The white and black wolf

He’s brutal, cruel and embodies everything that’s harmful, mean, violent, disruptive. As soon as you look aside, in moments when you’re weak and stressed, he’ll see his chance and then he’ll jump. He attacks everything and destroys anything that is in front of you, no matter how much you love it. You see nothing, you can do nothing to stop that jump. It’s more like a wave breaking over you, a wave of your cruel, harmful words and actions. In the end, he is you. You are him. He lives inside you. You feed him. You neglect him. The moment of his jump is your downfall.

So whenever you ask yourself: How could I do that? The answer is: You let him jump.

Have you ever heard of the parable of the two wolves? The following parable is written by me but is inspired by a Cherokee story. Look up the parable two wolves if you want to read the original.

An Indian was sitting at a campfire with his grandson. He was watching the flames when he said: „The light of the fire and the darkness of the forest, like the white and black wolves in our hearts.“

„What are those wolves?“, the grandson asked. 

„They’re two wolves in our hearts. The white wolf embodies everything that’s good of you, joy, peace, love, hope, kindness, bliss, compassion, generosity, truth, all the light within you. The black wolf is the opposite, anger, envy, sadness, fear, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride. And they fight.“

„And who wins?“, asked the grandson further.

„The one you feed. But it’s not that simple. Because if you only feed the white wolf you neglect the black. And he’ll be lurking around every corner and wait for his chance to get something from you, and then he’ll jump and take everything from you.“

„Do you mean, if I don’t feed him then I’ll do things that I later regret?“, the grandson wanted to know.

„Yes. If you find yourself thinking, How could I do that?, it was the moment of the jump.“, the Indian answered.

„Is there anything I can do to prevent it?“, the grandson kept asking. 

„You know they say you should feed the black wolf, too. So the wolves don’t fight. You can try that. I’d say, don’t let the black wolf jump. But to prevent that, you have to know where he is. You have to see him. You have to acknowledge that he exists. He is the evil part inside you. Look at him. Watch how he is sneaking around in the dark corridors. He’s sensing a good opportunity in moments you’re backed into a corner. Look him in the eyes when he gets closer. This is you. You’re that evil. And then you can decide if you want him to jump. He then is your companion. You can say: it’s ok. That’s my sweet girl, I don’t want to hurt her. Don’t jump. Or you can say: rip this enemy apart. Jump.

He’s not just there to get in you trouble or to make you do things you later regret. He’s there to save you life when someone threatens it. He is the force to fight back.“

„So, you’re saying, I should get the black wolf under control?“, asked the grandson.

„Hmm,“ the Indian pondered, „maybe these two don’t fight at all. Maybe they’re just in your heart and they’re there to protect you. Usually you’re just seen with the white wolf and you believe you must feed him so he’s strong. And you should not feed the black wolf so he stays weak. I’m wondering if that’s not true at all. If they’re just always at your side and you tell them what to do. But that it is a hell of work to get the black wolf under control.“


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