Weathering Strong Emotions

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 in Blog, Product & Book Reviews | 0 comments

Vrksasana_tree posture_red


Essential Wisdom for Getting Through The Storm

by Thich Nhat Hanh


“When you look at a tree during a storm, you see that it’s 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 direct your attention down to the trunk of the tree, you see things differently. You see that the tree is solid and deeply rooted into the ground. If you focus your attention on the trunk of the tree, you realise that because the tree if firmly rooted in the soil, 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 in the thick of the storm, the level of the brain or the chest.  When you are overwhelmed by strong emotions don’t stay there – its too dangerous.  Bring your attention down to your naval – 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.”


 Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. He lives in the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France, travelling internationally to give retreats and talks.



Tree pose image courtesy of Judith

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