None of us really knows how much good or evil we are capable of, but everyone wonders.
When we are young, we like to think that we are all noble and moral. We would never give into the darker emotions inside us. But as we grow older and begin to understand those emotions, we become afraid that they will get the upper hand.
But humans are more complex than that. And an old Cherokee story helps us understand why.
While trying to impart a life lesson to his son, a man says that he has two wolves engaged in constant battle inside him. One is evil, and the other is good.
The evil wolf is made up of all the dark emotions inside him, like greed, envy, anger, resentment, self-pity, and false pride. But the good wolf harnesses the opposite feelings, like love, joy, compassion, humility, and faith.
The man adds that the same two wolves are fighting inside the son, as well as all other human being in the world.
Hearing about this never-ending war, the Cherokee’s young son asks which wolf would finally win.
To this the Cherokee answers, “The one you feed.”
It’s true that every human lives with an emotional duality inside them. We face every moment of our life with our potential for good and evil bubbling just under the surface.
But as the wise Cherokee told his son, our actions depends on which emotions we focus on and harness every day. If we practice kindness and forgiveness, our first reaction to a bad situation would automatically be one of understanding and compassion.
If we let ourselves repeatedly give in to anger and grief, then when life tests us, those will be the emotions that we fall back on.
So, the answer to the age old question is simple. If we want to defeat the evil inside us, we must repeatedly choose the good wolf, until he triumphs in the ultimate battle for our soul.