Early in the last century the Italian town of Gubbio was terrorized by a wolf. It waited outside the city gates waiting to feast on anyone foolish enough to venture outside. Saint Francis, who had lived in the city at the time, then announced that he himself would visit the wolf in its lair to bring peace to the village.
St. Francis was followed by some townsfolk from a distance when he approached the lair. With the wolf charging at Francis he made the sign of the Cross and commanded the wolf to cease its attacks in the name of God, at which point the wolf trotted up to him docilely and lay at his feet, putting its head in his hands.
Which wolf are you feeding?
St. Francis had elicited a pledge from the wolf that he would no longer attack the villagers if they kept on feeding the hungry wolf. The deeper meaning of this story is that human nature is constantly at war between the spirit and the temptations of the flesh and the lures of toxic emotions.
Preoccupation with the “outward” as opposed to the “inward” soul calling is a constant theme in the writings of the ancient mystics and their wisdom is more topical than ever in a world where political narrative is a reflection of an ego-centered culture where image takes precedence over truth and minds are captured in an alternative reality.
The pull between the good spirit, in what the 13th century Dominican monk Meister Eckhart calls the emphasis on what is “virtuous and eternal” and the evil spirit in what is “temporal and transient” , is embedded in human nature from the time of birth.
The inward and the outward pull
Modern culture is pounding away at the human mind 24-7 with the emphasis on gratification from the external which in turn leads to a spiritual void of the internal. The Greek philosophers Cicero and Seneca speak of the “inward spirit” within which lies the “seed of God” while the outward mind is constantly challenged by the temptations of immediate gratification.
Eckhart defines “evil” as the direct opposite of the internal. While the “inward” mind is focused on following “God” or the universal truth on the path of life the “external” mind prefers to walk in front of God. It is the ego-mind at work, refusing to acknowledge failure or mistake. Its sole concern is “to gain honors, wealth and pleasure.” Eckhart calls them the wicked people who have no concern to what is good or evil. “They are devils, in fact they are the Devil himself…”
But what do I do when one person’s “good” is another person’s “evil.” The lines often become blurred in the public discourse. Eckhart describes evil as by nature a “withdrawal of the soul from God.” While creation is aimed at perfecting, realigning with higher common purpose, evil is seeking to destruct, divide and exclude. In its worst form it is the void where there is complete absence of God.
In times of crisis strong emotions dominate. The fear of the unknown and the sadness over that which was and is no more occupy the mind. This soon becomes the breeding ground of anger that is projected against what is perceived as “the Other” responsible for ones predicament.
This is a dangerous time where we are walking the thin line of having to choose every minute of every day which of the two wolves we are feeding.
Who is making you into the person you are?
Irrespective of your political persuasions and beliefs, your associations define who you are. These are not only your immediate friends and family but also what you are feeding your mind with on social media, radio, literature and television. You might want to ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the person I’m dealing with emanate from his/her innermost Being? Is it compassion, love, empathy or hate, anger, vanity or egotistical self-interest?
- What language is being used? There is language that will expand your heart energy and there is language that will make my body tense-up and fire-up my toxic emotions.
- Is the person or the information elevating my consciousness or making me choose the angry wolf?
Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker
One more thing…
You might want to check out my latest book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”. It is available at all major outlets or at a discount from my my own store. Check out all the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.
My choice of the ten best spiritual books can be found here.
2 responses to “The power within”
Excellent use of metaphor and historical references. To the author well done, you changed my perspective.
Thank you for your great feedback, Matthew.