Hugging Meditation-A Gift to Children from Thich Nhat Hahn

This post is for the children in our lives. It’s from Present Moment, Wonderful Moment: Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living by Thich Nhat Hanh. The verses in this book, called gathas, can be a wonderful, skillful means for bringing mindfulness to our daily lives, our activities, and our relationships with others.

The gatha below is a simple “hugging meditation.” May this simple practice bring you closer to your children, and them closer to you. In loving, mindful embrace, may you feel that which was not born, will not die, and will never be lost.

Hugging Meditation

Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing in, I am so happy to hug my child.
Breathing out, I know she is alive and real in my arms.

Suppose a lovely child comes and presents herself to us. If we are not really there—if we are thinking of the past, worrying about the future, or possessed by anger or fear—the child, though present, will not exist for us. She is like a ghost, and we are like a ghost also.

If we want to meet the child, we have to go back to the present moment in order to meet her. If we want to hug her, it is in the present moment that we can hug her.

So we breathe consciously, uniting body and mind, making ourselves into a real person again. When we become a real person, the child becomes real also. She is a wondrous presence, and the encounter with life is possible at that moment. If we hold her in our arms and continue to breathe, life is. This gatha can help us to remember the preciousness of our loved one as we hold him or her in our arms.


Seeding the Heart: Loving-kindness Practice with Children

(click to download PDF)


About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

4 Responses to “Hugging Meditation-A Gift to Children from Thich Nhat Hahn”

  1. Hi! I’d like to use this photograph for an essay: should I get permission from you, or is this photo from another source?

  2. Peace and light,

    I enjoy your blog site.
    I hope all is unfolding in your life in ease, joy, harmony, and abundance!!!
    Have a great 2011!!!

    Bright blessings,

    Ten Nebula

  3. Shall we “gatha” by the river? Or the hallway? the living room? Anyplace where we can let our selves “be there” for a kids.

    This is hitting close to home. Think I’ll “hit” my 18-year-old son, Nick, with one of these “gathas.”


    michael j

    • Hey michael j! You always make me smile! Yes, we should “gatha” everywhere we can, bringing the loving presence of mindfulness to everything.

      All the best to you, and Nick, and yours,


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