In this era of the so called modern and highly developed society, most people perceive and observe the practice/habit/culture of ‘hugging’ and ‘touching’ as a form of showing love, acceptance and friendliness among beings, while they would feel awkward, bad and wrong, or even be offended, if some people don’t have or don’t observe the practice/habit/culture of hugging and touching.
Many yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers might also think and believe that ‘open mind’ and ‘loving kindness/warmness’ means people need to be affectionately hugging and touching one another to be showing non-discrimination, non-separateness, non-intimidation, love, acceptance and friendliness towards all beings, while the absence of hugging and touching is being perceived as ‘closed mind’ and ‘unloving-kindness’/’coldness’ that portrays the quality of discrimination, separateness, intimidation, lovelessness, non-acceptance and unfriendliness. Many also believe that the lack of hugging or touching by another being is highly detrimental to physical, mental and emotional health. They expect all beings, especially yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers should be constantly and actively hugging and touching all other beings that they come in contact with, to show that they are genuine yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers who embrace loving kindness, who are open minded and compassionate beings, while they would be puzzled by the very few of the yoga practitioners who don’t have or don’t observe such hugging and touching habit/culture.
For yoga practitioners who truly want to open their mind, is to be free from being conditioned by such worldly egoistic thinking, belief, values and practice, where the mind understands that ‘the existence and non-existence of open mind and compassion’ is nothing to do with ‘the presence and absence of physical hugging and touching another being’, where it’s nothing bad and there’s nothing wrong with the society having and observing the hugging and touching habit/culture, especially if the minds are pure and desireless, and it’s also nothing bad and there’s nothing wrong with those who don’t have or don’t observe the hugging and touching habit/culture either. Accepting all and everyone as they are, even though certain people behave in the way that goes against the thinking, belief, values and practice of the majority of the society.
Hugging and touching or not, doesn’t really determine the presence and absence of the quality of ‘non-discrimination’, ‘non-separateness’, ‘non-intimidation’, ‘love’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘friendliness’, while the quality of non-discrimination, non-separateness, non-intimidation, love, acceptance and friendliness aren’t necessarily have to be shown/portrayed by physical contact of hugging and touching one another.
Most people would feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely and meaningless upon the absence of physical/mental/emotional interaction of hugging and touching from some other beings. And hence, many people would think and believe that the solution is to be actively giving and receiving affectionate hugs and touches among beings.
It’s the ignorant egoistic passionate mind that has attachment and expectation towards the appropriateness and disappropriateness in social behavior and interaction that would feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely, meaningless, piteous or offended upon the absence or the lack of love and affection in the form of hugging and touching from other beings.
Contemplate upon why the ancient teachings/practice of yoga emphasized on the important observation of solitude and seclusion of non-physical/mental/emotional contact and non-physical touching with any other being, where yoga practitioners and spiritual seekers were being advised to observe solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time, to free the mind from the worldly habitual passionate desire of craving and clinging towards love and affection, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to silent/annihilate the modification of the mind.
One of the common practice/observation in the Ashrams is about none should be physically touching one another regardless of among the same or different gender, especially the swamis, monks and nuns. But, nowadays, in many of the ashrams, even many ‘modernized’ swamis, monks and nuns also don’t observe this practice anymore, and they mingling intimately with one another and the people who come to the ashrams, not to say many of the householders who identify themselves as ‘yoga practitioners’ or ‘yogis’. Many ‘yoga teacher training courses’ also emphasize on the physical hands on adjustment, where the many graduated ‘certified yoga teachers’ think and believe that it’s what a good and professional yoga teacher should be doing/practicing while teaching classes and while socializing/mingling with the students or the yoga community outside of the classes to develop stronger connection and relationship among one another.
There’s nothing wrong with the worldly egoistic thinking, belief, values and practice that propagates widely about “Everyone needs love, affection, hugs and touches.” But that is not yoga practice at all, as that is indeed empowering ignorance and egoism. It’s not any different from keep feeding sugary drinks to the children or keep providing drugs to the people to make them feel ‘happy and good’ from the momentary effects of sugary drinks or drugs and from the gratification of desires by giving people what they like and want. The yoga practice is to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to realize selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, where there’s absence of needing/craving/clinging towards physical/mental/emotional love, affection, hugs and touches from other beings. There’s no need of developing stronger connection or relationship between ‘I’ and ‘the others’ in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, as connection or relationship doesn’t exist in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness. There’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘the others’. There’s no ‘I’ need to be healed by ‘spiritual healing hugs and touches’.
A truly ‘healthy and compassionate’ society exists along with the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism. Everyone can be kind and loving towards one another out of selfless compassion, not because everyone ‘needs’ to give and receive love and affection to and from one another through certain action in order to make the egoistic minds feel good, happy, love and meaningful, or not to feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely, meaningless, piteous or offended upon the absence/lack of love and affection through certain action from other beings, as the ignorant egoistic minds think and believe that it’s so bad and terrible if there’s absence/lack of any form of love and affection among one another.