Metta Walk – Bringing Metta Round The World (MRTW) to the top of Mt. Kinabalu - A Personal Experience by Sis. Mudita Loh
Our METTA journey continued. We were very blessed to see a beautiful rainbow about 3.5 km after we started our climb. Our ranger had been leading climbers up and down the trail for three years now and this is the first time she managed to see this beautiful sight – a rainbow at Mt. Kinabalu. The rainbow appeared and disappeared before our very eyes within a span of three minutes. Square and another “Pakcik” climber joyfully told us that it must be due to our METTA prayers as they heard us chanting and radiating loving kindness. We smiled and rejoiced with everyone: METTA, together we create a rainbow of fellowship.
Now, that the Mesilou and Timpohon Trail met. We stopped to take a rest and drink before continuing our climb. Along the way, some beautiful small flowers and the huge Villosa flower caught our eyes. We also stopped to take some photos. Further on, the trail became more rocky and stoney and there was running water along the way. By 6.00pm the whole jungle was very dark but there was no fear at all. We had to use our torch lights as we reserved our headlights for the next morning. Although we were in the dark we kept moving upward mindfully in the group, helping each other. I was leading the group and was still counting each METTA step that we took!!! We reached the Laban Rata Rest House, 11000 feet above sea level at about 6.50 pm. As my son reached the Rest House first, while waiting for others to come up, he sat on a bench and sang joyfully. I can feel he was happy that he finally reached a place where he could rest. What a relief! We reached our first goal! A place for us to reconcile our body and hearts!
Again we were very blessed as we were given the room at the Main Rest House instead of the Laban Rata Rest House which is 200 meters away. It was very cold outside. After having our light dinner and drinking a lot of salt water, we headed straight for bed as we had to wake up by 1.30 am the next day to prepare for the next stretch of our 2.7 km (4-5 hours) climb at 2.30 am to Low’s Peak, the highest peak of Mount Kinabalu.
That night, I experienced a little headache and so did Rakkhita. This was due to the high altitude – thinning of oxygen. Rakkhita slept soundly after taking soluble panadol but I tried to overcome my headache with my HEART. Bodhini helped to massage our necks and shoulders. Then we kept our necks and chest warm by using a muffler. Sister Sumangala also taught us a very simple but helpful relaxation exercise. All we needed to do was to put both our legs up against the wall with our hands stretched out above our heads and breathe mindfully for about 10-15 minutes. It was really rejuvenating – the body was relaxed and we were amazed that there was no pain in our legs after our 8 km uphill walk! With a healthy body, the mind is ready for bigger challenges.
As we were prepared the items for the next morning’s climb, we were startled by the sound of someone knocking on our door. A Malay lady stood outside and informed us that she will be sharing our room. She was one of the 40 climbers from TELEKOM. The poor lady was left behind as her group did not wait for her and she had to climb up all the way in the dark, thoroughly soaked to the skin in the rain and running a fever. She looked fearful walking up alone by herself but felt our warmth upon joining us. She said “This is enough. I am not going to the peak.” We felt sorry for her and offered her medicine and taught her how to release the tightness in her back and legs so she can have a more relaxing walk down to Timpohon Gate the next morning. We were indeed fortunate to be so blessed – having kalyana mitras to help and encourage each other as we journey together to reach a common destination – the peak.
We also escaped from an impending “disaster” that night at the Main Rest House. We were about to retire for the night when Sister Sumangala suddenly noticed that the two supporting bars of the upper-deck of the Malay lady’s bed, though appearing intact, actually had a crack. Can you imagine what would have happened to her and the one sleeping on the lower deck when this plum Malay lady lay down on the bed!! Phew…! Such a narrow escape! We then helped her lay out the mattress on the floor and all of us slept with ease of mind. By spreading METTA we were protected from danger. This is one of the eleven benefits of practicing METTA.