“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose
our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” - Viktor Frankl
We often imagine scary images, words, and stories during stressful times. We also struggle hard to overcome these problems with our limited resources. But the rescue of 12 young boys trapped for two weeks inside a cave in Thailand, has broadcast the message of the power of meditation, in successfully overcoming a life-threatening situation very resoundingly to the world.
On June 23, a group of 12 members—aged between 11 and 17—of the Wild Boars football team, along with their assistant coach, Ekapol Chanthawong— aged 25—entered the Tham Luang Nang cave in the Northern Province of Chiang Rai to celebrate a team member’s birthday. The cave usually draws countless visitors around the year, without any mishaps. However, it was flooding season, and the boys were trapped when a seasonal downpour flooded the tunnels. Ekapol Chanthawong saved the lives of his boys by teaching them meditation, thus enabling them to remain calm.
As the world waited for their rescue with bated breath, it was totally a different scenario with the boys. Aisha Wiboongrungreung, mother of the youngest boy, pointed out that it was astonishing to see the children sitting calmly with no lines of stress on their faces, waiting to be rescued.
Turned out that Ekapol Chanthawong, born in Myanmar, before becoming a football coach, had spent several years as a Buddhist monk and learnt how to conserve energy by restricting movement
and meditating. According to the local news, it is this expertise that enabled the trapped boys to remain
calm and alive. Stanford University meditation expert Leah Weiss, who was taught by the Dalai Lama, says that
meditation was probably the tool that kept the group alive. “For Buddhists, meditation is a go-to in times
of distress or danger,” she added.
Meditation calms you by lowering your heart rate and breathing rate, which lessens your oxygen utilisation, and allows you to be with the present. Three cheers for meditation!
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