Wednesday, June 20, 2012

worry wolves

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life.
"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight between two wolves.  One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.
The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.  This 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?"
The old chief simply replied, "The one you feed."

Many people suffer from being torn between opposing forces inside of them.  Some of them experience these forces as good versus evil.  Others experience them as rational versus emotional.  Still others experience them as impulse versus self-control.  It is not always a moral fight, but in all cases there is suffering because of an inner struggle.

I see this most frequently in people who worry too much.  Worry tends to manifest as regret or indignation, guilt or apprehension, feeding thoughts that make you feel worse and worse: “I did not do right by my daughter today”, “How dare he say that to me!” or the perennial, “What if… ”.  These kinds of thoughts do not make you any wiser.  They won’t buy you more peace of mind.  They can’t undo what has been done.  They just fatten the worry wolf.

To have peace of mind, to act wisely and do the right thing, you have to feed peace, wisdom and righteousness. Not worry.  So don’t worry.

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