Conflict and the Battle Within- Who wins? Old Indian Wisdom

Photo by patrice schoefolt on

An old Cherokee told his grandson,

“My son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It’s anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego. The other is Good. It’s joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”

The grandson thought about it and asked his grandfather,

“Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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43 thoughts on “Conflict and the Battle Within- Who wins? Old Indian Wisdom”

  1. Fully agree ! I am human and there are the both ‘wolves’ there all the time. I have lived a long and wondrous life and know I am content to ‘sit’ on the cusp of the ‘argument’ – I try to ‘sit’ in the middle and lean towards the side of integrity which brings peace of mind . . .


  2. This isn’t new to the web nor to me; but it’s a delightful piece of wisdom and cannot be bruited abroad too often ! – so well done you, Amanda ! 🙂


            1. Termorrer I’ll take the lift down to Woolies again. Such fun it is, having a supermarket – a HUGE one – on the ground floor. BigW is on the floor above ! 🙂


      1. Yes, I have a beard, although I trimmed it recently because I started a new temporary job. Before it was much fuller – a la mountain man style. I call myself a wolf-man because I love dogs, and wolves are the immediate ancestors to all contemporary canines. I really do have a wolf face tattoo on my right shoulder – a gift to myself for my 45th birthday in 2008.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Many of the old wisdoms from cultures past are so insightful. I used to publish a weekly post on a Sunday and dissect and discuss the layers and nuances of wisdoms. I admire them greatly and our blogger conversations about them were amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Your children and grandchildren are indeed fortunate to hear such wisdom at a young age, Dorothy. It must be so helpful to them when dealing with life’s various challenges. It is a wisdom with so many applications and helpful interpretations that the reader can tailor to each person’s individual circumstances. And I like the underlying message of acceptance it offers. Perceiving and viewing ouraelves as a whole sentient being, despite our flaws. Plus, the helpful advice of how to manage the flaws. Without specifics, it may trigger the reader to think more about how tthat might apply to their life and way of living and managing their particular flaws and positive traits. Where did you first come across this Cherokee wisdom?


      1. As a Sunday school teacher in our Unitarian/Universalist Church! We often use that parable in our children’s studies, and it is commonly also used now and then in our story time for all ages at the beginning of our service. It is simplest for even the youngest to understand, and yet so universal that we all can benefit from pondering these words.
        It doesn’t matter your age, this is such a golden nugget. How often we find ourselves feeding negativity without even realizing it, and the outcome is never good.
        I have always believed the two wolves are actually Love and Fear, the two base emotions that all the goodness or all the negativity spring from. So often, I’ll ask myself “Am I feeding love or fear.”


        1. I had not thought about how love and fear could be the two wolves, the yin and yang, the base for all emotions, but I absolutely agree that’s true and it is quite profound. Fear is behind anger among other emotions like jealousy, sadness, mockery, prejudice, hatred and resentment. While love of course aligns and is connected with all the positive emotions.
          It is right that this parable is so simple it could be understood and applicable to any age. Recognising this truth could even be life-changing. I may well follow your lead in checking in to see what wolf I am fattening by my behaviour.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks Amanda. I remember the first time I read this story to the kids at Sunday school, I was profoundly moved. I embraced it wholeheartedly, and when I’m feeling (jealous, angry, resentful) I stop and ask myself what it is I am fearing. There is always an answer.
            I hope this helps with your own personal checking in, I know it has helped me immensely through the years.


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