Thursday, September 24, 2009


"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."
— E.B. White

I wake up in the morning full of energy and enthusiasm
I take a shower, brush my teeth, do a quick meditation, eat breakfast and then proceed to the daily chores.
As long as I stay inside my house, I can control my life with no problems.
The moment I open the door – the physical one or the informational one– the outside world rushes in bringing with it the inevitable negativity.

It could be some well intentioned friend emailing me about the swine flu pandemic.
News of war, death and destruction or economical and political disasters.
It could be some guy cutting me off on the freeway or my boss in a bad mood.
Some colleague with some petty office quarrel or a million other irritating, useless garbage.

You try to stay positive.
You try to be the loving and understanding “good” guy.
You turn the other chick, you make amends, you forgive and forget.
In the end you end up tired and polluted.
You go home, take a shower, do your meditation and go to bed hoping the next day will be a better one.

There is this old Cherokee story:
One evening beside the fire an old man is telling his grandson a story
“Inside every of us there are two wolves in a battle of life and death.
One white, pure and good, full of love, hope, joy, kindness, generosity, compassion and faith.
The other one black as the night, evil, full of anger, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment and hate.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
"Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied,
"The one you feed the most."

I couldn’t agree more – I would just add:
“Be careful who else you let feeding them as well!”


Ted Bagley said...

Maybe the thought of there being two wolves inside us is what feeds the fight.

Buddha said...

Would you be more specific - the fight of whom or what ?

Diego said...

I think perhaps Ted has it rightly.

It is the most difficult thing to me to know that 'right thought' is understanding that I have control over what I think and quite another to control it.

I think it is rather like that old saying about 'when you are up to your ass in alligators it is hard to remember you are there to drain the swamp.'

Buddha said...

@ Diego - The "fight" is a dichotomy.
In a strict Zen way it doesn't exist.
The "white" wolf defines the "black" wolf.
One can not "win" over the other because they are the same.
Yes, Ted is right but not for the reason you think :)

Ted Bagley said...


Buddha said...

PS: Ted knows that there are no one sided arguments and he reminds me of that by playing devils advocate - taking the opposite side of the argument.
I think he wants to keep me straight on the Zen path and protect me from my own folly :)
But Ted; if I wouldn't be silly I couldn't write anything or maybe just:
"everything is the way is supposed to be"
And that is not very entertaining :)

Brooks Hall said...

Thanks for the reminder, Buddha!

Ted Bagley said...

I know, and the silly part really points to the interesting fact of the dichotomy. That the wolves are not opposites. Straight and narrow? HA!!

Talon said...

My mother always says, "If you look for trouble, you'll find it." And I think she's right.

Ted Bagley said...

My blog is all about being your advocate, Buddha. DOHH! You said the Devil's didn't you? ;o

Argent said...

I think good mental hygiene is one way to starve the black wolf: I often find my thoughts drifting into imaginary arguments with people (which, of course I always win :-) ) This is a waste of energy and negative to boot. Any tips on how to school one's chattering monkey brain, anyone?

Flight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flight said...

I think Gandhi said it best, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

Even when you know its pointless due to the actions of others. If you can't live by your own truths then how do you expect someone else to live by them .

As for the wolves , my biggest problem is figuring out witch one is good and witch is evil. When I'm feeding the white wolf I sometimes see the black one getting fat .

Quantum_Flux said...

The secret is to feed them both.

Lydia said...

That's a great Cherokee story!