Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Which Wolf Do You Feed?

(quote adapted from a Cherokee story)

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him angry at a friend who he felt had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story... I too, at times, have felt a great resentment for those who have taken so much, with no seeming sorrow or remorse for what they do. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me engaged in a conflict.” 

"One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.”  Note that this is all fear based.  All of these feelings, emotions or dispositions are based in fear.  Fear we may be hurt.  Fear we may do harm.  Fear we may experience pain or suffering.  Fear that a truth we tried to hide may be found out.  Fear our own sorrow may be too much for us to bear.  Fear we aren’t good enough.  Fear that someone received an opportunity or material favor we did not.  Fear that we are being judged unfairly.   Fear of the past and fear of the future.  I could add to the list, but the point is made. 

He continued, "The other Wolf is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. He does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.  Note that all of these characteristics are based in love.  They come from a loving nature, either absent of fear, or overcoming fear. 

Sometimes, it is a challenge to live with these two wolves inside of me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit. The same challenge is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."  This is an analogy of the concept that we are always at choice.  Every moment, every thought, every decision, every action, is an opportunity to do the next right thing.  Or not.  It is the pathway to comprehending that out destiny, or fate, our future, is not a matter of chance and luck.  We draw to us most if not all of what we get from life, and this begins with our thoughts.      

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

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

My life started to get a lot better when I began to understand that the solution to all my problems really is this simple.  We believe that we have complicated problems because that’s what our best thinking prodded by our ego tells us.  Therefore, our problems must require complicated answers.  For me, the truth has been just the opposite.  Self-help books were too voluminous and complicated, too much superfluous information.  Therapy focused too much on other people and what they wanted or needed from me, when all along, my problem was me.  When we put out focus on somebody else’s problems, it’s not difficult to see that the simple solution is usually the best solution.  But when the problem is our problem, it’s somehow different, and people don’t understand that it’s not that simple.  A hundred forms of fear invade our peace, the ego says, “If you had my life you’d understand.”  We fall into the trap of believing that that nobody could possibly understand, that our situation is different, that we are unique.  The truth is that we are just as unique as all the rest of the other unique people.  If you find the right places to go and listen, you will find that there are others who share your same story, no matter how far down the ladder you have gone.  I found those rooms, and there, with Gods help, I have begun to find myself. 

Which wolf are you feeding right now as you read this?  Are you feeding the one that nourishes your soul and brings you peace, or the other one?  Whether you agree with this essay or not, you are at choice right now and that choice will determine how you feel.  That feeling will have thoughts associated with it, and thoughts become things.      


  1. George, thank you for posting this. I love this story and it is so true that we have a choice....Give my best to Jeannie. Love, PJ

    1. You're welcome PJ. I believe that you were the first person who showed me that quote/story.

  2. thank you for sharing this George, I needed this today. It applies to my life and the direction I am taking it, making my choices and trying to learn to stand up for myself no matter how many times I get knocked down. To face the FEAR head on feels good once you get through it.

    1. I appreciate the comment very much, but I wonder who is this comment from?