The Two Wolves
One evening sitting around the fire, the grandson of an old and wise chief asked his grandfather, “Why is life so unhappy Grandad?”
His grandfather thought for a moment, and then asked, “Can you hear the wolves howling in the distance?”
“Yes I can Grandad,” replied the boy.
“Have you noticed how some of the wolves are angry and aggressive and some are gentle and friendly?”
“Yes I have Grandad,” replied the boy, “I like the baby wolf with the stripes who follows me when I go hunting.”
“Well, we have two wolves inside us also,” replied his grandfather.
“One leads us to misery and unhappiness.
It sows seeds of anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority and lies.
The other leads us to happiness.
It sows the seeds of joy, peace, love, hope, kindness, generosity and compassion.”
The grandson was quiet for a while and then asked: “Which wolf wins Grandad?”
“The one you feed,” the old chief replied.
– Author Anon
Hands up who wants to be miserable!
Psychologists say that everything we do, we do because we want either avoid pain or attain pleasure.
So why do we spend so much of our time being unhappy?
Perhaps we could start by examining our goal – we may be telling ourselves that we should feel happy all the time.
When our experience does not meet with our expectation, and we are not happy all the time, we may feel that we have failed.
In addition we have magnified our problem by being unhappy about being unhappy!
Is it reasonable to expect to be happy all the time?
Isn’t it natural for life to be a series of ups followed by downs, and downs followed by ups?
What would you think of someone who was laughing all the time no matter what?
You may conclude that they were not in touch with reality!
Even if our own lives were perfect, if we are compassionate people and a friend shares a sadness with us, would it not be human to be sad alongside them?
So maybe it is not reasonable, or possible, to be happy all the time.
However, it would seem reasonable to have a goal of increasing the amount of time we are happy and to be happy more often.
How do we increase the amount of time we are happy?
1. Happiness comes from the word happy.
This is derived from the sound “ha” which is the noise we make when we laugh!
Hopefully that made you smile – which is the first key to happiness!
2. Happiness is a feeling.
What is the nature of feelings?
They come and go – up and down, round and round, never resting or staying the same and always in a state of flux and change.
So is not realistic to expect that once we feel happy that we will be happy forever.
The good side of this is that if we are unhappy at the moment, it is realistic to think that sooner or later we will be happy again.
3. Feelings are like clouds.
Sometimes there are happy fluffy clouds in the sky, sometimes there are thunder clouds and sometimes the clouds cry with rain.
But rain clouds pass after rain, and the great expanse of sky remains unaffected.
The sky is always blue.
The sun is always shining.
Sometimes we cannot see it or feel it, but all day (and all night!) it burns bright and warm.
Happiness is here now.
Can you think of just one reason to be happy?
Then be happy.
Practice letting go of the habit of always thinking about the 2% of your life that’s “wrong,” and focus on the 98% that’s “not wrong.”