One of my all-time favourites is a Native American legend: An old Cherokee [North American tribal] is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee replied, “The one I feed.”
This little folklore contains a powerful truth that most of us seem to have forgotten: what we focus upon expands. When we give our full attention to something—anything—its influence on our lives grows.
It is convenient to believe that we have no control over the events in our lives and therefore thinking thoughts—positive or negative—does not affect our lives in any manner. As a result of such beliefs, we continue to think negative thoughts, without realising that the same thoughts are manifesting in our lives.
This phenomenon has also become popularly known as ‘The Law of Attraction’, which states that you attract in your life what you think about most. A film called The Secret, based on this universal law, features interviews of several accomplished personalities from varied fields including quantum physics and medicine.
The Law of Attraction is not limited to an individual. It applies equally to our collective, or social consciousness. This is most visible in the effects of mass media on the world. On the surface, it seems that newspapers, television channels and websites only report negative events that occur in the world. Unfortunately, that’s not the truth. The mass media often glamorises events, blowing them out of proportion, and evoking fear, panic, anger, hatred and many other negative reactions among people.
Have you ever wondered why, when the media goes hysterical over any event, more such events begin to unfold all over the world? The reason is that we are collectively focussed on those events.
At the time of writing this, there is mass hysteria over the rapid spread of H1N1 or swine flu. While awareness and caution is necessary in dealing with any impending epidemic, panic doesn’t serve the purpose—it only helps attract more of this event into your life.
When we focus on what’s wrong with our healthcare system, the government, the bureaucrats, and so on, we’re inadvertently part of the problem. Instead of looking at what’s wrong or terrible, we should focus our attention on what we can do, individually or collectively, to combat the problem effectively.
The two wolves that the Cherokee referred to, bark inside each of us. Isn’t it lovely to know that we can starve the bad wolf to death?
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