When you look at a tree in a storm, you see that the top of the tree is very unstable and vulnerable. The wind can break the smaller branches at any time. But when you look down at the trunk of the tree, you have a different impression. You see that the tree is very solid and still, and you know that it will be able to withstand the storm. We are also like a tree. Our head is like the top of the tree during a tempest of a strong emotion, so we have to bring our attention down to the level of our navel. We begin to practice mindful breathing. We concentrate just on our breathing and on the rise and fall of our abdomen. It is a very important practice because it helps us to see that, although an emotion may be very strong, it will stay only for a while and then go; it cannot last forever. If you train yourself to practice like this during difficult times, you will survive these storms. You have to be aware that your emotion is just an emotion. It comes, stays for some time, and then goes away. Why should someone die because of an emotion? You are more than your emotions. It is important to remember this. During a crisis, when you breathe in and out, maintain the awareness that your emotion will go away if you continue to practice. After you have succeeded a few times, you will have confidence in yourself and in the practice. Let us not get caught by our thoughts and feelings. Let us bring our attention down to our belly and breathe in and out. This storm will go away, so don’t be afraid. – Thich Nhat Hanh.
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