The following is a Native American parable in the public domain. 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 represents anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other one represents joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside of you and inside of every person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minutes and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
How do we feed the wolves? What do we feed the wolves? Which wolf do you feed?
Humans feed both wolves at different times in their lives, under certain circumstances, and when under distress. However, a life examined strives to feed the second wolf.
I’ve added a third wolf that represents racism, ageism, sexism, discrimination, prejudice, bigotry, entitlement.
There is enough food, water, and shelter on plant Earth—there really is. However, greedy landowners plunder the soil and sell crops to the highest bidder without concern for starving people. They feed upon greed.
Or despots choke the economy by spending on weapons of war. Medicine and healthcare are used as pawns by powerful dictators. Which wolf does a megalomaniac feed?
In his famous book “Man’s Search for Meaning” Victor Frankl tells the story of how he survived the Holocaust. He found meaning in helping others experiencing the same hellacious experience. Which wolf did Frankl feed?
How do ordinary people living ordinary lives feed the wolves? What wolf do we feed in our families? Living in a house, hut, or high-rise with others can be difficult because of the selfishness of humans. And some take more than they give.
Which wolf do we feed at our workplace? Both bosses and employees get to choose which wolf to feed.
Which wolf will you feed?
Melissa Martin, PhD, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in U.S.