An old man is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old man simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Someone recently pointed out that I was perhaps feeding the dark wolf a little too much on Facebook. They didn't put it quite so poetically or metaphorically, but I needed that medicine straight up. That's often the problem with parables and visions: we get entralled by the beautiful metaphor and the core message gets lost.
Facebook is a playground for the ego—some choose to only show their best side and paint a picture of themselves that is all "love and light" while others—like myself—tend to let it all hang out. But letting your shadow run amok is a bit like bringing that dark wolf to the dog park. You'll inevitably be left holding the leash as it licks the remains of a poodle from its chops, exclaiming "but you should see him at home! He's great with our Schnauzer!".
You run the risk that some people will only meet the wolf and not see the family pet.
I'm reminded of the virotes (darts) in the world of the Amazonian shaman. These are energetic darts that brujos, or sorcerers, use against others to inflict harm. All shaman have the ability to produce these darts, but it's how you use them that matters. A shaman who does not possess the necessary restraint to swallow their virotes when they rise to the back of their throat will become a brujo, while a shaman who can learn to control these urges will become a healer or curing shaman.
The little negative barbs that we can so casually throw out as comments on Facebook or In Real Life (IRL) can end up inflicting a lot of harm, even if we're unconscious of it. You never know when a tiny, seemingly innocuous dart that emerges from the primordial ooze of old insecurities, hurt, loneliness and pain that we carry around in our guts will end up hitting someone right in their most vulnerable spot and causing even more pain.
I've been the recipient of these darts and I've let them loose on others. It's an irresponsible use of power and energy that I didn't even consciously realize I was participating in. I thought at times that I was just speaking out on something that I didn't agree with, and while I think it's healthy to practice discernment and have a critical eye, it's unhealthy to be reactive to those things, to not control your virotes and transmute that energy into something positive and healing.
Once, when I was a kid playing a game of darts with my brother, I threw a dart at the board and it bounced right back and stuck right in the nail of my big toe. Ouch. How's that for a parable?
This latest lesson comes at what (I hope) is the tail end of a months-long period of some deep shadow work, and I'll be forever grateful to that guy who called me out on my brujo activities. He's got his own lessons to learn about how that all was handled, but I know that I got the message loud and clear. So thank you. There's some real yoga in that exchange.
And, if you're reading this and you're thinking "Hey, that guy left a snarky comment on my post about -blank- and that really pissed me off!".
Well, I'm sorry.
I'll do better.