What a lucky escape that Thai soccer team had last week.
For most of the dramatic cave rescue of the 12 boys and their coach, I was in Malaysia, just a short ferry ride from Thailand where events unfolded over several gripping days. The tragedy of the death of rescue diver Saman Gunan was eased a little by the safe retrieval of the rest of the group, and as they now recover in hospital, I’ve been struck by some differences between the mindsets in this scenario, and those more typical elsewhere in the world.
So, what can we learn from the Thai cave rescue?
1. Meditation helped them pull through
If ever there was a front-page plug for the benefits of meditation, this was it. Not only did the boys’ coach (a former novice at a Buddhist monastery) teach them essential skills to help them stay calm, it’s thought their meditative practice actually allowed them to use less precious air in the cave. Read my beginner’s thoughts on Mindfulness from an early stage of the Serenity Project.
2. We all need a little help sometimes
The rescue requirements were so specialized that Thailand didn’t have enough resources and appropriate knowledge (and nor would any other single country). On one level, this was a shining example of international cooperation (and wouldn’t a bit more of that be nice, in these turbulent times?). But it was also a reminder of how allowing others to help us is one of the most important decisions we can make. This held true both outside the cave for the Thai officials and expert rescue teams, but also inside, among the soccer team themselves.
3. Blame isn’t necessarily constructive
Finally, I was struck by the grace shown by the boys’ parents toward their coach. Thailand doesn’t have the same “blame” culture we see elsewhere, and although I know there are cases where learning from mistakes and holding authority figures to account has an important role, on this occasion it seems perhaps freak circumstances were at play. My serenity post on Ditching the Guilt had a festive focus, but you might consider your blame and guilt levels at other times of year too.
One of the key benefits I find from travel is it nudges me into an awareness of other points of view and cultural attitudes; it makes me question my own beliefs. I notice I’m pausing to acknowledge the value and wisdom from living life a bit differently. Last week, Thailand had much to teach.