by Alanna Ketler; Collective Evolution
Recently, 12 Thai boys had been discovered after being trapped in a cave during a heavy monsoon. They all made it out alive and are in good health.
One may wonder, how on earth were these boys able to remain calm while in the cave with no knowledge as to whether or not they would be found?
They were reportedly taught a method of Buddhist or mindfulness meditation to assist them with their intensely physical and emotional challenge.
“Look at how calm they were sitting there waiting. No one was crying or anything. It was astonishing,” the mother of one of the boys told the AP, referring to a viral video of the moment the boys were found.
How Did This Come About?
The boys’ coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, had led the boys on a hike into the cave that they had been to before, but sadly due to heavy rains, the cave flooded on June 23, trapping the boys inside. Thankfully, Ekapol had been trained in the practice of meditation while he was a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a soccer coach.
As it turns out this skill was a very good one to have considering the circumstances of their predicament. Multiple news sources reported that he taught the boys, aged 11 to 16 how to meditate in the cave to keep them calm and to preserve their energy through their nearly two-week dilemma.
“He could meditate up to an hour,” Ekapol’s aunt, Tham Chanthawong, told the AP. “It has definitely helped him and probably helps the boys to stay calm.”
Ekapol, 25 went to live in a monastery at the age of 12 after becoming an orphan. The Straights Times reported that he trained to be a monk for 10 years at a monastery in Mae Sai, Thailand, but eventually left to take care of his sick grandmother. After that, he was hired to become the assistant coach of the soccer team, the Wild Boars.
Keep in mind, these boys had no food and very little water while in the cave.
Did The Meditation Save Them?
There is really no way to know the answer to that question with absolute certainty, however, it must have helped tremendously. Meditation can assist to calm the mind, lower stress and help to connect to the power within. This particular style of Buddhist meditation has been around for thousands of years after the Buddha began teaching it as a tool for achieving a level of clarity, peace of mind and a liberation from suffering. No doubt the boys would have felt some despair while in the cave, but it seems as though the meditation was able to help negate some of those emotions.
Though there are few randomized control trials on meditation and mental health, a 2014 meta-analysis by Johns Hopkins researchers for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that meditation, and in particular mindfulness, can have a role in treating depression, anxiety, and pain in adults — as much as medications but with no side effects. Meditation can also, to a lesser degree, reduce the toll of psychological distress, the review found. The research on kids is still fairly preliminary, though more and more schools are implementing mindfulness meditation programs.
How Can This Assist You?
Do you ever feel as though you’re trapped? There are heavy and pressing issues, but you just can’t seem to find a solution, the clarity that’s needed or a way to lessen the burden on your shoulders? If these Thai boys were able to stay calm while being physically trapped through the power of mindfulness meditation, then certainly there may be something here for you, too.
Meditation, in general, may be able to assist you to help you find the clarity and peace that you’ve been longing for, and the best part is — it can be done anywhere, anytime and for free. We have everything we need inside of us, we just have to take the time, to sit down, breathe and listen. To learn the practice of Buddhist or mindfulness meditation specifically, check out, An Introduction To Mindfulness Meditation, or dozens of other articles about the wide array of techniques, guides, and benefits of incorporating meditation into your life.
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