“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 most.” ― George Bernard Shaw
The ‘thing’ in us that gives rise to, and determines the quality of our actions is something called intention. It is the big WHY behind every action we execute. To have intention is to be able to determine at the most basic level what we want the desired outcome of an action to be. The good dog in us wants to act in a way that serves the common good. The bad dog’s intention is to serve self regardless of the consequences to others.
Every time we choose to act in the best interest of the other we are feeding that good dog and starving the mean evil dog. This is not always easy because it requires that we become more and more selfless in our behavior. It demands that we suppress our want of immediate self-gratification in the interest of perpetuating the common good.
Acting unselfishly engenders a nobility that although uncommon, is essential to the building of viable communities. It is what we mean by "being in the world" but not "being of the world". Ultimately it is how we potentiate the possibilities of being Mankind’s "best friend".
Let us resolve to feed the good dog in us in this New Year.