This is a quote from ZEN master Thich Nhat Hanh.
“Hugging meditation is a practice I invented in 1966, a woman poet took me to the Atlanta Airport and then asked, “Is it all right to hug a Buddhist monk?”
In my country, we are not used to expressing ourselves that way, but I thought, “I am a Zen teacher. It should be no problem for me to do that.” So I said, “Why not?” and she hugged me.
But I was quite stiff. While on the plane, I decided that if I wanted to work with friends in the West, I would have to learn the culture of the West, so I invented hugging meditation.
Hugging meditation is a combination of East and West.
According to the practice, you have to really hug the person you are hugging.
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 care, love, and mindfulness will penetrate into that person. She will be nourished and bloom like a flower.
At a retreat for psychotherapists in Colorado, we practiced hugging meditation. One retreatant, when he returned home to Philadelphia, hugged his wife at the airport in a way he had never hugged her before. To be really there, you only need to breathe mindfully, and suddenly both of you become real.
It may be one of the best moments in your life.”