In Indian culture, physical displays of affection are less common than in western countries. Here, Sadhguru discusses the nature of embracing one another and why it is important to make it a conscious act rather than a compulsive habit.

Questioner: In the Indian culture, physical contact and touching is less common than in the U.S., for example. What are your views on physical contact, especially with people outside the family?

Sadhguru: People want to express their emotions, and there are a whole lot of people who need that expression of emotion from others. If you are from an Indian background, this is generally not seen as necessary because most of us are over-pampered at home, so we do not ask for it outside. I think it is not a question of culture but of individual need. An embrace is a way of including another person as a part of you. Let that happen spontaneously. When you truly feel like it and you hug someone, it is wonderful. But there is no need for it to become a social norm, where every time you see people, you have to hug them. Then the beauty of it is lost.

Hugging or touching everyone you see is definitely not a good thing to do. Especially if you want to organize your energies in a certain way, being in physical contact with lots of people every day is not supportive. But if it comes as a deep expression of how you feel about others, it is a beautiful act.

Editor’s Note: Download the ebook “Sexuality and the Divine”, as Sadhguru’s insight and humor takes the reader on an in-depth discussion about sex, revealing its true nature as an expression of unconscious longing to know the divine. Available on a “pay as you wish” basis at Isha Downloads.

A version of this article was originally published in Isha Forest Flower September 2016.