When we have emotions, unpleasant emotions, what makes it worse is our thinking, our thoughts. It is very interesting when we have an emotion. If you have space in the mind to watch your thoughts you’ll realise how thoughts come so quickly at that time and how you can create a big story about what is happening. And sometimes a small emotion can really blow up just by this process of thinking.
Maybe a practical example would be if someone has made you angry, at least you think that someone has made you angry. Then what happens to you? You’ll be having thoughts about that person, how that person has been behaving in the past and all such things, so that your whole attention will be centred on that person; and with the negative thoughts about that person your anger becomes worse and worse. In such a situation we can really lose control. Actually at that moment the emotions and the thoughts really control us, they really overwhelm us, as we all know. So for someone who has been making a connection with our friend in this way, at that moment, if they can spend some time with the breath, just the in-breath and the out-breath, just being completely with it, then at least for a few minutes the fermenting of that emotion with thoughts will become less.