A Native American elder once described
his own inner struggles in this manner: "Inside of me
there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The
other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all
the time." When asked which dog wins, he reflected
for a moment and replied, "The one I feed the
dog are you feeding? How are you feeding it?
What are you giving it to help it grow strong and
might help to ask what kinds of nutrients the good dog
needs to grow stronger than the other dog. If I want
the "good dog" to be the strongest, then I know
that I have to fill my mind with positive thoughts and
ideas, uplifting stories and poems, beautiful images and
songs. I know that I have to encourage people,
forgive, allow, compliment, help. I know that I need
to maintain my physical health, my emotional health, and
my spiritual health.
I want the "bad dog" to be vanquished to the dim
recesses of my spirit, then I must do my best not to feed
it at all. I have to make sure that I don't give it
nourishment by harboring anger, guilt, frustration, fear,
resentment, and all those other wonderful things that we
often tend to harbor. I mustn't fill my mind with
images of crime and violence and people hurting
people. I mustn't judge others and put myself above
them, for when I do I'm nurturing the part of myself that
does not deserve to be nurtured.
is a beautiful image. "The one I feed the
most." Which part of yourself do you feed the
most? What do you feed it with? If you want
the good side to grow stronger, is it really just a
question of feeding it more of the food that it needs to
be healthy and whole? I believe that it is--so what
are we waiting for? The stronger our good side
grows, the more capable we all will be of helping others
to develop their good sides, too!
What kinds of spiritual nourishment do you put inside
yourself? How do you feed your spiritual self?
What would your life be like if the "good
dog" always vanquished the bad dog, in all the things
that you do?
Where might you find more good things to feed your
You have choices to make every day. One of those choices is to
determine what goes into your mind to help to form the
person who you are. If you let in courage,
compassion, love, hope, empathy, peace, devotion,
consideration and other such qualities, just guess what's
going to be coming out of you? On the other
hand, if you constantly fill your mind with hate, anger,
violence, murder, rape, revenge, torture, abuse, prejudice
and other such qualities, guess what's going to be coming
out of you? You probably won't start acting like the
characters you see, but your perspective definitely will
be affected by what you've let into you.