5 May 2011

The battle of the wolves


A Cherokee Legend (source)

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


One of my Facebook friends posted this story as her status today and I got chills down my back when I read it. The reason is that it is so true. I have felt this struggle quite often and actually am very aware of it most of the time. I can feel the wolves struggling inside my head and my heart. I do my best to feed the good wolf but sometimes the evil wolf gets the upper hand for a little while. Sometimes it is much much stronger. I get angry at myself for that, which of course means I am feeding the evil wolf even more. But really, I should try to be kind to the evil wolf too. The evil wolf cannot be fully won, but I can treat it with understanding. I can accept that it is a part of me.

I do hope that it is clear to most, including myself, that the good wolf usually is stronger in me. And that I manage to show this to the people around me. Sometimes when I meet a person whose evil wolf seems to be stronger than the good wolf at the time I do try to understand them and not let their evil wolf feed the one in me. This is not always the easiest thing to do though. If someone is mean to you, treats you badly, it's usually easiest to treat them the same way. You are hurt and you want them to be in pain too. The two evil wolves are the ones doing the fighting and feeding themselves to each other. It can sometimes be so much easier to feel anger, hate, bitterness and self-pity than to show acceptance, compassion and kindness when someone is not treating you with the same.

I don't believe that either one of the wolves every fully win in someone. The wolves never die. No one is just good or just evil. Both wolves play their own part but we can decide which one we want to be stronger. And I think the presence of the evil wolf can also be seen as a good thing. Why? The good wolf has to struggle to show its characteristics and by doing so, make them stronger. Each wolf also has their own strengths and weaknesses. I would say self-pity and bitterness are often the specialities of my evil wolf. Yes, along with inferiority mixed with superiority.

I guess the message of the legend can be seen as (what at least is supposed to be) the core message of many religions (and please do correct me if I'm wrong, I'm certainly no expert in this area), to show kindness to others, to treat others how you want to be treated etc. I am not a religious person, not so many are in my country. But my father, who is quite religious from time to time, once said to me something along the lines of: "you believe in the same thing as I do, your religion is love". And yes, this is very true. I have a wise father. So in that way I certainly am religious.

I believe in the good wolf.

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