Hug Me Like You Mean It

Hugging is therapeutic physical contact. You can practice mindful hugging with anyone. It’s probably a good idea to hug someone who knows they’re about to be hugged by you. You shouldn’t hug someone who has a restraining order on you, for example. Hugging is a deep practice that brings feelings of joy, understanding, comfort, and peace.

I practice hugging meditation with my daughter. Sometimes I ask for a hug and she gives me one, and I crush her until she says “ow!.” I absorb all the Oxytocin she has to offer. There’s nothing I love more. Then I usually kiss her face off. Sometimes I come up from behind and bear-hug her because she’s only three and there’s little she can do to stop me. She’s caught on to this deep practice we have. After I’ve yelled at her to go to bed a few times, she will eventually yell back: “GIVE ME A HUG!” in her most forceful, demanding tiny voice. I’m scared not to go back and hug her. Then she crushes me, until my glasses fall off.

Hugging meditation is good for the soul. Hugging is a reminder that you’re glad this person is alive. Hugging meditation is about being present in the moment. It’s not like when you’re forced to give out obligatory “hello” or “goodbye” hugs. You’ve really got to hug this person like you mean it. Just throw your arms around their neck and squeeze until they can’t breathe. This is how you come to appreciate how alive they are in your arms.

Try it. Add hug time to your daily routine. Hug someone you love like you mean it. Feel their arms wrap around you. Inhale their scent. Take him (or her) all in. Feel alive together. Hug them until you don’t want to let them go.

Hopefully they showered.