July 11, 2018

How Meditation helped Save the Lives of the 12 Thai Boys.

Meditation proved to be a key tool in the rescue of the 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand.

Ekapol Chanthawong, the 25-year-old Thai coach of the Wild Boars soccer team, was a Buddhist monk before turning his career to soccer.

When Chanthawong and his team of 12 boys found themselves stranded in a cave, the coach turned to his meditation practice for help. During the two weeks that they spent in the cave before being rescued (including 10 days with no access to food or water), Chanthawong led the boys through meditation practice to calm them down.

In a situation as stressful and dangerous as theirs, staying calm was crucial to the team’s survival. Oxygen levels were a concern both in the cave and on the long journey back to safety. In navigating these dangers, the rescue team had concerns that panic would have the dual effect of increasing the likelihood of a fatal accident and causing hyperventilation, which would put the boys at serious risk of running out of oxygen.

The psychological relief provided by their meditation practice helped them through their frightening time in the cave and as they navigated their way to safety with the guidance of an expert rescue team.

Meditation is a practice extending back thousands of years into human history. It is used by many of the world’s religions and by countless practitioners around the globe.

After many years, modern science is finally coming around to the idea of meditation as a scientifically sound method for relieving psychological stress.

In 2014, a study performed by Johns Hopkins University found that mindfulness meditation was effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and the pains that often accompany them. Countless other studies have also supported the use of meditation as a tool for relieving anxiety.

Though it is rare that we encounter a situation on the scale of the Thailand cave rescue, these 12 boys and their coach are an excellent reminder of the benefits of meditation in times of crisis. If they can lead themselves through such terrifying circumstances using meditation, surely we can all find ways to mindfully navigate through any stress we may face.


Find guided meditation videos from Waylon Lewis, Pema Chödrön, & Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche below. 


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Kelsey Michal  |  Contribution: 126,960

Image: @bbc

author: Kelsey Michal

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Bonus: Guided meditations from Chögyam Trungpa & Pema Chödrön.

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