The Cherokee Parable of Two Wolves
“I have a fight going on in me,” the old man said. “It’s taking place 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.”
The grandfather looked at the grandson and went on. “The other embodies positive emotions. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. Both wolves are fighting to the death. The same fight is going on inside you and every other person, too.”
The grandson took a moment to reflect on this. At last, he looked up at his grandfather and asked, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee gave a simple reply. “The one you feed.”
In me, this first wolf represents fear. The list of negative perceptions combines to form fear inside me. Fear of changing the life that I have been living over the last 25 or so years. The life that I was taught to live, not the life that I’m drawn to live. I strive for freedom from the 9-5 and have always yearned to be released from this man-made system. Yet, my fear of failure grows larger the older I get. As I sit in anguish every evening, knowing I can do it, that damn evil wolf steps in front of me with teeth showing, growling, hair raised along the ridge of his back. I succumb to his hostile advances and toss him a slab of raw meat to appease him.
What Is the Raw Meat?
This morning on my walk, I analyzed what exactly is the raw meat I feed him. I feed him my false sense of pride, my ego, false sense of superiority. Everything listed in the parable, I feed him. I’ve never given those characteristics any credence in myself. I view those only to be found in evil people. But I realized they exist in myself as well this morning. Now that’s been recognized; maybe I should quit feeding that wolf so much and nurture the good one.
Look Beyond the Evil Wolf
Behind the evil wolf stands the good wolf. He’s hungry too. How do you go about feeding him? That evil wolf is always right there in front of the gate, ready to gobble up any food you toss in there. You must open the gate and confront him. See, the evil wolf is fear, so if you walk towards him, he will still show signs of aggression, but he’ll back up as far as possible because he is scared. There is the chance he’ll lash out, but only out of fear. You take that hit and keep moving forward, and he’ll keep backing up. Then place the food in front of the good wolf, who the evil wolf fears. Eventually, that evil wolf will begin to fear you and stay out of your way as you go into feed the good wolf. He’ll still try you. That’s what he does.
That All Sounds Simple Enough
I know it sounds simple, but we all know it’s not. I think about many personal accomplishments I’ve made over the years for encouragement. Like quitting smoking, losing 30lbs, getting my SCUBA certification, to even purchasing my property, all those were scary things that I looked right in the eye and overcame. Making the change in my life to be freed from the chains of my 9-5 may be the scariest of them, but it’s becoming a priority for me. When we begin to prioritize things, it slowly breaks the fear of them down.