Feed the Wolf of Love

Feed the Wolf of Love - Rick Hanson

Which wolf do you feed?

The Practice:
Feed the wolf of love.

Why?

I once heard a teaching story in which an elder, a grandmother, was asked what she had done to become so happy, so wise, so loved, and respected. She replied: “It’s because I know that there are two wolves in my heart, a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. And I know that everything depends on which one I feed each day.”

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The Evolution of Love

cuddling-wolves

How did we evolve the most loving brain on the planet?

Humans are the most sociable species on earth – for better and for worse.

On the one hand, we have the greatest capacities for empathy, communication, friendship, romance, complex social structures, and altruism. On the other, we have the greatest capacities for shaming, emotional cruelty, sadism, envy, jealousy, discrimination and other forms of dehumanization, and wholesale slaughter of our fellow humans.

In other words, to paraphrase a teaching story, a wolf of love and a wolf of hate live in the heart of every person.

Many factors shape each of these two wolves, including biological evolution, culture, economics, and personal history. Here, I’d like to comment on key elements of the neural substrate of bonding and love; in next week’s blog, I’ll write about the evolution of aggression and hate; then, in the next several posts, we’ll explore the crucial skill of empathy, perhaps the premier way to feed the wolf of love.

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Three Blessings in Spiritual Life – Part 3: A Mirror

Photo: Pixaby.com

This 3- part series explores three capacities we all have, that when cultivated, bring spiritual awakening and serve the healing of our world. Drawing on an ancient teaching story from India, we explore together the power of a forgiving heart, the inner fire that expresses as courage and dedication, and the inquiry of “who am I” that reveals our deepest nature.

From the talk: “These are three qualities often described as the essence of awareness: wakeful, open, tender.”

And a blessing:
May all beings everywhere remember and trust the loving awareness that is our source.
May all beings everywhere live in natural and great peace.
May we touch true joy in living.
May all beings everywhere awaken and be free.”

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Three Blessings in Spiritual Life – Part 2: Inner Fire

Three Blessings in Spiritual Life – Part 2: Inner Fire

This 3- part series explores three capacities we all have, that when cultivated, bring spiritual awakening and serve the healing of our world. Drawing on an ancient teaching story from India, we explore together the power of a forgiving heart, the inner fire that expresses as courage and dedication, and the inquiry of “who am I” that reveals our deepest nature.


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