▣ Part 3. HUGGING EXERCISES
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The following are some hugging exercises designed to expand your understanding of the human emotion dealing with physical contact. All of these exercises are inspired by various research projects and studies. You can use them to deliberately create trust with someone you want to know better. Also, keep in mind that in a meditation circle, trust creates a stronger protective environment for all members of the group.
EXERCISES – the exercises do get progressively harder. These exercises do not follow in any specific order and none of these exercises are required for you to do. Try one and then move to another one. Some people find one well within their comfort zone so they don’t get any benefit from it. For the best benefit, it is desirable to do an exercise that is somewhat beyond your comfort zone; but not so far beyond that you block any learning experience you could gain from doing it – only you know your comfort zone. Give yourself permission to try or pass on any of these exercises.
Obviously, these exercises require two people!
Personal Space Invasion: Stand about four feet away from each other and focus on each other’s eyes. Every 10 seconds or so move a bit closer until, after several shifts, you are well inside each other’s personal space (the boundary for Americans is about 18 inches). Get as close to each other as you can without touching.
Free Falling: This is a trust exercise, one of many that involve feelings of vulnerability. From a standing position, simply let yourself fall backwards into the arms of your other person. Then trade places. Repeat several times and then talk about your feelings. Strangers who do this exercise sometimes feel connected for years to the other person.
Aura Surfing: Place the palm of your hand as close as possible to the other person’s palm without actually touching. Do this for several minutes, and then talk about what you felt.
Soul Gazing: Standing or sitting about two feet away from each other, look deeply into each other’s eyes, trying to look into the very core of the other person’s being. Do this for about two minutes and then talk about what you saw and/or felt. Keep yourself open to the other person by mentally thinking of what you feel about that person. If you drift into personal thoughts about yourself you have most likely lost the soul gaze and unintentionally put a mental haze over your vision.
Two as One Breathing: Embracing each other gently, begin to sense the other person’s breathing and gradually try to synchronize your breathing with his or hers. After a few minutes, you might feel the sensation of merging. (This is a Type 5 Hug.) If you just feel so uncomfortable that you cannot embrace anyone but a close family member, try just facing the other person and gradually synchronizing your breathing for five minutes with the other person. A hint to get you started is to visualize energy flowing out of your solar-plexus (the crevasse where the bones meet in the front of your body) into the other person’s solar-plexus.
Lie to Me: This involves learning to read the simple cues that a person puts in their facial and body movements and in their language. It can be done at a simple level or you can continue practicing at harder and harder levels of communications; but for this exercise, we are going to be doing it at the simplest level. The first thing to you do is stand or sit facing each other. The exercise involves three stages:
(1) In stage one, you are going to tell the other person an outrageous lie about yourself. They are to observe your body language.
(2) In stage two you are to tell the other person something that is true about yourself – it is to be a simple truth. For example, I am 6 ft 1 inch tall. They are to observe your body language.
(3) In stage three, you are to silently think to yourself either a LIE or a TRUE thing about yourself. DO NOT SAY IT OUT LOUD. The observer is to guess (mind-read) whether you are telling a lie or the truth. Repeat the exercise until you are getting accurate mind-reading hits.
Mind-Reading: Write down a simple thought you want to convey to your partner. Then spend a few minutes wordlessly trying to broadcast that thought to him or her, as he or she tries to guess what it is. If he or she cannot guess, reveal what you were thinking. Then switch roles.
Secret Swapping: Write down an important (or deep JAR) secret and have your partner do the same. Then trade papers and talk about what you read. You can continue this process until you have run out of secrets. Better yet, do the Free Falling exercise and save some of your deepest secrets for another day.
Mirror Image Rapport: Standing or sitting fairly near each other, start moving your hands, arms and legs any way you like – but in a fashion that perfectly imitates your partner. This is challenging, but also fun. You will both feel as if you are moving voluntarily, but your actions are also linked to those of your partner.