Two Wolves

In our post yesterday, McConaughey mentioned a brief snippet about the story of the boy and two wolves.  For those who aren’t familiar with the story, it’s worth sharing as we round out the week on Cultivating the Soul.

As the legend goes, a young Indian boy embarks on his vision quest to connect with his spirit animal.  The quest is a pivotal milestone in a boy’s journey into manhood, and the boy is expected to find his sense of self, his purpose, his true soul.  There is great significance placed on his connection with his soul and the animal he sees in his vision.

The boy in our story spent several days on his spiritual journey, and when he returned, he met with the tribal elders.  He was naturally exhausted, but to complete his rite of passage, he had to explain his experience.

At first, he was excited to tell them he saw a strong wolf by his side.  This was a good sign.  The elders explained that the wolf is the pathfinder, a symbol of cunning and intelligence, and he would become a leader in the tribe.

This was positive news.  But, instead of joy, the boy appeared troubled.  So, the tribal elders asked him to share the rest of his vision.

The boy went on to explain that, although the strong wolf stood beside him during his quest, there was also another wolf in his vision.  The boy didn’t understand why there were two wolves.  Was his quest successful?  Did he connect with the right animal?  Would he be accepted in the tribe?  Confused, he asked the tribal elders for their wisdom to help him understand the meaning.

The boy’s grandfather had been listening silently to his grandson; observing him as he shared his vision.  As the boy sat in honestly humility, waiting for acceptance from the elders, the grandfather finally offered an explanation.

He told his grandson, “You are part of our Tribe.  There are two wolves living in us all.  But, most do not recognize both animals.  Your ability to see the other wolf in the shadows is a sign that you have the vision necessary to lead this tribe.”

The boy was struggling with his mixed feelings.  He was happy to hear that he was not alone, and that he was accepted into the Tribe.  The thought of leading the tribe filled him with pride.  But, he was also uncertain, and a little scared.  He looked up into the wise, piercing eyes of the tribal elders seated around him.

His grandfather continued, “One wolf is evil; full of fear, anger, jealousy, greed, and lies.  He is your Ego.  The other wolf is good; moved by love, joy, peace, humility, kindness, and empathy.”

“The two wolves are constantly fighting to guide your steps.”

“Which will win?”, the boy asked.

“The one you choose to feed,” his grandfather replied.


Believe you were meant for more.

Cultivate your Soul.

Lead your tribe.