One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. 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 his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
This raises the question, 'Which wolf do we want to feed?
At times when we feel we have been wronged, rather than remaining in control of our emotions we spend our energy feeding the negative emotions that lie within us; the emotions of anger, worry, irritation, bitterness, and getting revenge. Instead of overlooking such incidents, forgiving the source and moving on, we create an emotional storm which takes on a life of its' own with nothing but disaster and devastation to our peace of mind and happiness.
Theologian Emmet Fox, once stated that, there are really only two feelings into which all the seeming variety of feelings reduce themselves: "All other feelings, so-called," he writes, "will turn out upon analysis to be either love or fear." Anger, hatred, jealousy, and criticism, for instance, are actually fear in disguise. On the other hand, joy, interest, the feeling of success and accomplishment, and appreciation are really forms of love. He reminds us that love is creative while fear is destructive. Love rebuilds, inspires, expands, and opens the way, while fear harms the body, paralyzes, closes us down, and throws a pallor over everything. It's up to us to decide whether love or fear will be the dominant tone and atmosphere of our lives, the guiding factor. In other words, it our choice which wolf we want to feed.
Every now and then, we all face situations that test our patience, and our instant reaction is uncontrolled anger. There are a myriad of other ways to handle these undesirable situations. The key is to remain calm and in control of our automatic reactions, think things through and choose the best options that are worthwhile in the eventual outcome for all concerned. We should take the time to choose between love or fear, kindness or rudeness, peace or anger, serenity or violence, compassion or numbness, intimacy or coldness. If we can't feel the positive emotions under certain circumstances and situations, does not mean we must resort to the negative emotions of anger, bitterness, coldness, disdain, or cruelty.
We can make the choice to remain joyful and calm or angry and miserable, regardless of what is actually happening "outside" our personal control. All we have to do is to control and change our conscious thoughts and guide them toward positive reactions. We all know individuals who can transform hopeless situations into challenges to be overcome, just through the force of their personalities and thought processes. This ability to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks is the quality people most admire in others, and justly so, it is probably the most important trait not only to live a peaceful life but also to enjoy life.
With this framework in mind what then does it mean to be conscious? It simply means that certain specific conscious events such as sensations, feelings, thoughts and intentions are ever present and it is entirely up to us to make the positive choices and direct them toward positive outcomes.
It is entirely up to us to decide which wolf to feed, the evil one or the good one.