I’ve been under the weather these past few days, with my throat giving me problems. And, of course, my lungs have never been the same since 9/11. But right now I cannot afford to get sick because I have no insurance. Hence, I’m being extra cautious.
Speaking of 9/11, I will not be watching any celebrations or anything having to do with that tragic event. I am working on a piece that I will hopefully publish on Subversify this Friday. For my latest at Subversify, an alternative online magazine, click here. The following teaching story is the framework I’m using for the upcoming 9/11 piece…
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-=[ Feeding the Wolves ]=-
One of the tragedies of 9/11, the one that never gets mentioned, was our collective response to the senseless violence. As someone who was there that, who felt the earth shake as the Towers came down, as someone who witnessed human beings throwing themselves from the inferno, and who breathed the dust… Suffice it to say that as a nation we have not honored those who died that day.
As human beings we have the wonderful gift -- the potential for transformative and change and a way to disentangle ourselves from our karma. At the same time we also have this knack for falling asleep. Change is not an easy task. It’s as if we’re continuously facing a crossroads, continuously having to choose which way to go, what road to take.
If we’re honest, we would admit that much of our journey is like a sleep walk: the same roads taken, the circular, repetitive dysfunctional patterns of our lives. In order to make skillful choices, we need a way, a compass, a set of practices that work to challenge us and keep us out of comfort of automatic pilot. I think we first need to learn how to be gentle with ourselves. We need to develop compassion for our imperfections, and to embrace the not-so-pretty aspects that we work so hard to keep from others. This is not to say we work to cosign our own bullshit, rather, it’s a way to recognize and honor our imperfections as well as our positive sides.
Anyway, I first heard the following shortly after 9/11. Perhaps you’ve heard it. For me, this story really brings it home. Perhaps this has some application in your life, right now, this very moment…If you ever get a chance pick up anything by the teacher, Pema Chodron (click here). Believe me, you will thank for a long time.
There was a story going around a few days after the attacks of September 11, 2001. An American Indian grandfather was speaking to his grandson about violence and cruelty in the world and how it comes about. He said it was as if two wolves were fighting in his heart. One wolf was vengeful and angry, the other understanding and kind. The young boy asked his grandfather which wolf would win the fight in his heart. The grandfather answered, “The one that wins will be the one I choose to feed.”
And this is our challenge in a nutshell. It is the challenge we face as individuals and as part of this world gone slightly mad. How can we draw upon our inner potential to see what helps and what harms, what escalates war and aggression, and suffering. With the precarious nature of the current times -- a planet in financial chaos and the environment the precipice, the time for sitting back has long gone. And though you might feel there’s nothing you can do, know that even the slightest gesture toward feeding the right wolf will help. Now, more than ever, you need to understand and act on this human potential for transformation.
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…