Wise Attention and Wolves

There are three components to mindfulness:

  1. Present moment attention
  2. Awareness of purpose
  3. Wise attention

People often hear about the first one, but not the other two.  So I thought I’d redress the balance.  Today it’s the turn of Wise Attention.

Let’s start with a story

A wise old Chieftan was sitting with his grandson at the fire. In the dark, they were enjoying the play of the flames. After a long silence the old man said: “You know how I feel sometimes? It’s as if there were two wolves struggling in my heart. One of them is aggressive, vengeful and cruel. And the other is caring, gentle and affectionate.”

His grandson asked him, “Which of them will win the struggle for your heart?”

The Chieftan replied, “The one that I feed more.”

So how do you feed a wolf in your heart?  Simple: you give it your attention. You give it energy. You let it have its way.

How do you starve a wolf? You ignore it. You resist temptations it may put your way.  You see through its tricks. (But you don’t try and fight it – that gives it energy and brings you down to its level).

Whichever wolf you feed – that’s who you’ll become. So feed your wolves with care.