Meditation in Total Darkness

Meditation in Total Darkness

How Buddhist meditation kept the Thai boys calm in the cave

The boys’ coach lived in a Buddhist monastery for a decade and taught them to meditate in the cave.

When the 12 Thai boys who were trapped in a cave and were rescued one by one were first discovered by British divers earlier this month, they were reportedly meditating.

“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…”

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Greg Heffron

Senior Mindful Communication Instructor Gregory Heffron MFA owns and manages Green Zone Institute. He was the first certified teacher of Mindful Communication authorized by Susan Gillis Chapman. He has been teaching Mindful Communication workshops since 2009, and has been a mindfulness meditation teacher since 2005. In 2005, he apprenticed with senior Mudra Space Awareness teacher Craig Smith, and became authorized to teach this unique mind-body meditation technique — included in nearly every workshop. In 2007, Greg co-taught with Smith to fourth year students in the Dance Division at the Julliard School in New York. Greg teaches Mindful Communication and Mudra Space Awareness primarily in North America and Europe. In 2003 Greg graduated with an MFA in Nonfiction Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. He coaches individuals, teaches workshops, and consults with businesses and organizations like Shambhala Mountain Center, Dechen Choling Buddhist Retreat Center and others.