Thai Cave Rescue: Harnessing the Power of Calm through Meditation
As the world gave a collective sigh of relief and gratitude this week for the Thailand soccer players and coach who were successfully evacuated and brought to safety in what is being called “The Miracle Rescue,” many are left wondering how they survived their ordeal. It turns out, the ancient practice of Buddhist meditation played a key role in their survival during the Thai cave rescue and when the 12 Thai boys trapped in the cave were first discovered by British divers over a week ago, they were reportedly meditating.
In a fortuitous twist of fate, 25 year-old coach, Ekapol Chanthawong who led them on the 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 reduce anxiety and preserve their energy throughout the two-week Thai cave rescue ordeal.
The practice of mindful meditation, in fact, seems to have played a key role during the recent cave crisis in Thailand that gripped the world, reportedly helping the trapped boys stay calm during their harrowing experience.
Scientifically shown to have profound healing effects in terms of dealing with stressful situations, mindful meditation, including the meditative state regularly experienced during floatation therapy, can be a useful practice when facing extreme stressors.
That meditation can be a life-saving practice when faced with extremely stressful situations – such as being trapped in a cave in grave danger – is really no surprise. Buddhist 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 research has 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 indeed reduce anxiety and depression, as well as pain.
A key component of the practice of floatation therapy and sensory deprivation, mindful meditation, similar to Buddhist meditation, has also been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and pain as well as improving focus and reducing depression.
A 2014 meta analysis by Johns Hopkins researchers for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that meditation, and in particular mindfulness, can have a role in treating depression, anxiety, and pain in adults — as much as medications but with no side effects. Meditation can also, to a lesser degree, reduce the toll of psychological distress, the review found.
Further, according to Brother Phap Dung, a senior disciple of the Zen Buddhist master and author Thich Nhat Hanh: in meditation, “you’re cultivating [peace, kindness, clarity] so you can offer it to others.
“When you sit with someone who’s calm, you can become calm. If you sit with someone who’s agitated and hateful, you can become agitated and hateful.” –Brother Phap Dung, senior disciple of the Zen Buddhist master
Ways to Introduce Mindful Meditation into your Life
For many, the practice of meditating can be daunting. There’s a common misconception that meditation involves being completely devoid of thoughts, which sounds impossible, and this simply isn’t the goal of most meditation practices. With transcendental meditation in particular, being devoid of thought isn’t the goal, rather a continuous practice to not be reactive to your thoughts.
Here are a few ways you can introduce meditation into your life:
Meditation 101 – Are you new to meditation? This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction for beginners.
Sit or lie comfortably and close your eyes; make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally. Next, focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe; observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
There’s an App for that! Of course in today’s technologically driven age, there is an app for everything! This app might be a good way to introduce yourself to meditation practices. Take a deep breath and enjoy the daily calm with the Calm App.
Employ Mindful Meditation. Mindfulness is non-judgmental, open-hearted, friendly, and inviting of whatever arises in awareness. It is cultivated by paying attention on purpose, deeply, and without judgment to whatever arises in the present moment, either inside or outside of us. By intentionally practicing mindfulness, deliberately paying more careful moment-to-moment attention, individuals can live more fully and less on ‘automatic pilot,’ thus, being more present for their own lives.
Discover Mindfulness with Floatation Therapy. Floatation therapy is a natural way to tap into a meditative state and introduce mindful meditation into your life without even trying – you float effortlessly and drop into a calm, meditative state naturally during your float session.
Leaning into the need for finding calm, float centers in the United States aim to bring mindful meditation, long known by the Buddhists to have healing, restorative powers, to the masses.
Mindful Meditation Practice of Floatation Therapy Goes Deep: Healing Benefits for Your Mind and Spirit
Floating is the relaxation practice of lying effortlessly in about ten inches of water mixed with 1,000 lbs of healing Epsom salts for at least 60 minutes (or longer upon request). The water is maintained at room temperature and light and sound are completely removed, giving your senses a rest in a weightless salt water tank that promotes deep relaxation, healing, pain relief, and mindful meditation.
By exploring floatation therapy, lying gravity-free in 1,000 lbs. of healing Epsom salts mixed with water, you experience ultimate relaxation, deep meditation and awareness, along with a deep sense of calm.
It’s widely known that floatation therapy, also known as sensory deprivation, offers health benefits for your body, but did you know that floatation therapy benefits can help you both mentally and spiritually? Floating can help improve your brain-power, your creativity and focus, and even your life!
Key Mind/Spirit Benefits of Floatation Therapy Include:
-Provides Deep Relaxation & Improves Meditation
-Increase Focus & Self Awareness
-Rejuvenation & Renewal
Float Yourself Stress-Free
With all the therapeutic benefits that floatation therapy and mindful meditation bring, it’s no surprise that it has become quite popular with celebrities and athletes, many who’ve floated at Lift.
The practice of meditation can even help you build reserves of calm deep within yourself, and as this news story shows, can even prove to be life-saving if you find yourself in a life-threatening situation that requires extreme calm to survive.
If you are experiencing increased levels of stress, anxiety, or pain, floatation therapy offers the perfect gravity-free environment for quieting your mind, discovering deep, mindful meditation, floating your cares away, and finding your calm.
Let’s face it. Zen Buddhist senior disciple Brother Phap Dung is on to something powerful. We can all use a little more kindness, peace, and calm in our world.
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