Hugging meditation, made famous by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, is rooted in the belief that a good hug can have transformative effects.
Thich Nhah Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist who now lives in France. His graceful and simple way of conveying his teachings has helped made Buddhism and meditation appealing throughout the world.
"When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings," Hanh writes. "Hugging with mindfulness and concentration can bring reconciliation, healing, understanding, and much happiness."
How the to do the ‘three hug’ practice:
1. Begin by recognizing the other person.
Start by bowing toward the other person as a way of acknowledging their presence. Then bring yourself fully into the moment by taking three conscious breaths.
2. Go in for the hug (and keep your breathing in mind).
A quick pat on the back won’t really do the trick here. Instead, hold the other person in your arms for three deep breaths. Hanh writes that the first breath should be devoted to you honoring your presence in the moment. The second should honor the other person, while the final breath should be focused on feeling happy and grateful for your togetherness.
3. End with gratitude.
After you release each other, finish the experience by bowing again to express thankfulness for the other person.
According to the practice, you have to really hug the person you are holding. You have to make him or her very real in your arms, not just for the sake of appearances, patting him on the back to pretend you are there, but breathing consciously and hugging with all your body, spirit, and heart. Hugging meditation is a practice of mindfulness. “Breathing in, I know my dear one is in my arms, alive. Breathing out, she is so precious to me.” If you breathe deeply like that, holding the person you love, the energy of your care and appreciation will penetrate into that person and she will be nourished and bloom like a flower.
“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”
— Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
We have previously shared the benefits of mindfulness in motherhood and why it can be helpful to anyone. Each post shares a different strategy to use to bring you in to the present to calm your thoughts and engage you conscious being.