The black wolf and the white wolf

June 23, 2011, By Atalwin Pilon

There is a story I like to tell my clients, participants and friends. It’s about a wise, old Cherokee Indian. Because I felt like writing about it I just did some Google research and I realized that I unconsciously changed the story slightly. Which is nice, I guess. It means that the story is alive. I also found that there is a second chapter but let me start with the beginning.

A group of Cherokee children has gathered around their grandfather. They are filled with excitement and curiosity. That day there had been a quite tumultuous conflict between two adults and their grandfather was called to mediate. The children are eager to hear what he has to say about it.

One of the children pops the question that puzzles him. “Grandfather, why do people fight?”. “Well,” the old man replies “we all have two wolves inside us, you see. They are in our chest. And these wolves are constantly fighting each other”. The eyes of the children have grown big by now. “In our chests too, grandfather?” asks another child. “And in your chest too?” asks a third one. He nods, “yes, in my chest too”. He surely has their attention now. Grandfather continues. “There is a white wolf and a black wolf. The black wolf is filled with fear, anger, envy, jealousy, greed, and arrogance. The white wolf is filled with peace, love, hope, courage, humility, compassion, and faith. They battle constantly”. Then he stops. It’s the child that asked the initial question that can’t handle the tension anymore. “But grandfather, which wolf wins?”. The old Cherokee simply replies, “the one that we feed”

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