Sunday, September 12, 2010


@ wolves Pictures, Images and Photos

There is a story about an old Cherokee who told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked, "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


Though I try not to dwell on them, I cannot escape all the stories in the news - murders, thefts, violence, clashes of all sorts, heated demonstrations, politics, division.
The chaos seems never-ending. The hatred, which is at the core of it, seems pervasive. So, lately I've been thinking of hatred and the little story above came to mind. And I saw that the hatred was not just out there, in others. I recognized the inner battle that wages inside me.

It led me to go deeper and deeper until I discovered the hidden sludge, the grime and filth that rests peacefully disguised somewhere in the darkness of my being.

The immersion revealed to me what I didn't want - the hatred within me. Though I may often come across as a Pollyanna, an ambassador of positivity, a bleeding heart who wants to sing Cumbaya and love everyone, the real truth is not pretty or all about love.

Hate is such a strong word. I was taught I must never hate, that only love was the valid passion. So hate learned to hide. I thought I was nice and that I had no room for such a strong and vile emotion. Until, not too long ago, when it surprised me, attacked me and I saw it. And if I hadn't, I think that wolf would have devoured me. I won't go into the details because you needn't know about me. It's best to discover your own hatred and you have some. It is adept at camouflage.

But perhaps, like for me, circumstances will converge for you in a way in which hate cannot but show its raw, ugly, monstrous head. And you will deny it, you will reject it, you will fight it. Then you will accept it. And hopefully, you will ask, "What is it I'm afraid of?"
I think hate originates in fear. If you have the courage, the answers will eventually surge, but know that unveiling our fears is not easy.

I value self-awareness and I know it is something we have to work at. It is best to know who we are, lest we go through life like a shadow or a carbon copy of ourselves - unauthentic, ungrounded, hypocritical. The truth will set you free, they say.

Though love may be the opposite of hate, they are not mutually exclusive. I can love my child, but hate the neighbor's. I can love the underprivileged, and hate the rich. I can hate the haters, while thinking myself superior. I can hate myself, and love my superficial mask, my reputation, my prestige.

Some say love and hate are just two sides of the same coin. That makes sense to me somehow. Or maybe I just wish it were, because as a choice I prefer love. And what a great thing, if we could convert hate to love. Just flip it.

Or maybe we can all just transform hate to love, like an alchemist or a magician, or a god.

But the truth remains. Before we can change anything we first must see it, confront it, name it, accept it as part of ourselves...and not hate ourselves for it. Only then can we let it go. And maybe not only our self-awareness increases but also our self-love, love in general.

The old Cherokee grandfather didn't instruct on which wolf to feed and he didn't say it, but it's important we know there are two wolves and that feeding one, will kill the other.

For a little humor:

" I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally."

W.C. Fields


  1. great post & love that Cherokee story!

  2. Wonderful and reflective post, Myrna. Your raise some great points, and definitely provide some food for thought. The fable of the Cherokee is brilliant, and is a poignant reminder that there is evil and goodness within all of us, but it is the side that we act upon that makes us who we are. I think hatred, though a destructive and harmful emotion, is an intrinsic aspect of our humanity - we, as humans, have both innate badness and innate kindness, and it is this that makes us human.

  3. A lot of what you have shared here goes on in my mind as well. Cherokee wisdom and any tribal world-view is so simple yet profound. Hatred, as Sam mentions is a part of us and it makes us human. But somehow I also feel that a little bit more of hatred makes us inhuman. Only love can wash away hate but sometimes it just does not work. How can I not hate pilfering politicians, conniving citizens and the like.

    I think of people like Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama and wonder what they were made of.

    I am still reflecting on this, dear Myrna.

    Joy always,

  4. I call it the sneaky HATE that comes up at the most un expected times and consumes the very being.
    Unfortunately it goes hand in hand with other emotions and if not taken care of it will destroy. We all have it and we all hide it or suppress it very well.
    A battle that lingers but not impossible to conquer...

  5. wonderful story,...same like an old question, which first? egg or chicken?

  6. ying/yang, right? there can't be good without bad. Sometimes the things we hate the most are a reflexion of our own frustration - both feelings co-exist within ourselves, but which one should we nurture? Well said Myrna!!

  7. nice. i do think they both share a common root and that is passion and emotion...that is why some hate certain things while others revel in with any of our feelings understanding them is hate always bad? is it wrong that i hate kids being hurt? thought provoking post...

  8. fyi...for some reason i can not see your follower button or i would...

  9. Lovely post, Myrna. I love the wolves story! And it's so true, isn't it?

  10. Such wisdom in this post. We all have parts of us that need to be exposed to the light, we all have room to grow and become kinder, more loving people. Perhaps the greatest danger of all is when we become complacent and think everyone else is at fault, but we have no need to change.

    Thank-you so much for dropping by my blog today and for your kind words of condolence about my dear cat. He will be missed but I am so glad we were given the joy of having him in our lives for 8 1/2 years. He was well-loved and will be deeply missed.

  11. I read this again today and was surprised not to see my comment. I remember replying. Perhaps I left the screen too soon. I love this beautiful post, and I very much needed it today. Thank you.

  12. I love how life works sometimes. I have been having some of the same feelings you express and then I read your post. So timely for me and I love the Cherokee story!

    I too have been overwhelmed with all the divisiveness and hate in the world. For me it's so easy to get angry and start to "hate" those I see as the ones who are contributing to the madness. Then I stop and reflect and realize my anger and hate are playing a part as well. Your words are so helpful because I've been trying to practice sending love to all beings and quit being so judgmental. It's all a process, isn't it?