Travel To Grow

Understanding The World Through Travel

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Dec '10

Christmas and Free Hugs in Beijing

This christmas in Beijing was one to remember.
My girlfriend Jen and I decided to create a free hugs event here in Beijing

Free hugs is not a new idea… but even the idea of simply hugging is not too common here in China.
Jen and I wanted to spread some love, and some Christmas spirit to anyone we could.

Check out the video I made for it:

To me free hugs is about connecting with strangers.

I think of it this way:

In life, we are too involved with the idea of separation. We separate ourselves into groups such as countries, races, classes,  and social groups… and based on this idea we tend to care less about people based on how far ‘separated’ they are from us.

My friend once told me a story here in China where she witnessed a motorbike crash. The driver was in rough shape so my friend rushed to help him. As she reached the man she saw he needed an ambulance, and not knowing how to call one herself (in Chinese) she yelled at the passing people for help. The people however did not stop to help her. They looked at her and passed her by, or simply ignored her. My friend explained that in China if someone is your friend they will go far out of their way to help you with compassion, however if you are a stranger, they couldn’t care less.

The only reason this attitude is prevalent in some people, is because of the idea of separation. Instead of seeing the people of the world with a spirit of oneness, we pick and choose select individuals and deem them worthy of our compassion.

On different levels this leads to things like wars between countries, hatred between races, poverty between classes, disputes between social circles and indifference between strangers.

With free hugs however this idea of separation is abolished. Everyone, no matter who they are, no matter what country, color, or class they belong to, are given free hugs. It doesn’t matter that they are complete strangers. It doesn’t matter if you’ll never see them again. All that matters is spreading a little love, friendship and compassion between people.

When you can give some love to a complete stranger, it helps free your mind from any notions of separation between people that you hold, which I think is a very valuable thing.

When you begin to see the whole world as your country, and all of it’s people as your friends, the world becomes a friendlier place. You’ll begin to notice that if you talk to strangers or anyone in your life, as if there was no separation between you, and as if you were already friends, they’ll see you as a very approachable person and you’ll get a much friendlier response from them.

See where in your life the concept of separation is a strong one for you, and see if you can look at the people with a spirit of oneness… and if you have the chance, give someone a hug!

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