Thread: When you look at a tree in a storm...

  1. #1

    When you look at a tree in a storm...

    I was thinking about life being difficult and confusing and sometimes triggering strong emotions at the moment for many of us around the world - and wondered if this quote from Ven Thich Nhat Hanh's book "Anger" would be helpful in some way.



    “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 to 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 ~ Anger

    Any comments?

  2. #2
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    Very helpful for me right now. Am struggling with depression these days, and I find myself often caught up in a tempest of a strong emotion, as he says. I forget everything other than the depression and negativity that comes with it. This is a powerful reminder for me and also something I can apply in a practical way.

    Thanks, Aloka

  3. #3
    You're very welcome, Lise.


  4. #4
    Forums Member Thinker's Avatar
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    Nice method Aloka, I have never read much of Thich Nhat Hanh works, I would give him time after that. Thank You.

  5. #5
    Glad you liked it, Thinker.....and good to see you again!

  6. #6
    Forums Member JadeRabbit's Avatar
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    I like Thay's reference to observing a tree, I think it can be really useful to reflect on nature when experiencing difficulties in life, as just watching the seasons change teaches us that everything arises and passes away. Spring into Summer, Summer into Autumn, Autumn into Winter, and Winter into Spring again.

    Thay's advice regarding returning to our breathing is also helpful, as by focussing on the breath it can help us take our minds off the strong emotion as well. I've used this technique personally when experiencing panic attacks, and it's also helped my daughters when they have suffered them too.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JadeRabbit View Post
    I like Thay's reference to observing a tree, I think it can be really useful to reflect on nature when experiencing difficulties in life, as just watching the seasons change teaches us that everything arises and passes away. Spring into Summer, Summer into Autumn, Autumn into Winter, and Winter into Spring again.

    Thay's advice regarding returning to our breathing is also helpful, as by focussing on the breath it can help us take our minds off the strong emotion as well. I've used this technique personally when experiencing panic attacks, and it's also helped my daughters when they have suffered them too.
    I enjoyed reading your post, thank you for sharing, JR.

    There's a tree at the bottom of my garden which always reminds me of teachings on impermanence when I watch the leaves falling in Autumn and the new shoots growing in Spring.



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