How Meditation Helped the Thai Soccer Team Survive in the Cave
Proceeding the successful rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach after being trapped in a Thailand cave for 18 days, a Stanford expert explains how Buddhist meditation may have been crucial to the group’s survival.
Leah Weiss, a Stanford meditation expert who trained under the Dalai Lama, claims that meditation attributed to the group’s well-being.
Ekapol Chanthawong, the 25-year-old soccer coach who used to be a Buddhist monk, and his team who ranged in age from 11-16, were discovered meditating in the dark after being trapped by monsoon rain while exploring the cave.
Aisha Wiboonrungrueng, the mother of one of the 11-year-old boys who was rescued, commented in response to a video of the moment the team was discovered, “Look at how calm they were sitting there waiting. No one was crying or anything. It was astonishing.”
“For Buddhists, meditation is a go-to when distressed or in danger,” Weiss explained to CNBC. “Cognitive resources that would otherwise be hijacked by the threat can be accessed once again, meaning that problem-solving capacities increase.”
In response to the lack of both sufficient air and food in the underground cave, Weiss elaborated that meditation dealt with these concernsbecause it “calms you by slowing down your heart rate, your breathing and your metabolism, while decreasing cortisol levels, oxygen utilization and carbon dioxide emission.”
The coach’s aunt agreed that her nephew’s past Buddhist career most likely helped the boys stay calm during the frightening ordeal.