Metta Walk – Bringing Metta Round The World (MRTW) to the top of Mt. Kinabalu - A Personal Experience by Sis. Mudita Loh
All of us slept for about 3 hours when we were half awakened by the “tit tat tit tat sound” outside the window and on top of the roof at about 12.30 am. It was raining heavily and the wind was very strong. These thoughts ran through my mind. “O…Oh. The climb is at 2.30am. Will they allow us to climb to the peak? Will our mission be achieved? Will we be blessed again?” Rakkhita was flipping the curtain and eagerly waiting for the “tit tat tit tat” sound to stop. We were also praying in our hearts that our METTA journey be a smooth and safe one.
“Yes…the rain did stop – at 1.30am. Hooray! Sadhu! Thank you “rain deva.”
The alarm clock rang. All of us woke up at 1.30am. I too woke up. The rest were alright but I woke up with headache, a very heavy head. After a while I vomited. I was very worried that I might not be able to join the group but I was lucky as Sister Sumangala had brought along some medicine. She gave blessings and chanted for me. I felt much better. They then arranged for our potter Relative (is this a name of the potter’s relative) to be my personal escort for the next challenge. At least I felt safer.
After a short rest, we started our climb at 3.30 am. Another challenge awaited us – We will only be granted permission to climb to the peak if reach the Sayat-Sayat Check Point at 5.00 am. It was a very misty morning. Even with our headlights, we could only see a few feet in front of us. Sister lead us and she will sound us if any part of the staircase in front of us, was particularly slippery or ladened with rocks and stones. We continued on this treacherous path – taking deep breaths every 15-20 steps of the way. We continued taking small mindful METTA steps and our consistency bore fruit - We even managed to overtake a few other climbers who had become very tired and had stop to rest. However, we encouraged them to persevere and to move on.
Sister Sumangala who was leading us reminded us not to worry – “we will make it, just keep walking – One METTA step at a time and be consistent.” As we walked in the dark and thick mist, all we could hear was the refreshing sound of water gushing down the water fall. After surviving the 700 meter watery and stoney path interspersed by a climb up the wooden stair, we reached the challenging 300 meter SLOPE and ROPE area. Everyone was briefed. “No matter what happens, hang on to the rope as that is your life line. Suspense has started! If you miss it, that’s IT! One by one we went up the 45 degree steep slope, gripping tightly onto the rope. Alas, all of us passed the dangerous zone. SADHU! We passed the check point gate at 5.30am and yes, the warden allowed us to move on. Having registered our names, the journey continued and the tests continued – testing our endurance and perseverance. However, we did turn back to have a look at the beautiful sunrise once a while.