You probably heard about the Thai soccer team – trapped for days in flooded, underground caves – who learned Buddhist meditation practices to remain calm during their ordeal.
And yet, it wasn’t meditation alone that got them out of the caves. It also took a coordinated, skillful effort from a team of professionals united around that goal. But it’s not as if the team’s rescue was something passive that happened to them. Getting out of the caves required the boys and their coach to actively participate: to journey through dark, narrow spaces and to do things they had never done before (like, you know… SWIM!).
Becoming calm was a critical part of this dramatic tale. As was having insight about what to do next and securing the means to accomplish the goal. And yet, without action, the team would still be stuck in the caves.
But just because they took action (and were as calm as they could be and drew on as much insight as they could and assembled a world class support team), success was not a foregone conclusion. The deal wasn’t: take action, because you’re guaranteed this outcome and these benefits. Instead, the reality was: act, because there’s nothing else to do.
The eyes of the world aren’t trained on us but that doesn’t mean we, too, are not stuck in a cave. It could be the cave of high expectations, of addictive habits, of pain and/or illness, of loss, of despair, of anger or the cave of I’m not quite sure what this cave is but something’s not right…
Does that feeling of being trapped (as was the case with the soccer team) seem exacerbated by the fact that your actions played a role in you getting stuck? Or does that feeling of being trapped take your breath away because (as was also the case with the soccer team) unusual events contributed to your current state?
Now would be a good time to learn to meditate – to unite your attention, your body, your breath in the same direction instead of wandering around in a fog or being consumed by distractions. Now would also be a pretty great time to cultivate insight about a path forward. And all of us at Encourage – the welcoming team, the teaching staff and the other practitioners you’d be rolling out your mat alongside of – would be happy to skillfully encourage you as you swim through the dark and narrow muck – especially if you’ve never swum before.