“When you look at a tree during a storm, you see that its branches and leaves are swaying back and forth violently in the strong wind. You have the impression the tree will not be able to withstand the storm. You are like that when you’re gripped by a strong emotion. Like the tree, you feel vulnerable. You can break at any time. But if you turn your attention down to the trunk of the tree, you realize that its roots are deeply anchored in the ground, and the see the tree will be able to hold, it cannot be blown away.
Each of us, in a sitting or standing position is like the tree. When the storm of your emotion is passing by, you should not stay at the level of the head or the heart, which are like the top of the tree. You have to leave the heart, the eye of the storm, and come back to the trunk of the tree. Bring your attention down to your navel – that is the trunk – the most solid part of yourself – and practice mindful breathing. Become aware of the rise and fall of your abdomen. Doing this in a stable position, such as the sitting position, you feel much better. Just breathe, don’t think of anything. Breathe through the movement, the rise and fall of your abdomen. Practice in this way for 10 to 15 minutes, and the strong emotion will pass on through.
You should not wait for emotion to appear before you begin practicing. Otherwise you will be carried away by the storm.
You should train now, while the emotion is not there.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh