The Real Story of the Two Wolves
Many of us have heard the Native American story of the two wolves. The modern version spread on the internet, however, varies from the original story and leaves out a fundamentally different, yet important, lesson.
Here is the version you’ve likely seen already:
A Cherokee elder speaks to his grandson about life. “A battle rages inside me,” he says. “It is dangerous and it is between two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, and faith. The same fight goes on inside of you and inside of everyone else as well.” The grandson pondered his words and asked, “Which wolf will win?”
In the version you’ve likely heard, the old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
But here’s how the original story of the two wolves really ends:
The old Cherokee smiled and replied, “If you feed them right, they both win.” The story goes on. “You see, if I only feed the white wolf, the black wolf will hide in the dark waiting for me to falter so that it can pounce and get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and will always be fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, both he and the white wolf can be satisfied, and we all win.
For the black wolf has qualities that I need and that the white wolf lacks: tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strength of will, and resourcefulness. The white wolf instead provides compassion, caring, heart, and the ability to value the needs of others over my own.
You see, the two wolves need each other. Feeding only one and starving the other will eventually make both uncontrollable. Caring for both allows them both to serve you, so that you can do something greater, something good with your time on earth. Feed them both and you will quiet their internal struggle for your attention, and, when there is no battle inside, you can then hear the voices of deeper knowledge that will guide you in choosing the right path in every circumstance.
Peace, my son, is what we must all strive for in life. He who has peace inside has everything. He who harbors a storm within his heart and soul has nothing. How you choose to treat the opposing forces within you will ultimately determine how you live.”
Starve one or the other or guide them both. This is the true message of the story of the two wolves.
Here at ChipMonk, our mission is to help our Customers indulge mindfully. We understand that we can’t simply ignore the feelings within us. Sometimes you have to feed your desires, but we aim to help you do so in a balanced way that will leave you feeling better and energized to take on the challenges and joys of life. So let loose from time to time. Treat yourself the way you deserve but without falling off the path towards self-improvement. We’ll always be here to help along the way.