A Cherokee Tale
A friend of mine is fond of saying, “Don’t invent the wheel.” He is smart but so focused and driven that he doesn’t see the value in the creative process. He wants to complete the job–not innovate. He usually picks quick and dirty over thoughtful and neat figuring that either way, the job gets done.
Life presents us with choices. When there are no guarantees, the element of chance plays a role. A good decision-maker will try to reduce that chance to a minimum by being careful, analytical and weighing the options to find the best solution. These qualities differentiate leaders from followers. The process is guided by deeply held personal values, a calm disposition and temperament, a character that embraces compassion, selflessness and honesty. Beneath this person’s skin is that rare individual who is both tough but maternal, generous but not extravagant, intelligent but not conceited. Here is a guide, a mentor—a chief.
This makes me reflect on an one of my favorite parables passed down hundreds of years first in the Cherokee language and later spread through Native American tribes and translated into English. It endures because of its powerful, simple but elegant truth. It is a short story of humanity itself.
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?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
A spoken version of this can be found below in the form of a wonderful guided meditation from the yoga and meditation master, davidji. His voice adds beauty, interest and depth to this journey.
I send this to uplift my readers (and listeners) as we all need a reflective tiramisu—a pick me up, from time to time.