Lesson from the mountains

Yesterday I climbed Mt. Kinbo. It’s a 470m tall mountain with a history of Yamabushi training that dates back to the 7th century when En no Gyoja, the dude who made the doctrines of Shugendo, opened the mountain officially. In summer, Mt. Kinbo is a relatively easy climb. It normally takes about 90 minutes from the bottom to the top.

But yesterday was not summer. Yesterday was the depths of winter, and Mt. Kinbo was covered in metres and metres of snow. The path was not a path, rather a clear area of snow between the trees that looked passable.

The snow was deeper than we thought, and the path yet to be trodden. This made climbing Mt. Kinbo a hell of a lot harder, and made it take a hell of a lot longer too.

When we made it to the inner sanctum, probably the halfway point, it had already taken us nearly 90 minutes, much longer than the 40-50 minutes I had expected. At that point, I really questioned whether we would be able to make it to the top. I strongly considered calling it at that point. But my friend was wiser. My friend knew we could make it, even though he had never even been up before. And he was right.

Had I listened to myself, I wouldn’t have made it. I would’ve turned around then and there. But I didn’t. I decided to go with my friend’s intuition and to push on. And I’m really glad I did.

It was tough. The snow was up to our hips at times, and we slid over on multiple occasions. But we kept on keeping on, and we made it to the top, not before taking in some amazing views.

Sometimes we need to trust our bodies. Sometimes we need to trust that we can do things, even if our brain is telling us otherwise. It’s not going to be easy, but not easy and not possible are two different things.

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MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM

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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

tim@timbunting.com

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