Which part of the mind do you feed?
There is an old Cherokee tale about two wolves told by a grandfather to his grandson to explain the battle that goes on within all of us. The story goes that the grandfather tells the grandson that there is a terrible fight going on inside of him. That there are two wolves and they are always fighting. The dark one is darkness and despair. It is fear, anger, jealousy, regret, arrogance, resentment, guilt, sorrow, envy, greed, self-pity, false pride, ego, inferiority, lies and superiority. The lighter one is light and hope. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on in you and everyone, he tells the boy. The boy thinks awhile and then asks his grandfather - but which wolf wins? The one you feed replies the grandfather.
This is so true. It is simple, there is an ongoing battle in our heads that never goes away between these two wolves. It is the one we feed. The one we nurture. The one we give attention to, at any given time, that ends up winning! So we need to pay attention to the thoughts and feelings we entertain, we give power to, as they are going to win, resonate with us and affect our mood, our lives and our outcomes. Which helps us understand that what we are giving power to and feeding is going to have an effect.
But in truth we need to feed them both as the story doesn't end there. It goes on - that if you just feed the lighter one the dark one will be hiding round the corner, waiting for you to become distracted or weak and jump out to get the attention he needs. He will always be angry and fight the lighter wolf. But if we acknowledge him he is happy, the lighter wolf is happy and we all win. For the dark wolf has many qualities - tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong-willed and great strategic thinking - that we need at times. These are the things the light wolf lacks. But the light wolf has compassion, caring, strength an the ability to recognise what is in the best interest of all. So we need both wolves by our side. To feed one would starve the other and they would become un-controllable. To feed and care for both means that they will serve you well, and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good and something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention. And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowledge that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance.
Which is so true as there are times we need the dark wolf in us to give us courage and great strategic thinking. We need to acknowledge the part he plays but tame his desire to lead the pack and discard the thoughts, beliefs, habits etc he's pushing forward that we know do not serve any purpose to us, work for us or just wear or put us down and feed the lighter wolf more at those times. Then there are also times when we need to quieten the lighter wolf and feed the darker one to enable us to achieve a task, a goal or overcome a challenge.
In truth we need to know that we are in control of our thoughts, beliefs, habits and the choices we make in our lives. We are the leader of the pack! This is hard work! It is easier just to give in and let the battle just go on and live in the chaos that ensues with which ever wolf we feed. You have to feel it's worth the fight, worth the hard work, to really want to get the results and reap the rewards to put in the effort. It is a balancing act, it's controlling those wolves, assessing who we give the power to at any given time, it's hard work but the rewards are greater!