Nature vs Nuture

Who are we really? Are we a result of our nature, an inherent set of ideals and qualities or our nurture, the environment we have been raised in?

More and more, an alternative, spiritual understanding points us to the belief that we are naturally whole, healthy, innocent. That nurture shrouds this with society’s teachings, dictates, personal laws, abuse and harm but that underneath this we are still light, love, a part of the divine consciousness and that by virtue of this, once we wake up to our nature we are able to shrug off the result of our nurture.

There is an age old tale:

An old Cherokee 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 same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

This tale is repeated over and over again because there is something in it that resonates with us: the right and ability to choose. The choice to see our own truth, the choice to feed that truth and the choice to take responsibility for uncovering our light and allowing it to shine no matter the opinions of others or the backlash we may face.

Over and again we come across new ways of getting in touch with our higher selves: journey work, coaching, counselling, breath work, yoga, journalling, mediation, crystal therapy, energy healing, the list goes on. The consensus is that there is work to be done in freeing ourselves from the destructive habits of the past and the thought patterns that we have brought into our present but that not only is it enrtirely possible, it is our choice to do so.

We do make mistakes. We do make the wrong choices but we can do these on the path to a better future. We are human. We are here to learn. We are here to remember who we really are and allow ourselves to live gracefully, lightly and beautifully.

It doesn’t all happen at once and there are moments when we feel lost or frightened or weary but if our reality is created via our thoughts in the moment about our circumstances, rather than the circumstances themselves and we are not a result of those circumstances, rather we have been deterred by them from seeing our truth, then when we finally get an inkling of it, we must choose to be open to it and trust in it and feed the fire of wellbeing rather than allow the clouds of doubt and unhappiness to thrust us back into darkness.

We may be a result of our nurture but our nature, far from being an inherited set of traits and characteristics, is pure, wholesome love. It is our choice to connect with it and anytime we feel we are failing, we have the choice to remember our innocence and try again. Deep down within, we have the strength and resilience and insight to help us on our journey. It is up to us which path we choose.

Header image: John Manila

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