The Narratives that Drive Us

The Narratives that Drive Us

I'm beginning to realize that much of what has shaped my viewpoints and opinions is a result of an inner narrative – a story that has been created and supported by my life experiences and emotions. Changing that viewpoint isn’t usually desired or even considered an alternative because my narrative is so powerful that I accept it as fact. Sometimes I’m torn between how to react, feeling opposing forces wrestling with each other. 

There is a poignant tribal story that speaks to what happens when two conflicting stories emerge within our experience called Two Wolves. It goes something like this: A Native American grandfather is talking to his grandson about how he feels about a tragedy in their village. "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one." The grandson asks, "Grandfather, which wolf will win the fight in your heart?" The grandfather places his hand on his heart and replies, "The one I feed."

When seeking healing, I’ve found it vital to mindfully and compassionately begin learning which wolf, or inner narrative, I am choosing to feed. I feed these stories by unknowingly gathering supporting information that suits my perspective. Quickly the story gets ramped up and, much like conspiracy theory, assumes a secret plot to harm others or me.


How do I learn to "feed" the stories that heal rather than perpetuate the inner warfare? I’m learning that it begins with simply noticing that they are hungry wolves, aching for information to feast upon – and then realizing that I’m at choice to feed them or not. If I can be objective long enough to explore various truths (mine and other’s) then I gain immense freedom. This freedom is why the Spiritual Warrior within each of us -- he or she who combats the universal enemy of self-ignorance -- fights.


What wolves are you feeding these days – and what might be different if you realized you had had a choice?