shining somewhere; in this case the light of the soul.
When we make an identity for ourselves out of anything that is less than the totality of which we are (Mind, Body, Soul) this identity will always be shadow like; flimsy, temporary and insecure.
It is this insecurity and the fear that stems from it which characterises the nature of the ego.
If the agenda of the soul is for connection then the agenda of the ego is separation. If the nature of the soul is love then the nature of the ego is fear; if the language of the soul is feelings then the language of the ego is thoughts.
So we see from these two illustrations that the two wolves that exist inside us are very different animals and that these differences produce feelings of tension between them. However there is only one wolf that is prone to provoking fights and there are no surprises as to which wolf that is!
The soul has no need to fight. It is complete, whole and secure as it is. Because it lives eternally it has nothing to fear; it has nothing to lose, nothing to gain and nothing to worry about – this is quiet true literally because the soul exists in the realm of no things! Our souls know that in the end all manner of things will be well; that is that all things will come to know themselves as whole again.
Our unconscious mind however does not know this and so lives as though every thought, word and deed was a matter of life or death – which for the ego it is!
It’s important to note here that the ego itself is not necessarily bad. The ego is a wonderful tool that enables us all to experience ourselves as individual expressions of the One Supreme Source of Life (God) and there is great joy and satisfaction in this. Our ego enables us to feel very positively about ourselves. The problem arises from our stubborn belief that this is all we are and our need to defend this at all costs.
Because we believe that we are the ego and we know, albeit it unconsciously that the ego is incomplete the nature of the ego is blighted by:
· a perpetual need to find what is lost or missing which creates an insatiable appetite for more
· the constant need to defend and protect itself so that no one will see that it is lacking in some way
· the need to prove its worth and validate its existence
· thinking that there is something inherently wrong with its nature
· tension, stress and strain as it strives to maintain an acceptable identity that will secure the attention, acceptance, approval and affection it desires.
· a tendency towards feelings of envy and jealousy
· a filtering of all information through the lens of ‘how does this affect me?’ which results in a distorted view of reality
Because of this the ego invests a lot of time and effort into cultivating, maintaining and grooming a strong sense of self in order to mask its insecurities.
HOWEVER the truth is that no matter how carefully constructed our image of our self is it can be challenged at any moment and the confidence the ego feels in itself can be taken away in a blink of an eye. Success can turn to failure; achievements can fall away; acceptance can turn to rejection; approval to disapproval and wealth to poverty and when this happens the ego’s carefully placed mask drops away exposing large, raw areas of pain that have no where to hide.
This is when the pain body which is normally kept well under control is suddenly exposed.
Then angry and vulnerable the threatened ego releases the ‘bad wolf’ and depending on how severe the threat is perceived to be this wild animal can display behaviour that at best is mildly critical and at worse extremely violent. Rage, criticism, sulkiness; hostility, judgemental and threatening behaviours are all characteristic of the ‘bad wolf’ who, when under threat, will quite easily lash out at any one (including itself) who happens to get in the way. The ‘bad wolf’ will quite happily justify this behaviour and is adept at playing the blame game in order to make others out to be wrong so that he can feel right (self righteousness!)
Afterwards, when the attack subsides the ‘bad wolf’ simply crawls back into its nicely created image of itself and gets on with life as normal as if nothing had happened......that is until the next time the ‘wolf’ is threatened and it rises up on the attack again!
All the time this is going on our faithful soul is still relaying messages to our ego. It is still trying to remind us that none of this matters, that there is no need for us to be so defensive, that we are more than our carefully constructed story of self BUT our bruised ego’s take no heed. They either don’t hear the messages or think them irrelevant to their cause or perhaps fear that they have too much to lose by listening to the soul and so stubbornly they carry on doing things their own way. Then the saying “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got” turns out to be true!
Nothing changes this way.
Eventually though some-thing has to give; the pain carried by the ego becomes too much to bear and will no longer be satiated in the usual ways. The longing to be real; to feel safe; to rest and to experience something lasting spills out in a desperate cry for HELP!
This is a cry that NEVER goes unheard for it lands in the ears of the ever patient soul who moves instantly to make itself known.
This is when the dance of the two wolves’ begins to move into a new level of consciousness.
This is when life begins to get REALLY interesting.
Thank you for reading this post. If you have any thoughts regarding the Beauty and the Beast please feel free to share them by posting them in the comment boxes below.
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.