You might remember, if you have seen my last blog post, that my brother Lee and I are working on writing a tribute to my grandfather for his upcoming 80th birthday. The project has actually been pretty easy on our part because Grandpa is a very reflective man and has jotted down a lot of notes and thoughts as he has come across them. Recently, while going through his notes, I came across a little parable that really caught me dead in my tracks. It was one of those 'Ah Hah' moments and gave me a little knowledge as to why my path took a couple wrong turns years ago. This is the parable:
An elderly Cherokee indian was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil: he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. The other is good: he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The fight is going on inside you and every other person too.” They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
My natural tendancy is toward the negative. I wish that weren't the case, but it is. Without keeping a close eye on myself, through prayer and reflection, I will form deep, ingrained habits of thinking negatively.
About 10-12 years ago, maybe earlier, I walked away from prayer and reflection and let my thoughts go wherever they decided to go. What happened is that, unaccountable, my mind developed deep, solid, ingrained habits of negative, self-defeating, false thoughts.
As I've tried to turn this around, it's been a huge challenge. I try to conciously stop the negative thoughts and turn them into positive, rational, truthful thoughts. After about 5 years of this, my thoughts are slowly changing into the positive realm. But, those negative patterns of thinking do come back regularly and attack when I am weakest (tired, bored, or stressed out).
Physiologically, I think our thought patterns work like water flowing down a river. Water always takes the path of least resistance. If we build deep, ingrained negative thought patterns, our thoughts will quickly and easily take that route time and time again. My goal is to build up a bank against that negative pathway of thoughts, and begin digging a deep, ingrained pathway of positive, rational thoughts. Obviously, in my opinion, this is a futile goal without regularly feeding myself on and building up my faith and trust in God.
So, which wolf are you feeding. Do you concentrate on the positive, truth, God-fearing thoughts, or do you sometimes become lazy and let your mind take off on the negative route? Which route is your natural tendancy?