Hugging meditation is something to practice with people you love and trust, particularly if you have been upset with each other. To begin, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and visualize yourself and your beloved three hundred years from now. Then, open your arms and hug your loved one.
If we can see the impermanent nature of our self and our loved one, we can realize how precious every moment is that we have together. We won’t want to waste our time together by being angry and hurting each other.
When you hug someone, first practice breathing in and breathing out to bring to life your insight of impermanence. “Breathing in, I know that life is precious in this moment. Breathing out, I cherish this moment of life.” You smile at the person in front of you, expressing your desire to hold him or her in your arms. This is a practice and a ritual.
When you bring your body and mind together to produce your total presence, full of life, it is a ritual. You hold the other person in your arms gently, and breathe in and out three times, cherishing the other person’s presence. Then you separate and smile to each other again – a smile of gratitude and love.
– Thich Nhat Hanh
When people start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are.
It’s a bit like saying, “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.” “If I could only get a nicer house, I’d be a better person.” If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.”…
But loving-kindness–maitri–toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.
The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.