The Battle Within – A Spiritual Story About Overcoming The Ego

An old Cherokee describes an experience going on inside himself….

“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.

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 Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

The author of this spiritual story is unknown and greatly appreciated.

What Is the Spiritual Moral / Meaning of the Two Wolves / Battle Within Story?

This story of the two wolves presents us with a profound spiritual truth: the eternal battle between light and darkness that rages within each of us. It reminds us that we are not merely passive observers in this struggle but active participants, constantly choosing which aspect of our being to nurture and cultivate.

At its core, this story speaks to the power of choice. We are faced with countless decisions every day, each one offering us the opportunity to either empower our higher selves or succumb to the temptations of our lower nature. By recognizing the significance of our choices, we can become more intentional about feeding the wolf of goodness within us.

The dichotomy between the two wolves represents the duality of human experience—the constant interplay between positive and negative forces within our psyche. It serves as a reminder that we are multifaceted beings, capable of both great darkness and immense light. By acknowledging and embracing this complexity, we can cultivate greater self-awareness and acceptance.

The story also highlights the transformative power of our thoughts and emotions. Just as feeding a wolf strengthens it, nourishing our positive qualities—such as love, compassion, and empathy—can lead to their expansion within us. Conversely, indulging in negativity only serves to reinforce its hold over us. By consciously choosing to dwell on thoughts and feelings that uplift and inspire, we can align ourselves more fully with the energy of goodness.

Moreover, the tale underscores the importance of mindfulness in our spiritual journey. By bringing awareness to our inner landscape, we can observe the subtle dynamics at play and discern which wolf we are feeding in any given moment. Through practices such as meditation and introspection, we can develop the capacity to navigate this internal terrain with greater clarity and wisdom.

In addition, the story invites us to reflect on the interconnectedness of all beings. Just as the two wolves exist within each of us, so too do they exist within every other person we encounter. Recognizing this shared humanity can foster greater compassion and understanding in our interactions, allowing us to see beyond surface appearances to the divine essence that unites us all.

Ultimately, the wisdom imparted by the old Cherokee serves as a potent reminder of our inherent power to shape our reality. While external circumstances may be beyond our control, we always retain the freedom to choose our response. By consciously directing our thoughts, words, and actions toward the expression of love and goodness, we can align ourselves with the divine flow of life and contribute to the collective evolution of humanity.

In the end, the question of which wolf will prevail within us is not determined by fate or circumstance but by our own conscious choice. May we always remember the profound truth contained in the old Cherokee's words: the one we feed is the one that will ultimately define us.

Personal Reflection Questions

Spiritual stories are an opportunity to reflect on your own life. Here are 10 questions you can use to go deeper with the teachings in this story:

  1. As you reflect on the two wolves within yourself, which qualities do you find yourself feeding most often in your daily life?
  2. Are there specific circumstances or triggers that tend to influence your choices in feeding either the “good” or “evil” wolf within you?
  3. How do you feel when you recognize the presence of both light and darkness within yourself? Is there a sense of internal conflict or harmony?
  4. Consider a recent decision or interaction where you had the opportunity to feed either the positive or negative wolf within you. What factors influenced your choice?
  5. In moments of challenge or adversity, do you tend to rely more on the qualities of the “good” wolf, such as love and compassion, or do you find yourself succumbing to the tendencies of the “evil” wolf?
  6. Reflect on instances in your life where you have witnessed the influence of the wolves within others. How did their choices impact the outcome of a situation or relationship?
  7. Have you ever experienced a shift in consciousness or perspective that allowed you to consciously choose which wolf to feed in a given moment? What was the catalyst for this transformation?
  8. Consider the role of mindfulness and self-awareness in navigating the ongoing battle between the two wolves within yourself. How do practices such as meditation or journaling support your ability to make conscious choices?
  9. Are there patterns or habits in your life that perpetuate the dominance of either the “good” or “evil” wolf within you? What steps can you take to cultivate a more balanced approach?
  10. As you contemplate the Cherokee elder's wisdom that “the one you feed” will ultimately prevail, what insights arise about the power of choice in shaping your destiny? How can you align your actions with the wolf of goodness within you to create a more fulfilling and meaningful life?

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