As the world watched with bated breath, and as chaos, with reporters, cameras and security ensued outside the cave, it was a different scene altogether around the trapped boys. Any person, especially a child, would be panic-stricken if left alone for so many days in the dark, cut off from the rest of the world, without food and depleting oxygen levels. But not the heroes of this story. The 12 Thai boys and their coach who were finally found 10 days later after their disappearance, were found in a rather clam state inside the cave.
Turns out that Ekapol Chanthawong, the 25-year-old coach is a former Buddhist monk. He had spent around 10 years living the life of a monk and is well-used to meditating. According to multiple reports, it is this expertise that enabled the trapped boys to remain calm.
Aisha Wiboonrungrueng, mother of the youngest boy says that the coach's background definitely helped the boys. She added that it was astonishing that none of them were crying but just calmly sitting and waiting. Reiterating what Wiboonrungrueng said, Chanthawong's aunt said that he would meditate and upto an hour. That probably helped him as well as the kids, she said.
Videos that members of the Navy SEAL unit captured also show that although weak, the boys and their coach were not in despair and were laughing along to jokes made by members of the rescue team.
Leah Weiss, a Stanford expert who was taught by the Dalai Lama told CNBC that meditation helps in increasing focus and compassion and played a significant role in keeping all of them alive. She added that when distressed or angry, cognitive resources could get "hijacked". Meditation helps in accessing these cognitive resources.
Meditation also slows down the heart rate, breathing and metabolism as it creates a calming effect. It also lowers cortisol and the utilisation of oxygen, Weiss added.Details about the exact sequence of events are yet to be ascertained.