Tigers - before we got into the cage with the tigers, they gave us a quick briefing. No flash on the camera, no running, etc. The unassuming scrawny Thai guy, with shoulders slightly hunched, gazing up at a cloud, fiddling with a skinny bamboo branch, happened to be our trainer. Full grown Siberian tiger: 500 pounds, instincts to kill. Scrawny Thai trainer and his bamboo...ummm, time to go in the cage, lets not finish this thought.
These tigers were just as well behaved as Siegfried and Roy's, OK, bad example. They were very well behaved. The trainer put 2 fingers of pressure on the top of the tigers spine, and the tiger hunched down. 2 fingers on the mid spine and 2 on the lower spine and the tiger was reclined. Even when the tiger turned so he was staring at me from a foot away, I never felt scared, just in awe.
P.S. many other tigers in Asia are chained or drugged. Not these ones: after we left the cage they were jumping and playing and growling. I highly recommend Tiger Kingdom.
Meditation - after the tigers, Guido, the German I was traveling with did a 2 day meditation retreat. Most of the meditation was concentrating on breathing, and only breathing, or a counting scheme, and only that counting scheme. My brain has never hurt so much from thinking about so little.