There is a Native American teaching that says that we each have two wolves fighting inside of us.
One is evil - it is anger, fear, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, guilt, self pity, judgement, and hate.
The other one is good - it is joy, peace, humility, kindness, generosity, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, and love.
Each of us, no matter who we are or where we are from has these two opposing forces that live within us.
As human beings, we have the capacity to be kind or to be cruel, to love or to hate, to be courageous or fearful, to be accepting or judgemental, to be generous or greedy.
According to the Native Americans, these human qualities are like an untamed animal that is under our care.
The wolf that we feed will strengthen. The wolf that we don't feed will whither. Neither wolf will ever die.
We must be ever aware of these forces that live inside of us and attend to them carefully and with mindfullness.
We "feed" our capacity to be good or to be evil with every thought, word, or action that we take. When we are unaware or act in an unconscious way, we might not know which wolf we are feeding.
We can also feed the wolf in our hearts by "feeding into" somebody else's unkind thoughts, words, or actions anytime we join into gossip, predjudism, or judgement.
If you find yourself being pulled in the direction of unkindness, whether it's your own or it belongs to another, don't berate yourself for having these forces in you. Just know that you have a choice in feeding the negative aspects of yourself, or not feeding them by taking ownership of your thoughts, words, and behaviors. Sometimes this requires leaving an unhealthy relationship or forgiving someone who has done you wrong so that you can let go and move away from the negativity that may be feeding your heart.
Being vigilant about the thoughts that replay in your mind, careful about the words that come out of your mouth, and committed to the right actions that you take each day, will feed the innate goodness within you.
My mom used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Remembering this helps me to stop and think before I speak so that I am sure to cultivate and spread kindness.
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras