Healing from within could start with a hug. Embracing another being transfers energy and gives you both an emotional lift. It’s been said that you need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance, and twelve for growth. The same could be said for meditation, with the addition of mental and spiritual centering. So what’s possible when you combine the two activities? A complete mind and body exercise that has extensive health benefits. This practice is simply known as “Hugging Meditation”.
“You can mindfully hug with a friend, parent, child, partner, or even a tree. To practice, enjoy three deep conscious breaths to bring ourselves fully there. Next, you may begin hugging. Embrace eachother for three conscious breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly. With the first breath, we are aware that we are in this moment and we are happy, With the second breath, we are aware the other is in this moment as we are happy as well. With the third breath we are aware that we are here together, right now on this earth, and we feel great gratitude and happiness for our togetherness. We then may release the other person and bow to eachother to show our thanks.” (by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh)
When we hug in such a way the other person becomes real and alive. We are in turn aware of our internal peace and happiness. There is no need to wait for a special occasion such as a departure or even a hurt, to engage in this healing activity. Hugging as an mental, emotional, and spiritual exercise is a simplistic and graceful activity that could easily be participated in on a regular basis. We do various healthful activities do benefit our bodies, why not hug in a mindful manner and please our souls?
Each simple step to this embrace has purpose and power. With the first breath we become present and aware, our minds are centered. With the second breath we acknowledge the other participant’s presence, in what could be considered to be like saying ‘Hello’ with your heart, not your words. The spark of divine is present for you both at this moment.
On the third breath, you acknowledge that you are both there together as a united whole, one breath, and as a sign of aliveness.This connection with each other can bring about a greater connection with everyone and all species on earth, beyond your physical embrace.
Through hugging meditation you develop a deeper connection with the other and a more genuine experience, than just a standard hug of obligation or show. It’s a practice in mindfulness that encourages you to be more present in what you are doing. Hugging alone has scientific benefits. It increases serotonin levels in the body, which elevates mood and creates happiness. It can instantly boost oxytocin levels, healing feelings of loneliness, anger, and isolation. Hugs also relax the muscles, strengthens the immune system, boosts self esteems, and balances the nervous system. When practiced in a way that incorporates meditation, what’s not to love about a hug?