Give your Presence: The Hugging Meditation

stress management

Hugging is more than you see in this picture. I remember reading in Chicken Soup for the Soul what Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen shared about Lee Shapiro who is a retired judge. At one point in his career, Lee realized that love is the greatest power there is and Lee became a hugger. He began offering everyone he met a hug. He started to be called ‘The Hugging Judge’. The bumper sticker on his car read “Don’t bug me, hug me!” Lee’s story is a fantastic story. Lee is making a difference

As a young person I was not a person who gave hugs. I felt uncomfortable with the idea but now like Lee Shapiro I am a convert and I am working on being the best hugger I can be. In fact, I remember reading what renowned therapist Virginia Satir said “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Virginia has a great idea.

Now, perhaps you know some huggers who when they hug you they feel like they are not there. I want to make sure I am present when I give a hug so today I am pondering deeply what Thich Nhat Hanh had to say in his book Peace Is Every Step about an idea he calls ‘the Hugging Meditation’. He suggests we need to breathe deeply and consciously when we hug someone so we make sure we are really present.

I am willing to practice this since I personally don’t like the idea of experiencing a vacant hug so I want to make sure I am giving a hug that shows the person I hug I mean it.

Perhaps, it is just the season of giving that is on my mind but I really do believe that practicing hugging and the hugging meditation are a great idea. Are you present when you hug?

Your friend on the journey,


By the way, if you are interested I previously shared Thich Nhat Hanh’s idea of Conscious Breathing in the this article Stress Destroying Breathe.