“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 widely shared video of the moment the boys were found.
Turns out that their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who led them on a hike into the cave when it flooded on June 23, trained in meditation as a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a soccer coach. According to multiple news sources, he taught the boys, ages 11 to 16, to meditate in the cave to keep them calm and preserve their energy through their two-week ordeal.
“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.”
Eight out of the 12 boys had been rescued as of Monday, while four more and Ekapol remained stuck inside. Rescuers said they were refilling their oxygen tanks and would be going back in to retrieve the final five on Tuesday.
Ekapol, 25, went to live in a monastery at age 12 after he was orphaned. According the Straits Times, he trained to be a monk for 10 years at a monastery in Mae Sai, Thailand, but left to care for a sick grandmother. He then was hired to be the assistant coach of the team, known as the Wild Boars.
Coach Ake, as he is known, still maintains close contacts at the monastery. The abbot there told the Wall Street Journal he’s “a responsible young man who meditates regularly.”
That meditation would be a useful practice in an extremely stressful situation like being trapped in a cave is really no surprise. Meditation has been around for 2,600 years, since the Buddha began teaching it as tool for achieving clarity and peace of mind, and ultimately, liberation from suffering.
Recently, scientific researchers have shown in clinical settings that mindfulness meditation (a specific meditation practice and one that’s taught in Thai Buddhism and elsewhere around the world) can reduce anxiety and depression, as well as pain. [MORE] According to Dr. Blynd:
meditation - the mind-freeing (emptying) itself from the known, i.e., creating "no-mindedness." 2) the total dissolution of everything that the mind, thought, and time has accumulated. 3) conformation and confirmation of unification (oneness) of creation. 4) the music without sound-images. 5) deliberate daily exercise in discriminating between true and the false and the renunciation of the false. 6) a prescription for devotion. 7) freedom from the constraints of time (tick-tock) by creating the divine vastness (solitude) of inner space. 8) the summation of all energy. 9) a movement in stillness and a stillness among movement. 10) anti-dream efforts/techniques. 11) dream-negating activities/devices. 12) the path of how to drop the senses. Meditation is like the breeze that comes in when you inadvertently leave your window open, and just like love—it cannot be pursued—one must simply be meditative.) 13) the path of how to drop the senses. 14) participation in the celebration of existence. 15) soul medication. 16) contemplation squared. 17) effortless awareness; developing the ability to flow in all directions simultaneously. 18) opening up all doors of one's being. 19) a state where you allow yourself to feel the pull of existence and trust the tug is real. 20) to be with yourself in your absolute aloneness in order that you may have a taste of your true Beingness. 21) an inward contemplation of divine realities through focusing on an object outside. 22) action detached from the future and the past. 23) the bliss of being alone; the art of being alone; solitary refinement—a return to the Self. Stop 'trying' to meditate. Meditation is what happens when you do nothing. Like water eroding stone, idle contemplation erodes tension. Meditation is not a trick of thought—it is the dissociation of thought and of its by-products. It is the seeing of the futility of thought and the ways of the intellect. The objective of true meditation is to annihilate all mind-stuff and meditate upon pure mind. Meditativeness is effortlessly observing the activity of the mind; not the mind-stuff appearing in it or throughout it. Meditation is looking at life without verbalization. [MORE]