The two wolves

I’d like to tell you a very simple little story, and it has something to do with each one of us, as individuals, as we look at ourselves, as we understand ourselves. And the way this story goes is there was a young American Indian, living in a camp. And one day he approached the chief and said, “Chief, I’m confused.”

And the chief looked at him and he says, “Why are you confused? What are you confused about?” He says, “Well, I see some people who are good sometimes and the other times they’re bad! How can this be? If they’re good, shouldn’t they be good? If they’re bad, shouldn’t they just be bad. But sometimes they’re good; sometimes they’re bad. How can this be?”

And the chief looked at the young kid and he said, “It’s very simple. Inside each one of us we have two wolves—a good wolf and a bad wolf—and they’re constantly fighting each other. And that’s why sometimes people are good and sometimes people are bad.”

So this really got the young kid thinking. And he thought, and he said, “Chief, tell me which wolf wins?” And the chief looked at him and said, “The one we feed the most.

I think after you hear that story you just need to go away, sit down in a quiet room for about an hour, and do a little thinking. Because right there that story says, “Things are not that complicated. That this whole achieving that beautiful thing in your life is not that difficult. All you have to do is feed the right wolf.”

But this is where I will interject—that’s not our strategy. Our strategy is not to feed the right wolf. And the story very clearly says, “Which wolf will win? The one we feed the most.” But our strategy is to beat the bad wolf. And this is why we don’t succeed.

Why do we beat the bad wolf? Because this is what, somehow, we have been told: “Beat the bad wolf.” Sounds logical? Never, ever thinking, “Well, ah, what is that going to do for the good wolf? I should, you know, feed the good wolf, so that the good wolf will be strong.”

But, “No, and let, let’s, let’s figure out a way to beat the bad wolf.” And that’s what we do. “Oh, I made a mistake! Oh my God, I made a mistake. I made a mistake! I made a mistake, I made a mistake, I made a mistake. Oh, man, I made a mistake.”

You have to stop that thing that just comes and beats the…—I won’t say the word, but it starts with a “c”, ends with a “p”—out of you again, and again, and again, and day, and night, and influences your dreams, influences your happiness.

That’s life! That’s life—to know yourself, to understand, to feed the good wolf. Feed the good wolf. When you understand the value of today, you feed the good wolf! When you understand the value of yourself, you feed the good wolf. When you lament in sorrow, when you watch your dreams crumple…

Because you created those dreams; nobody else created them for you. You created them yourself.

You created your dreams. Maybe there are better dreams—doesn’t matter. You’ve got to have the good wolf win in your life.

-Prem Rawat