An Old Cherokee Tale of Two Wolves
One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside usis Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied the “one you feed”.
Hopefully the grandfather is able to teach the grandson, how to “feed the good wolf.” While changing his focus to positive thoughts, which is extremely difficult, because we’ve never been taught how to. It’s so easy to fall into a pattern of negative thoughts and hard to start thinking positively. As the bad thoughts will always be there in our minds. It’s hard to change from positive to negative when you have been thinking negatively for a long period of time. Negative thinking is normal, we all have these thoughts. Therefore if this way of thinking becomes incessant, it can lead to depression, self destructive behavior and addictions. Further more as a result it can derail us from what we want most in life. At an absolute minimum, negative thinking saps our energy, erodes our self confidence and put us into a bad mood.
Even though we may be in a certain mind set, thoughts are completely random, we never know which thought is coming next. So a good practice is to be aware of negative thoughts that arise, and try to detach from those thoughts and watch as an observer. Watch your thoughts, they become words. Your words, become actions, your actions, become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
The perplexity of our thoughts and the way in which we try to handle them. Have been and will be written about and studied as long as thoughts exist. Stress is the root of many of our negative thoughts. Survival stress is the phase of “fight or flight” this is seen as a common response to danger in all people and animals. When we are afraid that we may be physically hurt, the body naturally responds with a burst of energy. So that we are better able to survive a dangerous situation.
This was a basic survival skill when we were in the “hunter gatherer” phase of human development. It would be hard to estimate how often this basic survival skill was used in any individual lifetime. The “fight or flight” response is used inappropriately in modern society. Often we worry about things that we can do nothing about, or worrying for no reason at all. Environmental stress is another response to things around us. Noise, crowding and pressure from work or family, often result in fatigue. Which over a long period of time, causes a hard toll on the body.
Fight or flight.
Stress was meant for “fight or flight” not for constant use, it burns down our immune systems and uses most of our energy. In this mental state we have little chance of “feeding the good wolf.” We can’t go backwards, the pace of life will only get faster. We will need to adapt quickly to a variety of situations. The onus on us, is to try and calm the mind and to detox stress as much as we can. There are various activities that can be used. Meditation which can be taken to various levels or as simple as the “head space” app on our phone. Gratitude can work it’s own magic, by serving as an antidote to negative thoughts. When you look for things to be grateful for, they are never far away.
Hiking in nature, has psychological benefits that are well documented. Improving creative reasoning through immersion in the “wild” calming the mind and allowing us to “feed the good wolf” with positive thoughts. The lion and the tiger may be more powerful, however the wolf does not perform in the circus. (unknown) The “wildness” of nature may be the best place to “feed the good wolf” moving us away from performing in the circus.