White Wolf, Black Wolf
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?”
You might heard the story ends like this: The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
In the Cherokee world, however, the story ends this way:
The old Cherokee simply replied, “If you feed them right, they both win.” and the story goes on:
“You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and always fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities – tenacity, courage, fealessness, strong-willed and great strategic thinking – that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength and the ability to recognize what is in the best interest of all.
"You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, 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 knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.
"How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”
–Cherokee Story- See more at: http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=927#sthash.0yWDoTjY.dpuf
Here is the same story known as "The Wolves Within"
An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.
I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and 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.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. 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.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."
Getting it wrong, screwing it up, and the best story ever told on how to fix it! I'd like to share a story about the white and black wolf told from the perspective of the black wolf. This seems urgent and relevant to our times and the story goes like this. A young man with a family, working very hard to put food on the table and provide for his family's welfare, develops a landscaping business. One day, he cuts back a bush and removes a small stump on a client's property. He digs down deep and nicks the water supply line. Water slowly trickles out and then the trickle becomes a steady stream. As more water gushes out and since the grounds are on a slope, dirt starts to move, then it starts to slide. Very quickly, a gusher becomes a landslide and part of the owners' embankment slides down toward the house and into a ravine. Days later, the young man calls the owner and tells him the recent rainstorm washed away part of the bank.
If you have never heard me tell the story of the white and black wolf, settle in a bit. This is a Cherokee story, and old as the mountains I live in.
"Once there was a young boy. He was excited because today was his birthday. He woke early, and parents, beaming with pride, presented him with his first hunting knife. His eyes went wide! Overjoyed he headed off to show the other boys. Later that day, his Grandfather was sitting on his porch, like every other day, and he sees his grandson, walking home. Streaks of dirt washing down his face where tears had been, kicking stones with angry grumbles, the young boy does not hear his grandfather calling to him. Finally, Grandfather stands up and waves and calls louder. Not today, thinks the young boy, in a huff. Ignoring his Grandfather doesn't work, so he finally makes his way over. This should be a good day for you, why are you so angry?, asks his grandfather. The young boy proceeds to tell what happened, how the other boys were mean, and didn't think he should have such a great gift, how he got into a fight because one of them tried to take the knife away, and how in the fight he lost his new knife. As he told his story, the young boy got angrier, felt ashamed that he lost his knife, and promised revenge on the ones that took it.
Grandfather nodded all the while, hmm, he said, yes, I see. He said, let me tell you a story that I told your father, that my grandfather told me. You see, when I was your age, I learned there are two wolves living inside me. One black and one white. Now these are not just any wolves, these are my wolves, and there is a chain that connects them, just long enough so they circle each other, fighting for dominion. They fight each other inside me to this day. The young boy was quiet now. Why are they there, Grandfather? Well, the black wolf is there to hold my anger and my need for revenge and my fear. He is quite a ferocious character. And the white one?, asked the young boy. The white wolf holds all that is light and wise and kind. The white wolf is my peace and compassion. But hear this, the white wolf will fight, and he will fight the black wolf as they circle inside of me. The boy sat with this for a long time, and then finally he looked at his grandfather and asked, Grandfather, which one wins? Smart boy, his grandfather smiled, and he replied, the one I feed."
On a daily, even hourly basis, we're all faced with choices that affect our well being, our means of living, and seemingly even our very lives. We live in a world full of consequences, perceived or real, and the fear of these consequences are like chains, reinforcing separateness, alone-ness, and isolation. This is when the black wolf is strong, and can win. If we face these moments with courage, if we tell the truth, accept we made a mistake, got it wrong, screwed it all up, even when it might mean we lose our job, friendship, relationship, ability to pay our mortgage, feed ourselves, we finally step out of a foggy sense of identity, and we step into knowing who we really are. We achieve a kind of personal mastery and that ultimately leads us to freedom from the image-makers of our times.
The black wolf must exist in all of us; even if we could, it is not in our best interest to starve this wolf, for s/he carries a gift. Anger is the great mover, and it moves us to do something; just as fear is the great changer, and shows us when we must discern our way and choose wisely. The idea here is to walk in balance.
Is the story of the young man a true story? Maybe yes, maybe no, however if it is true, then the young man will shortly be given a choice to tell the truth to the homeowner.
The wolves are circling....