Boys Currently Trapped in Thai Cave Using Meditation To Keep Calm

Light from the depths of a mineshaft.

A soccer team of boys currently trapped in a cave in Thailand have been filmed smiling and in good spirits, despite the possibility they may be stuck there for weeks or even months to come. According to reports, the boys’ calm demeanor can be attributed to meditation techniques taught by their coach who is confined in the cave with them.

Having now been imprisoned for nearly two weeks, the boys are relatively healthy, though they are showing signs of weakness from malnourishment and muscle atrophy. It took days for rescuers to reach them, while footage of their initial discovery showed the youths calm and gracious, despite the dire situation.

Their coach, Ekkapol Chanthawong, is a former Buddhist monk who lived in a monastery for 10 years. During that time, he learned the benefits of meditation and continues to practice on a regular basis.

“He could meditate up to an hour,” said Chanthawong’s aunt. “It has definitely helped him and probably helps the boys to stay calm.”

It took 10 days before the boys were discovered by foreign rescue divers and Thai Navy SEALS. The boys became trapped while exploring the Tham Luang Nang Non caves following a soccer game. The caves filled with flooding water due to the country’s monsoon season, trapping them more than a mile from the entrance.

Professional divers have trouble making the trek to bring the boys supplies, as the route through the cave consists of narrow underwater stretches and tight, pitch black holes that must be squeezed through with heavy equipment. One former Thai Navy SEAL has already died from a lack of oxygen while attempting to set up a series of oxygen tanks along an escape route.

The challenging features of the cave have proven so difficult for professional divers, that attempting to extract the kids with scuba gear now seems to pose too big of a risk to their lives. One diver called it the Mount Everest of cave diving, meanwhile some of the boys don’t even know how to swim.

Chanthawong’s meditation history is thought to have maintained the kids’ mood, providing them with the necessary tools to assuage their panic, boredom and fear. Not only has he maintained stability through meditation, Chanthawong has also foregone eating to ensure the children have enough food for themselves.

According to a Time magazine interview with one of the boys’ grandfathers, he said he would devote the rest of his life to becoming a Buddhist monk if the boys are returned safely.

While many would find the boys’ calm attitude astonishing after being trapped for so long, those with meditation experience can attest to its powerful effects, especially in stressful situations.

Meditation has been clinically proven to reduce blood pressure, manage ADHD and balance one’s emotional well-being. And in this unfortunate and frightening situation, their coach’s use of meditation may be the best tool he could have had to maintain sanity and keep them alive.

Rescuers are currently trying to pump water out of the cave to allow the boys to wade their way out, but the country’s rainy season has thus far thwarted their efforts. Because of the risks associated with most of their rescue options, there is a possibility that the boys may have to wait out the rainy season, meaning they could be trapped in the cave for months.

This would be an ideal time to use the power of group meditation to direct positive energy toward these children and rescuers working to save them as all of their lives are at risk until they can be safely pulled from the cave.

Update 7/10/18 : All of the boys and their coach have now been rescued from the cave.


Start a consistent meditation practice with Sally Kempton’s series Falling in Love With Meditation:

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