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Amassus
09-27-2009, 04:28 PM
Hello all.

Aikiweb is telling me that it has been a long time since I posted. I do have a thought floating around in my mind and I will share it.

I have been re-reading "The Spirit of Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. In this book he concentrates on what spirituality means in aikido. The feeling I get from him is that first and foremost the spirit of aikido comes from a traditional Japanese mindset. Secondly, can that mindset integrate into different cultures?

Keep in mind these are just my interpretations.

So, my question is...
What does spirituality mean to you as a practitioner of aikido?

For me it is the calmness and joy that comes from working with other people on the mat. Everyone is stripped of their usual professions, or social status of everyday life. My partner is another person wearing a gi and is here to interact with me, connect with me and then move on.
The simpleness of it draws me in everytime. The politeness of Japanese traditions attract me as well. The traditions keep me humble, yet alert. The quiet moments when we sit back down and all you hear are people breathing heavily after a technique is practised is priceless. Yes, they are tired, yes they may hurt in places, but they remain quiet, go inward and relax. Others look toward sensei eagerly, wondering what the next technique will be.

I was speaking with a friend of mine who is practising another martial art and after the conversation I felt frustrated. Why? After pondering this it occurred to me that all he was interested in was the physical, practical aspects of both his art and mine. This told me that I wanted more from a martial art other than self defence and physical conditioning. Aikido provides that 'extra' for me. Is it spirituality? I'm not sure.

I have more to say, but I don't expect people to continue reading. So please, comment. :ai: :ki:

dps
09-28-2009, 01:34 PM
Here is a whole list of threads about spirituality dating from 10-01-2000 to 01-12-2009.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search.php?searchid=528209

David

Jorge Garcia
09-28-2009, 02:26 PM
Hello all.

Aikiweb is telling me that it has been a long time since I posted. I do have a thought floating around in my mind and I will share it.

I have been re-reading "The Spirit of Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. In this book he concentrates on what spirituality means in aikido. The feeling I get from him is that first and foremost the spirit of aikido comes from a traditional Japanese mindset. Secondly, can that mindset integrate into different cultures?

Keep in mind these are just my interpretations.

So, my question is...
What does spirituality mean to you as a practitioner of aikido?

For me it is the calmness and joy that comes from working with other people on the mat. Everyone is stripped of their usual professions, or social status of everyday life. My partner is another person wearing a gi and is here to interact with me, connect with me and then move on.
The simpleness of it draws me in everytime. The politeness of Japanese traditions attract me as well. The traditions keep me humble, yet alert. The quiet moments when we sit back down and all you hear are people breathing heavily after a technique is practised is priceless. Yes, they are tired, yes they may hurt in places, but they remain quiet, go inward and relax. Others look toward sensei eagerly, wondering what the next technique will be.

I was speaking with a friend of mine who is practising another martial art and after the conversation I felt frustrated. Why? After pondering this it occurred to me that all he was interested in was the physical, practical aspects of both his art and mine. This told me that I wanted more from a martial art other than self defence and physical conditioning. Aikido provides that 'extra' for me. Is it spirituality? I'm not sure.

I have more to say, but I don't expect people to continue reading. So please, comment. :ai: :ki:

I think you're at a starting place. I think that when you struggle to stay in this art and you do so against all odds with all kinds of people that can be very challenging as well as the internal battles you have- this is a beginning of developing spirituality. You also have to study and develop an interest in what this art brings you into contact with like human relations, understanding yourself and what the truth really is as you encounter it on the mat. Moriteru Ueshiba has a good modern explanation of spirituality in Aikido in his book, Progressive Aikido on page 12 in the paragraph entitled Aikido as a Training Method. He also talks later about enlightenment and other such things. I think though that as Aikido impacts the non physical aspects of your life and and as you find ways to live out the lessons of Aikido, both in its practice, philosophy and even in it's history, then for you, Aikido will develop a form of spirituality you can call your own.

By the way, I have a simple study guide that I developed for my own students that will guide you through the book, The Spirit of Aikido. If you answer all the study questions (188 of them) you will really have a good understanding of what the book is communicating and it will help you to remember what is in it. It is free to all who email and ask for it.
Best wishes,
Jorge

Janet Rosen
09-28-2009, 02:54 PM
To David's list add http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2004_05.html

Amassus
10-07-2009, 06:02 PM
Sorry, David.

The link is coming up with no result.

stepp
12-08-2009, 12:43 PM
i am a southern cheyenne from the state of oklahoma, usa, and i am not yet a practitioner of aikido. for some reason i have been drawn to aikido over the past year, i have studied tae kwon do, but my interest in it seems to be going away. there are no dojo's here in my hometown, if it is gods will, and i pray that it is, i will be a student of this art, or budo.
prayer is a strong part of our cheyenne culture, as it is in many others. i believe that god intended for aikido to come into my life in anyway possible. our cheyenne warrior societies are still present, but the ways of which a warrior lives from day to day are misconceived by our younger generation. the meaning of warrior has been distorted greatly by hollywood perceptions and even visual artists.
the ways of a cheyenne man, are similar to those of a samurai, the care we show our articles for prayer and battle is the same kind of care the samurai show their swords. i have found the book spirit of aikido and read it, and found a story about germans trying to use science to recreate a japanese sword. the scientists could not do it, then the statement is made that if you want a japanese sword you go to a japanese swordmaker to have one made.
i feel i lost interest in tae kwon do, because the genuiness was lost somewhere along the way in that branch of the martial art. i am not saying that it is a bad thing, i am saying that notoriety has probably gained more value than the tenets the students learn. that maybe the best direction for some students, but at this stage in my life that is not what i am looking for.
i have been unemployed for the past few weeks, there is an ice storm here that i have walked through to have something to do, our bills are due, and everything is alright. cheyennes believe that life if a circle and i have learned that aikido is based on circular motions. if i hold positive thoughts in my mind good things are likely to happen. holding negative thoughts in my mind is not in my best interest. i have what little i have learned from reading about aikido, and applied it to what i have learned from our cheyenne teachings, with the help of god it has benefitted my thoughts and art and even my tae kwon do. so i believe that aikido can help those of us who are not japanese, to learn about ourselves and where we come from. thanks for the time in reading this if you have made it this far.

Janet Rosen
12-08-2009, 02:15 PM
Thank you for participating and sharing your thoughts William. May the coming new year bring good things to you and your's.

piyush.kumar
12-08-2009, 10:49 PM
Hey,

@William- U reminded me to go back and read all the native indian philosophy i could get my hands on off the net. I believe native indians and aikidoka's would have been soul brothers had they lived in the era and area. I think it is the same with indian philosophy too. If you get a chance, try "bhagvad gita". Its the same truth in essence, only spoken in different languages and expressed differently.
Peace

mathewjgano
12-09-2009, 07:42 AM
Just wanted to add a thought before work since Sensei Barrish recently described something fitting to this thread. He said many people look to ascetic techniques for spirituality, but that spirituality can be found in something as "ordinary" as eating breakfast. I think this points to an important aspect of at least one form of Aikido spirituality.

Melchizedek
12-09-2009, 12:14 PM
hmm that is a nice impartation about the cheyenne warriors, Patience, who ever finds the strength from within and grasp the meaning is a warrior.

Rev.K. Barrish
12-09-2009, 01:00 PM
Hello everyone, Hello Matthew-san,

re: eating

Everything in Nature is born, matures and perishes---everything has a beginning and an end. To live and grow as the healthy child of Okami we digest well, we are sustained by divine cosmic vitality through the sacred act of eating.

Sometimes people confuse spirituality with the learning of esoteric techniques.....I think we can see more regarding spirituality more simply, via someone's relationship other people and with food.

Being alive and being present is easily seen by relation to food-- that which we receive from Divine Nature that directly connects us to the Sun, to the Seasons and to Daishizen no Meguri- the ceaseless movements of Divine Nature/ Kannagara.

Itadakimasu/ Gochiso sama

Prayer before eating:

Tanatsumono momono kigusamo amaterasu

Hi-no-Oo—Kami no megumi etekoso.

Itadakimasu

Momo mean 100 (or many many)

Kigusa meaning is trees and plants

Amaterasu is in this case a verb meaning shining brightly.

Hi-no-Okami is Amaterasu Omikami

Megumi is blessings of Okami.

Ete means to receive

Basic meaning is: All the trees and plants thrive and grow by receiving the blessings of divine solar energy. When we eat these sacred plants we receive the life sustaining cosmic vitality of Amaterasu Omikami. I will humble partake/receive………….

Prayer after eating:

Asayoini monokugotoni Toyoukeno

Kami no megumi wo omoe yonohito.

Gochiso sama.

Asayoini means morning and evening

Monokugoto means each time you eat something

Toyouke no Okami is Kami of sacred foodstuffs that sustain our lives

Kami no Megumi means blessing of Kami/ Divine Nature

Omoe means to consider deeply

Yonohito means people.

Basic meaning is: each time we eat let us consider deeply the divine gifts of life sustaining food --- carrying divine solar power to each of our cells ..what a feast…what a joy to be alive!!!! Arigatou gozaimashita.

yoroshiku onegaishimasu

Koichi Barrish

Tsubaki America Kannushi

mathewjgano
12-09-2009, 02:13 PM
Thank you, Sensei!
I was going to try to elaborate, but can't beat the source...particularly since I also confused a word. :o

I was going to mention that idea of consideration for the deeper mechanisms/processes in the things we do as being spiritual practice.

Jonathan
12-10-2009, 02:09 PM
What spirituality I have originates outside my Aikido training. That is, I don't come to Aikido practice looking to find in it a spiritual path for my life. My faith, my relationship with God, began long before I started into Aikido training and has completely satisfied all my existential, ontological, and/or metaphysical inquiries and concerns.

I don't regard the things you seem to think are "spiritual" as such. My understanding of what "spiritual" means is rather narrower, or more defined than yours, I guess. The sound of people breathing heavily after exercise, the calm awaiting of what comes next, the social leveling effect of practice are all interesting and perhaps pleasant aspects of Aikido training, but this doesn't qualify them as spiritual, in my opinion.

True spirituality, as I understand it, cannot exist apart from, or outside of, a relationship with God. More generally speaking, however, the term "spirituality," has become a catch-all term for anything people wish to elevate, for whatever reason, above the mundane. Used this way, "spirituality" as a term has become so broad in its meaning that its become rather meaningless, I think.

Jon.

Kevin Leavitt
12-10-2009, 02:55 PM
I think spirituality or how you define it and find meaning in it depends on your beliefs, dogma, and what not.

for instance, the concept of God alone can vary greatly from an omnipotent/omnipresent being to one that is pervasive/ubiguitous and a part of the collective conscious of the universe.

As such how people connect or find meaning to the concept of God will greatly differ. I think that it is perfectly natural and fine for someone to find spirituality in something as simple as breathing.

I don't think there is any religion that does not connect spirituality to breath or breathing, albeit some might find more connection to others. "the breath of god", prana...etc.

Most world religions have meditative practices in which breath is a major part of.

So, it may not be a big part of your spirituality, but it may in others for sure and I would submit that for them...the IS "True Spirituality".

For me, sometimes breath, the act of breathing, prana...is a very integrated part of my spiritual practice...other times it simply means I am out of breath.

I do find joy and peace in the fact that I am breathing which means I am alive...that alone invokes an existential response in my brain, which reminds me that I am alive and....etc, etc...

So, while it may be meaningless to you, it does not mean that it is meaningless at all.

JW
12-10-2009, 10:20 PM
Hi Jon, I think I started to feel the same feeling you expressed at first:

More generally speaking, however, the term "spirituality," has become a catch-all term for anything people wish to elevate, for whatever reason, above the mundane.

But, although that might be true for some people, I think if you look at the essence of what Barrish Sensei was saying, it is actually much more similar to what you in your post called "spiritual" than it may seem at first glance.

My understanding of what "spiritual" means is rather narrower, or more defined than yours, I guess.
...
True spirituality, as I understand it, cannot exist apart from, or outside of, a relationship with God.

When I read Barrish Sensei's post I felt that much of what he spoke about was equivalent to what Christians would call God or acts of God. It's just that instead of stopping at the term "God," Barrish Sensei's prayers delved in depth about this concept-- ultimately making them more, not less, specific or narrowly defined in their celebration of "a relationship with God."

In this way I agree with Matthew and Barrish sensei that an exploration of how simple aspects of your life intimately relate you back to ultimate origins or ultimate cycling is indeed a spiritual exercise.

This opens the door to lots of things being considered spiritual without the term "spiritual" becoming an imprecise proxy for "anything I want to elevate above the mundane."

Jonathan
12-11-2009, 12:09 AM
Kevin:

You wrote:

I think spirituality or how you define it and find meaning in it depends on your beliefs, dogma, and what not.

Yes, I agree.

As such how people connect or find meaning to the concept of God will greatly differ. I think that it is perfectly natural and fine for someone to find spirituality in something as simple as breathing.

I agree completely with the first sentence in the above quotation but not with the second. People do define things like spirituality by their understanding of God and that understanding differs widely across the globe. I don't, however, think it is fine for there to be widely varying and often contradictory views of God and thus of related spirituality. We can't all be right about who or what God is and at the same time be in contradiction to each others views. This isn't reasonable, nor logical. Someone has to be wrong.

I don't think there is any religion that does not connect spirituality to breath or breathing, albeit some might find more connection to others. "the breath of god", prana...etc.

I can't think, off the top of my head, of anyplace in the Bible where breathing is said to be a "spiritual" act, or where people are encouraged to view breathing as such.

So, it may not be a big part of your spirituality, but it may in others for sure and I would submit that for them...the IS "True Spirituality".

Well, if I thought true spirituality was simply a matter of whatever a person decides it is, then I would agree with you. I don't, however, take this view.

So, while it may be meaningless to you, it does not mean that it is meaningless at all.

I'm sure people believe they obtain spiritual benefit from all sorts of God-unrelated things. I never suggested that people who don't think as I do find no spiritual meaning in anything. For myself, however, I don't think they can understand or experience true spirituality apart from a connection with God.

Jon.

mathewjgano
12-11-2009, 07:22 AM
I don't, however, think it is fine for there to be widely varying and often contradictory views of God and thus of related spirituality. We can't all be right about who or what God is and at the same time be in contradiction to each others views. This isn't reasonable, nor logical. Someone has to be wrong.
I suspect everyone is wrong in the absolute sense of the truth.

I can't think, off the top of my head, of anyplace in the Bible where breathing is said to be a "spiritual" act, or where people are encouraged to view breathing as such.
I haven't read it in a while, but it seems to me there are passages which describe having joy for God in the so-called mundane day-to-day processes of life. I think it's meant in this spirit of things at any rate.

I'm sure people believe they obtain spiritual benefit from all sorts of God-unrelated things.
...
For myself, however, I don't think they can understand or experience true spirituality apart from a connection with God.

Jon.
Assuming God exists and is the source of everything, how can anything be unrelated in some way to God?
With that in mind I agree with the second statement completely. If genuine spirituality is about connection with God, Who is also omnipresent, one should be able to have genuine spiritual experiences doing anything.
...Or to put it another way:
Whatever a spiritual person is doing, it's a spiritual experience (spiritual is as spiritual does) because whatever they're doing they're maintaining that divine connection.

Jonathan
12-11-2009, 09:52 AM
I suspect everyone is wrong in the absolute sense of the truth

I'm not sure what you mean here...Can you explain?

I haven't read it in a while, but it seems to me there are passages which describe having joy for God in the so-called mundane day-to-day processes of life. I think it's meant in this spirit of things at any rate.

I read it daily. And the Bible urges the reader: "Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31) This verse is directed specifically to believers in Christ, however, not towards those who are spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins." (Eph. 2:1)

Insofar as one's activities draw one's thoughts to God, they can be potentially spiritually beneficial. But regarding the activities themselves as "divine" or spiritually significant beyond allowing one to acknowledge God through them is, in my view, erroneous.

Assuming God exists and is the source of everything, how can anything be unrelated in some way to God?

Well, inasmuch as God is seen to be the Creator and Sustainer of everything He is in some sense related to it all. I wouldn't go as far as some do, however, and believe that God is in everything. I don't believe that God is literally in rocks and trees, sky and water, sun and moon, etc. He is no more in what He has created than a potter is in the pots he makes. Certainly, one can see something of the character and skill of the potter in his pots, as one can see something of God's character and nature in the beauty, order, and complexity of what He has made, but in neither instance is it reasonable to think that what is made is the same in essence as the Maker.

The Bible teaches that God's Spirit may come to dwell within a person (though never in inanimate/non-sentient things or animals) and it is this indwelling that imparts spiritual life to that person, but this by no means implies that such a person is themselves divine - far from it.

With that in mind I agree with the second statement completely. If genuine spirituality is about connection with God, Who is also omnipresent, one should be able to have genuine spiritual experiences doing anything.

What do you mean by "genuine spiritual experiences"? As I understand it, God being omnipresent is not tantamount to being directly connected to everyone and thing except in the vaguest sense. I can be in a room full of people and not be connected in any direct, substantial way to any of them. In the same way, I believe, God is always "present in the room" but generally not directly connected in any spiritually meaningful way to those who are there.

Whatever a spiritual person is doing, it's a spiritual experience (spiritual is as spiritual does) because whatever they're doing they're maintaining that divine connection.

This is certainly a commonly accepted way of thinking about this matter. Unfortunately, what "spiritual" may mean differs widely across the spectrum of religions. What do you mean by a "spiritual person"? What does "maintaining that divine connection" mean to you? I would assert that one does not maintain a divine connection, but rather that one maintains a connection to the divine. I'm sure you see the difference.

For myself, then, I don't see Aikido practice as a particularly useful vehicle for spiritual pursuits. Insofar as I can use Aikido to "glorify God" it has some spiritual purpose, but I don't think meditative breathing, or ukemi, or the pleasant after-burn of vigorous training do this by default - or at all, really.

I apologize if I'm coming off as truculent. My intent is not to be merely argumentative, but to provide an alternative perspective on the matter of spirituality.

Jon.

Kevin Leavitt
12-11-2009, 10:31 AM
So essentially you are saying that if it doesn't meet the citieria that you define based on your interpretation of the bible then the person cannot have a spiritual experience?

Do I understand this correctly?

So there for Hindu's are wrong, Muslims, Buddhist...all are those religion's pratices or void of spritiuality?

To include shinto pracitces such as misogi of which the DNA of his imbedded in Aikido?

JW
12-11-2009, 11:03 AM
Hi Jon-
I wasn't trying to be truculent in my post either, and it gave you the opportunity to end this argument, instead of perpetuating it, so I am a little disappointed you didn't reply. Let's stop arguing and be more explicit:

If we (Christians, non-christians, all of us on the forum interested in spirituality in Aikido) can agree on a definition for "spirtuality" then we can stop arguing and go forward with the OP's discussion.

The only one who gave a constructive definition of it is you, and I think it is a good starting point:

Spirituality means having to do with the relationship of one's self with God.
(did I get that right?)

Now, if folks like O-sensei (thanks Kevin), Reverend Barrish, athiest aikidoka like myself, or anyone practicing a religion that does not have one god are to be excluded, we can end it there.
But here's a simple way we can all be in on the discussion:

What is it about "God" in the definition above that you are talking about, specifically? Then we can replace the word "God" with those specific things and we can all discuss, from within our own religions or non-religions, because those things could be shared across different belief systems.
God is seen to be the Creator and Sustainer of everything

OK, perfect! So how about this:

Spirituality means having to do with the relationship of one's self with the origins and ongoing functioning of the universe.

Such a definition would cover everything you've said in your posts.. it would cover O-Sensei's spiritual writings, and it would cover what Matthew and Reverend Barrish have posted.

What do you think?
--Jonathan Wong

Janet Rosen
12-11-2009, 11:05 AM
I define myself as a spiritual atheist. I have never had a moment of faith, a moment of a belief in a deity or creator or purposefulness in the universe.
However I am awed to laughter and tears being present at births and at deaths, at watching the flight of enormous flocks of cranes, the full moon over the hills or the ocean... all those things that connect me with this enormous and longlasting universe (that I'm happy to conceive as essentially random and chaotic) and the other living beings that inhabit it and that remind me I am but one tiny insignificant momentary speck in the universe who can make of my bit of time what I choose (although the universe doesn't really "care", I know my positive of negative actions affect some around me and hence spread...thus, again, the connectivity).

Janet Rosen
12-11-2009, 11:07 AM
Spirituality means having to do with the relationship of one's self with the origins and ongoing functioning of the universe.-

heheheh, we posted at the same time... Jon, this works for me.

JW
12-11-2009, 11:11 AM
BTW, note that though I have posted twice, I haven't even dealt with the OP's question and presented my views on spirituality in aikido. The reason is that we haven't settled on what is spirituality and what isn't. I think settling on a definition would open up a lot of conversation.

To illustrate my point better-- in Buddhism there are lots of "gods" but other than the word being the same as the word used in Christianity, there is nothing god-like about them. They are simply powerful non-human entities... the real spirituality in that religion has not to do with the gods.
Conversely, some shamanistic religions may not have gods at all, but worship the sun, or some animal forms, etc. So gods are not where to look in those religions either.

Point being, all of the above explore the relationship of the self with the greater universe (its origins or its constant cycles of renewal). So does Christianity. So there really should be some specific aspect of spirituality that we can all agree on as being definitive of spiritual experiences.
--Jonathan Wong

JW
12-11-2009, 11:18 AM
Hi Janet, I'm glad I got someone on board!
I think this really speaks to Matthew and Jon's original argument. For non-Christians, what is it that classifies something as "spiritual," considering that anything could be thought of in a "deep thoughts but not spiritual" kind of way?

... all those things that connect me with this enormous and longlasting universe ...
I am but one tiny insignificant momentary speck in the universe

That's the point I think. We can feel so insignificant most of the time, it is when the relationship of ourselves with the functioning of the universe becomes highlighted or felt in tangible, real terms that we feel a "spiritual" experience.
So: unique among all the "deep" things I could think, it is those times when I feel connected to a something that is greater than myself, greater than humanity, that I feel something that I think is what we all (even Christians) are talking about.
--Jonathan Wong

thisisnotreal
12-11-2009, 11:41 AM
Hello Mr. Barrish, Everyone
Thank you for your post. I am interested in your response, and trying to understand this better; not to do a 'gotcha' style post.

What a fine time to have this discussion again; as we enter into this season. A time of reflection and gratitude. For others, it's more; for some it's less. I believe that most here seek the best things; to be honest and to pursue truth, love and righteousness and to follow these where they lead. These threads are always heated; but i hope not to be rude or to fight. These topics always seem to being out the best and worst in people, do they not?

I feel that at many points the 'spirituality' of Aikido gets confusing. Frankly, I am confused by it.

Sometimes they are generic 'spiritual feelings' and/or earnest sincerity that people mean.
And then other times they are generic in that 'thanking god' means thanking your deity that you believe in. Here it is an all size-fits; and delineation of who/what is being thanked is deemed not to matter. This easy-going syncretism appeals to people as fair....but ..in what other area of knowledge is 'preference' or 'pleasingness' or all-encompassing inclusivity the main criteria for selection or discerning of 'truth'. (certainly not in physics, biology, geography, etc). Where in life (and technique) do details not matter?
And then other times the names are specifics...and specific names mean specific things....like the God (and/or Gods) and/or Kami of Shinto or Oomoto Kyo. In your post it seems specific names are named. What is meant? Those names come from somewhere. Where? When and How were these names learned? Are all names the same? I do not think that can be true. Are those names the root of Aikido spirituality? Can we test it? Anyway; I do not mean to assault with a barrage of questions...

These area all questions I naturally find myself asking.

If we are talking about actual sacred things; then.. well...this does require a high standard. A high standard of thought, of analysis, of pedigree. Public fora are really not the place for this; but i do mention it to suggest that these things not be taken too lightly. There likely will be unforseen (but not unforseeable) consequences to these choices. Does it matter if you are 'spiritual' or not? Is everyone the same, independent of how spiritual you are? Does it matter 'how' you are spiritual? Does it matter where the standards come from? Who sets them?
And on and on and on. It is a deep thing to be sure. I can only share my questions.

I think, of course, being grateful for food; and life itself (as well as myriad other things) is really important. A grateful heart is a good foundation. I agree with that.. but what I want to know is... Is Aikido or does Aikido presume a religion? Do some 'fit' better than other? Was it 'designed' with a 'fit' in mind? As Aikido comes from O-Sensei, so the source of the spirituality in Aikido is from O-Sensei (is it right?) and all that informed his beliefs. I do not think he separated Aikido from his beliefs. In fact; I think this wholistic view is implicit. This is something I have not yet settled for myself. Put another way: Is there an intended immutable spirituality in Aikido?

To summarize this overlong post:
Is spirituality of, for instance, eating; the act of being grateful (e.g. the spiritual starts and ends with the individual)? Or is it being grateful and thanking/remembering/revering the source? (e.g. the spiritual starts with the individual and ends with the kami/god) If it is closer to the latter...then i think the *who* must be important. No?

just some random thoughts.
Josh

p.s. I thought Don Hebert made some very interesting points on the subject of Spirituality in Aikido here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=236783#post236783
Actually, IIRC that was kind of a turning point in that thread that lead to some interesting discussion on this very topic.

Best to everyone.

mathewjgano
12-11-2009, 12:33 PM
I'm not sure what you mean here...Can you explain?
I mean that I would take the idea that someone must be wrong a bit further and sugest no one has it 100% correct (i.e. everyone is wrong in some way). Some may have it more correct than others for all I know, but to me none seem likely to have the whole truth on the matter of what God may or may not be (or how best to interact with "Him"). Then again, for all I know, someone does.

...the Bible urges the reader: "Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31) This verse is directed specifically to believers in Christ, however, not towards those who are spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins." (Eph. 2:1)
Ok, so the Bible expresses that devotees of God ought do everything (i.e. the "mundane") with the glory of God in mind. Are you suggesting the message is only for people who already have been saved and not for those who merely may yet to be? I take this message to be to all people...not that I'm an expert though.

Insofar as one's activities draw one's thoughts to God, they can be potentially spiritually beneficial. But regarding the activities themselves as "divine" or spiritually significant beyond allowing one to acknowledge God through them is, in my view, erroneous.
I agree.

Well, inasmuch as God is seen to be the Creator and Sustainer of everything He is in some sense related to it all...one can see something of the character and skill of the potter in his pots, as one can see something of God's character and nature in the beauty, order, and complexity of what He has made...
We basically agree then. I'm simply saying that events which seem ordinary can be spiritual in nature...whatever that may be.

What do you mean by "genuine spiritual experiences"?I mean whatever a genuine spiritual experience may be. I couldn't honestly say I know exactly what one is.

As I understand it, God being omnipresent is not tantamount to being directly connected to everyone and thing except in the vaguest sense.

What does it mean then? Omnipresent means existing everywhere at the exact same time and implies to me a tacit connection with every part of every thing. Even if I'm right it doesn't necessitate a meaningful connection I suppose, but I think it points to the potential accessibility of God.

What does "maintaining that divine connection" mean to you? I would assert that one does not maintain a divine connection, but rather that one maintains a connection to the divine. I'm sure you see the difference.
It seems to me the difference is semantics here. To me "divine connection" simply means connection to the divine.
For myself, then, I don't see Aikido practice as a particularly useful vehicle for spiritual pursuits. Insofar as I can use Aikido to "glorify God" it has some spiritual purpose, but I don't think meditative breathing, or ukemi, or the pleasant after-burn of vigorous training do this by default - or at all, really.
I agree they wouldn't do it by default. I take this line of thinking: I know O Sensei was a spiritual person in the sense that he pursued spiritual understanding and I presume he intended for similarly-minded people to enjoy Aikido as a spiritual experience as well as the physical experience it is. I also presume he wouldn't have had much issue with the idea that some folks wouldn't enjoy it as such.

I apologize if I'm coming off as truculent. My intent is not to be merely argumentative, but to provide an alternative perspective on the matter of spirituality.

Jon.
Not at all, Jon! I've enjoyed reading your thoughts very much and took them to be nothing but kind in their delivery.
Take care,
Matthew

Kevin Leavitt
12-11-2009, 12:55 PM
Jonathon,

I think you are all over it! Spirituality is the connection, understanding, thought etc...of somehow understanding that there is something greater than yourself.

It could be a "god", the universe, the collective consciousness of mankind...whatever.

the realization that you are a separate and distinct human being, yet somehow connected, dependent and interdependent on other "stuff".

this includes Atheist, Agnostics, existentialist, humanist, and every other "label" or affinity that folks want to identify with.

So yea, I would definitely accept your definition.

mathewjgano
12-11-2009, 01:32 PM
I like Jonathan's definition as well. It certainily describes my spiritual pursuits.

Rev.K. Barrish
12-11-2009, 02:18 PM
Itadakimasu/ Gochiso sama

Tanatsumono momono kigusamo amaterasu
Hi-no-Oo—Kami no megumi etekoso.
Itadakimasu

Asayoini monokugotoni Toyoukeno
Kami no megumi wo omoe yonohito.
Gochiso sama.

Hello everyone, Hello Mr. Philipson,

Mr. Philipson you wrote:
And then other times the names are specifics...and specific names mean specific things....like the God (and/or Gods) and/or Kami of Shinto or Oomoto Kyo. In your post it seems specific names are named. What is meant? Those names come from somewhere. Where? When and How were these names learned? Are all names the same? I do not think that can be true. Are those names the root of Aikido spirituality? Can we test it?

1st may I say I did not write the prayer Itadakimasu.. the Kami mentioned are:
1) Hi-no-OO-Kami = a way to refer to Amaterasu Omikami meaning the sun/ taiyo= the solar progenitor. In Shinto thinking all life dependent on divine sunshine. If we think deeply about it maybe is natural to be grateful for sunshine.
2) The other kami mentioned in this prayer is Toyoukehimenomikoto, who is kami of foodstuffs as well as things made by human effort to sustain human life. Maybe it is also natural to be grateful for life sustaining food. If we hike in the mountains and become very hungry we can really savor the nourishment and taste of a snack…if we are living a life seeking meaningful connection to and harmony with life giving forces we might be really grateful for the gift of nourishment, which is ultimately dependant on divine solar power.
These names come from the Jinja Shinto – but the forces involved exist outside of that paradigm.
In my opinion as the licensed Jinja Shinto Chief Priest and the person who has studied Aiki movement for some years (40) esoteric Shinto thinking re: the Oharahi-no-kotoba (the most important liturgy of Shinto) and the founders thinking re: mission of Aikido are quite analogous- but that is just my opinion.

Mr Philipson wrote:
Is Aikido or does Aikido presume a religion? Do some 'fit' better than other? Was it 'designed' with a 'fit' in mind? As Aikido comes from O-Sensei, so the source of the spirituality in Aikido is from O-Sensei (is it right?) and all that informed his beliefs. I do not think he separated Aikido from his beliefs. In fact; I think this wholistic view is implicit. This is something I have not yet settled for myself. Put another way: Is there an intended immutable spirituality in Aikido?

Again I can only offer opinions, it is my opinion that Aikido= Jujitsu + Shinto. May I say at this point that Shinto is not Religion, rather a Natural spirituality and a reflection of a time when humankind was connected to Divine Nature and able to intuit certain things about life by that connection to life giving forces. In the Q&A section of Tsubaki Shrine web site I wrote:

Q: What is Shinto?
A: The word “Shinto” is comprised of two pictographs: Shin or Kami meaning the divine, that that inspires awe and mystery and To or Do/ Michi, the way/ method/ path. * Shinto emerged and developed spontaneously as an expression of the deep intuitive connection with Divine Nature enjoyed by human beings in ancient Japan. Shinto as natural spirituality is based on this harmonious primal relationship with the “infinite restless movement of Great Nature,” rather than on the written or revealed teachings of human beings.
Realizing that each single component within Nature possesses Divine Spirit giving us joy and benefit, we renew our close ties to Mother Nature and pray for renewal and refreshed life. As Shinto has the continuous history from prehistoric times to the present and into the future, visiting the Shinto Shrine can help reconnect us to our intuitive roots while helping us to meet the challenges of the present and the future cultivating our human spirituality.

Shinto is simple, bright and sincere and is the practice of the philosophy of proceeding in harmony with and gratitude to Divine Nature. Basic of Shinto is to feel gratitude for the gifts of life. Our human lives, received from Great Nature and our ancestors are essentially good – obscuring energies exist but through the purifying (harae), straightening (naobi), and invigorating (kiyome) action of Shinto we can prevent misfortune or move towards solution if misfortune has already occurred.
Relative to an “immutable spirituality in Aikido” I would say certainly not..of course everyone’s Aikido is their own.

Mr. Philipson wrote:

Is spirituality of, for instance, eating; the act of being grateful (e.g. the spiritual starts and ends with the individual)? Or is it being grateful and thanking/remembering/revering the source? (e.g. the spiritual starts with the individual and ends with the kami/god) If it is closer to the latter...then i think the *who* must be important. No?

Re: the who or Kami:
Q: What is Kami?
A: To best understand the concept of Kami it is important to put aside the preconception caused by the word, god, an English translation which is often used for the word Kami. Shinto thinking does not include faith in the concept of an absolute one god who is the creator of both nature and human beings. Ancient peoples thinking did not divide material and spiritual existence, but considered that the both were inseparable, seeing everything to be spiritual. In other word, they did not draw a border between a certain object and the work of that object.
According to Shinto cosmology, the universe began with the appearance of Ame-no-Minaka-nushi-no-O-Kami. Next to appear were the Kamis of birth and growth. After the appearance of 15 Kami in 7 generations the Kamis Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto emerged and created the solar system, the Earth, various Kami, the land of Japan and her nature as well as people.
Shinto begins with the feeling of receiving life from the Sun, Kami and ancestors. Therefore, Shinto does not percieve substantial difference or discontinuation between Kami and man, Kami and Divine Nature, or nature and human beings. It can be said that Shinto is basically the faith in Kannagara /the continuous positive movement of the life-giving forces.”

Again in my opinion it is not at all necessary to anthropomorphize thinking re: life giving forces … if we can stand firmly on the Earth and receive the rich vitality of Earth while being nourished by and receiving inspiration for the sun we feel really alive and naturally be grateful to forces and the actions of others in the past present and future who support us. How exactly each individual thinks of and relates to these forces is very personal.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu
Koichi Barrish
Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America
www.Tsubakishrine.org

Jonathan
12-11-2009, 02:27 PM
So essentially you are saying that if it doesn't meet the citieria that you define based on your interpretation of the bible then the person cannot have a spiritual experience?

Do I understand this correctly?

Sort of. Am I right in assuming you have your own alternate view that you think I should hold?

So there for Hindu's are wrong, Muslims, Buddhist...all are those religion's pratices or void of spritiuality?

To include shinto pracitces such as misogi of which the DNA of his imbedded in Aikido?

What do you do with the fact that Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists all believe different and often contradictory things about reality, deity, and spirituality? Does it make sense to you that they can all be right while in contradiction to one another? The answer you give will go a long way to making it possible to discuss sensibly the point I think you're trying to make in your questions.

Hi Jon-
I wasn't trying to be truculent in my post either, and it gave you the opportunity to end this argument, instead of perpetuating it, so I am a little disappointed you didn't reply. Let's stop arguing and be more explicit:

I'm not really arguing, just stating my views like everyone else on this thread. I happen not to agree with some of the ideas others espouse, but that doesn't seem to me to be good reason not to chime in. That I disagree certainly doesn't stop others from sharing their views. ;)

Spirituality means having to do with the relationship of one's self with God.
(did I get that right?)

Sort of. Its more complex than this for me. For example, one's relationship with God can be that of an enemy in which case I wouldn't be able to say that such a relationship was spiritual.

Now, if folks like O-sensei (thanks Kevin), Reverend Barrish, athiest aikidoka like myself, or anyone practicing a religion that does not have one god are to be excluded, we can end it there.
But here's a simple way we can all be in on the discussion:

I didn't intend to suggest that those who held views on spirituality different from my own had nothing to say! As you can see from this thread, they have a lot to say. And thats okay with me. I don't expect that everyone else will suddenly kowtow to my perspective just because I state it. Not hardly.

So how about this:

Spirituality means having to do with the relationship of one's self with the origins and ongoing functioning of the universe.

Such a definition would cover everything you've said in your posts.. it would cover O-Sensei's spiritual writings, and it would cover what Matthew and Reverend Barrish have posted.

No, this is far too vague a definition for me. I appreciate the ecumenical motive for it, but the definition is so open that it becomes somewhat meaningless. God, in my view is not an amorphous "origin" or an impersonal "function of the universe." What I understand to be spirituality wouldn't make sense if He were. I can see, though, how such a definition would suit an atheistic perspective very well.

Jon.

Keith Larman
12-11-2009, 02:38 PM
No replying to any one post...

I think it is a mistake to equate "true" spirituality with religion. One may find spirituality through religion, but it is not the sole domain of religion in general, and certainly not any specific one in particular.

For me... Holding my daughter's hand as I walk her to school can be a deeply spiritual thing. Laying on a hill watching the clouds move by in the summer sky. Planting and maintaining our garden. Watching my daughter grow. Listening to her sing. The point being that spirituality for some may simply mean finding a larger meaning, purpose, or reality. That can come from religion. It can come from what others have written about. And for some it might come with every moment of their life depending on how they choose to experience it.

As a result... I try to avoid discounting anyone's source of spirituality. I find transcendent qualities to the sound of my daughter quietly singing to herself in her bedroom at night. It might not be enough for someone else. But it works for me more than anything else I've ever experienced.

And my vote for the most spiritual man ever? Elwood P. Dowd. And his friend Harvey of course.

Kevin Leavitt
12-11-2009, 02:53 PM
Sort of. Am I right in assuming you have your own alternate view that you think I should hold

your view is your view, and I am okay with whatever view you want to hold. My point is that it seems that you believe that it is not possible for anyone to have a spiritual practice that is not defined as you interpret it based ont he Bilble. I do not agree with that, but okay, that is your view and not a big deal really as it doesn't impact me or anyone else until we start exercise power over them in some way to limit there ability to have experiences. Other than that....no issues.

What do you do with the fact that Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists all believe different and often contradictory things about reality, deity, and spirituality? Does it make sense to you that they can all be right while in contradiction to one another? The answer you give will go a long way to making it possible to discuss sensibly the point I think you're trying to make in your questions.

Again, along the same vein, does it really matter if they contradict each other? As long as they can co-exist peacefully what difference does it make to you? Unless you feel a need or compulsion to impose your own morality (power).

I see the same issue with Gay Marriage really. I am not Gay, but not sure why it matters to people if it is legal or not...again, this is a morality issue so when you go there...yeah it matters to me when we oppress others. (not saying you are doing this...just an example).

However, back to the basic discussion of contradictions? What are the contradictions? the fact that I like Red Cars and you Like Blue Motorcycles could also be seen as contradictory if you think it wrong to drive a Red Car. But, is it really contradictory? I mean, I live in the US and you live in Canada...and really what is the problem, unless you dislike red cars so much you don't believe ANY one should be allowed to drive them...so you if you have power over this, then you pass legislation to keep me from drivng a red car...then it affects me. Other than that....no contradicion right.

See my point? Not sure if this makes sense?

This is my major issue with religion in general is I believe it is easy for us to see external things thorugh our own worldview filter then begin to label things like good/bad, right/wrong, moral/immoral and those judgements are solely based on the filters we impose based on dogmatic creed. Which is no issue on a PERSONAL level, however, it slowly begins to affect how we view and judge others on a wider SOCIAL level...and THEN it becomes contradictory and thus...CONFLICT arises...and we have this dissonance and divide happen between humans.

But, again, back to the contradition thing.

Give me an example of a spiritual practice say between Buddhism and Christianity that is contradictory in practice to the degree that it would be seen as unacceptable or affective to the other relgion in some way?

I assert that it is very possible to have many religions, they can all get along...all be right...that is, as long as at the base of the religion they respect the dignity and self worth of human beings. Ten commandments are a good start along those lines for Judeo-Christian faith.

however, my "religious belief" structure allows for this. I understand that others have a much stricter definition and will say things such as "If you do not accept Jesus as your savior...then you are going to hell." Which, at the base level, I have no issue with that belief, that is, until it gets translated into "we're right...your wrong".

Does this make sense?

Kevin Leavitt
12-11-2009, 03:01 PM
Here is another example. I have a personal "religious" belief that it is wrong to kill animals for food, and thus I am a vegetarian.

So, should I judge all non-vegetarians as being wrong?

I mean one of us has to be right? Who is right?

But alas, I am not a Vegan...so I am not quite as "right" as someone else that eats no animal products. AND I also am wearing leather boots, and I cannot be absolutely sure I did not step on an ant this morning.

So I suppose I am also a hippocrite too!

So where on the sliding scale does "RIGHT" fall and when is it exactly that you cross into wrong?

Jonathan
12-11-2009, 03:09 PM
I mean that I would take the idea that someone must be wrong a bit further and sugest no one has it 100% correct (i.e. everyone is wrong in some way).

Is this 100% true, or is it wrong in some way?

Being wrong in some way isn't the same as being wrong in every way. Not knowing everything doesn't mean you can't be sure of some things.

Some may have it more correct than others for all I know, but to me none seem likely to have the whole truth on the matter of what God may or may not be (or how best to interact with "Him"). Then again, for all I know, someone does.

I don't think any Christian would tell you that they understand everything about God perfectly, or that He is 100% known. If God is as He is revealed in the Bible (infinite, omnipotent, etc), such knowledge is impossible for finite beings. This doesn't, however, preclude knowing some things about God 100% perfectly. In other words, having only a partial knowledge of God doesn't mean it is impossible to state that some things are true of Him.

Do you realize that your last remark in the above quotation completely undermines everything just before it?

Ok, so the Bible expresses that devotees of God ought do everything (i.e. the "mundane") with the glory of God in mind. Are you suggesting the message is only for people who already have been saved and not for those who merely may yet to be? I take this message to be to all people...not that I'm an expert though.

No, the command of Colossians 3:23 is not for everyone. In context, it is specifically directed at believers in Christ. How could a non-believer be asked to glorify Him in whom he or she doesn't believe?

We basically agree then. I'm simply saying that events which seem ordinary can be spiritual in nature...whatever that may be.

With the caveat that these things are not intrinsically spiritual, but may be made to serve a spiritual purpose.

I mean whatever a genuine spiritual experience may be. I couldn't honestly say I know exactly what one is.

I don't mean to sound rude, but how can you speak coherently about spiritual experience when you have no idea what it is?

What does it mean then? Omnipresent means existing everywhere at the exact same time and implies to me a tacit connection with every part of every thing. Even if I'm right it doesn't necessitate a meaningful connection I suppose, but I think it points to the potential accessibility of God.

Oh sure, I agree that God is potentially immediately accessible to anyone. As a Christian, however, this access is achieved through a very specific means: Jesus Christ.

It seems to me the difference is semantics here. To me "divine connection" simply means connection to the divine.

But it doesn't. In the former instance, the connection itself is defined as divine, while in the latter instance only the thing to which one is connected is divine. This is an important distinction - at least to me. :)

I agree they wouldn't do it by default. I take this line of thinking: I know O Sensei was a spiritual person in the sense that he pursued spiritual understanding and I presume he intended for similarly-minded people to enjoy Aikido as a spiritual experience as well as the physical experience it is. I also presume he wouldn't have had much issue with the idea that some folks wouldn't enjoy it as such.

Sure. Works for me. I don't think, though, that we mean the same thing when referring to OSensei as a "spiritual person."

I appreciate your thoughts on this matter, Matthew. Thanks.

Jon.

Melchizedek
12-11-2009, 03:31 PM
Defining spirituality,

Traditionally, religions have regarded spirituality as an integral aspect of religious experience and have long claimed that secular (non-religious) people cannot experience "true" spirituality. Many do still equate spirituality with religion, but declining membership of organised religions and the growth of secularism in the western world has given rise to a broader view of spirituality...

Secular spirituality carries connotations of an individual having a spiritual outlook which is more personalized, less structured, more open to new ideas/influences, and more pluralistic than that of the doctrinal faiths of organized religions. At one end of the spectrum, even some atheists are spiritual. While atheism tends to lean towards skepticism regarding supernatural claims and the existence of an actual "spirit", some atheists define "spiritual" as nurturing thoughts, emotions, words and actions that are in harmony with a belief that the entire universe is, in some way, connected; even if only by the mysterious flow of cause and effect at every scale.

In contrast, those of a more 'New-Age' disposition see spirituality as the active connection to some force/power/energy/spirit, facilitating a sense of a deep self.

For some, spirituality includes introspection, and the development of an individual's inner life through practices such as meditation, prayer and contemplation. Some modern religions also see spirituality in everything: see pantheism and neo-Pantheism. In a similar vein, Religious Naturalism has a spiritual attitude towards the awe, majesty and mystery it sees in the natural world.

For a Christian, to refer to him or herself as "more spiritual than religious"[citation needed] may (but not always) imply relative deprecation of rules, rituals, and tradition while preferring an intimate relationship with God. The basis for this belief is that Jesus Christ came to free humankind from those rules, rituals, and traditions, giving humankind the ability to "walk in the spirit" thus maintaining a "Christian" lifestyle through that one-to-one relationship with God.

(The above quoted from Wikipedia's article on Spirituality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirituality).)

"Subtle energy" redirects here. For the mystical concept of psychospiritual bodies overlaying the physical body, see Subtle body.
Spiritual practices and ideas often equate life-energy with the breath

The term energy has been widely used by writers and practitioners of various forms of spirituality and alternative medicine to mean to a variety of phenomena, often (though not always) the supposed "fields" surrounding the earth or any living thing, supposed to be directly perceptible and accessible to the human mind as "auras", "rays", "fields" or "vibrations". There is no scientific evidence for any such fields.

In many cases "energy" is conceived of as a universal life force: to this extent "spiritual energy" theories resemble vitalism and may even invoke the Luminiferous Ether of Victorian physics. Additionally, or alternatively, such notions are often aligned with or derived from conceptions found in other cultures, such as the Chinese idea of Qi and the Prajna of the Upanishads. Many such ideas arise from the primitive idea of life as breath - a relationship implicit also in the word "spirit". Such a usage is already evident in William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793);

"Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. Energy is Eternal Delight."

Blake's alignment of energy with affective emotion is noteworthy, for it depicts energy as the psychic continuum that unites body and mind, thus reflecting Plato's celebrated tripartite division of the human psyche into the appetitive, the spirited and the rational. Such an integration of "energy" into systematic esoteric expositions of the universe and/or the human psyche is frequently found combined, as in Kundalini and Theosophy, into an account of a hierarchy of "inner planes" or "subtle bodies".

(The above taken from Wikipedia's article on "Energy (esotericism) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_%28esotericism%29)".)

and more such as, 1. Spirituality and religion, 2. Spiritual path, 3. Spirituality and personal well-being, 4. Spirituality not equal to supernaturalism, 5. Relationship to science, 6. Near-death experience (NDE) 7. Opposition 8. Positive psychology 9. Origin 10. History 11. Study, and so much more to discover like the 66 books of the bible. there is still long way for enlightenment for us yet perhaps if we can live 100 yrs or more..., but its been fun and interesting to study I wish i can live for another 400yrs more, and perhaps it still to short compering to the time line of our universe and heaven and so we are longing to have the Glorified body that God have promise as and eternal happiness I wish to see you all there my fellow Aikidokas in heaven I Love you all.

akiy
12-11-2009, 04:08 PM
Hi folks,

Just wanted to step in here and request that the discussion here in this thread to explicitly include the topic of aikido.

If you'd like to discuss religion and spirituality in a context outside of aikido, please do so in the Open Discussions forum.

Thank you,

-- Jun

Jonathan
12-11-2009, 04:32 PM
Hey, Kevin. Thanks for the very interesting responses!

your view is your view, and I am okay with whatever view you want to hold. My point is that it seems that you believe that it is not possible for anyone to have a spiritual practice that is not defined as you interpret it based ont he Bilble. I do not agree with that, but okay, that is your view and not a big deal really as it doesn't impact me or anyone else until we start exercise power over them in some way to limit there ability to have experiences. Other than that....no issues.

Okay. This is very "live and let live" and I appreciate the peaceful intent of this kind of thinking. I would ask you, though, what difference it makes to you (if any), if what someone else believes sincerely and deeply is just plain false. Is it appropriate to point out the falsity of a belief, or is it better in your view simply to let a person go on in their mistaken notions?

Again, along the same vein, does it really matter if they contradict each other? As long as they can co-exist peacefully what difference does it make to you? Unless you feel a need or compulsion to impose your own morality (power).

Should truth take a back seat to peace? Ignoring truth for the sake of peace is potentially a very destructive practice, don't you think? Imagine a lawyer who took this tack in court; or a journalist who wrote in accordance with this view. Would you want to be convicted of a crime you didn't commit because your lawyer didn't want to fight for the truth of your innocence? Would you want to read the work of a journalist who refused to report the awful truth because it was upsetting and might arouse conflict?

I see the same issue with Gay Marriage really. I am not Gay, but not sure why it matters to people if it is legal or not...again, this is a morality issue so when you go there...yeah it matters to me when we oppress others. (not saying you are doing this...just an example).

I don't think we should oppress others, nor do I think we have to accept what we believe is wrong as being right simply to suit those who don't agree with us.

However, back to the basic discussion of contradictions? What are the contradictions? the fact that I like Red Cars and you Like Blue Motorcycles could also be seen as contradictory if you think it wrong to drive a Red Car. But, is it really contradictory?

A difference in preference is not what I mean when I speak of contradiction. A contradiction is when something is said to be A and non-A at the same time. For instance, if you said your car was red and I said it was blue, we would be in contradiction to one another. The car cannot be both blue and red at the same time. It must be one color or the other (or neither color). In contrast, if you said you liked red cars and I said I liked blue cars we would have different preferences, but not be in genuine contradiction to one another. We might disagree with each other about car color but not be truly contradicting each other.

I mean, I live in the US and you live in Canada...and really what is the problem, unless you dislike red cars so much you don't believe ANY one should be allowed to drive them...so you if you have power over this, then you pass legislation to keep me from drivng a red car...then it affects me. Other than that....no contradicion right.

No, I'm afraid that isn't quite right. See above.

This is my major issue with religion in general is I believe it is easy for us to see external things thorugh our own worldview filter then begin to label things like good/bad, right/wrong, moral/immoral and those judgements are solely based on the filters we impose based on dogmatic creed.

And doing so is bad, or wrong, or immoral in your view?

Which is no issue on a PERSONAL level, however, it slowly begins to affect how we view and judge others on a wider SOCIAL level...and THEN it becomes contradictory and thus...CONFLICT arises...and we have this dissonance and divide happen between humans.

Aside from the fact that you're using the term "contradictory" in an inaccurate way, the nature of truth and the nature of humans makes what you describe here inevitable. It is always unfortunate that matters of truth sometimes have this dissonant effect, but this dissonance is often very necessary (or perhaps unavoidable is a better word). Hitler's evil regime would have run a very different course if conflict over what he was doing hadn't arisen.

Give me an example of a spiritual practice say between Buddhism and Christianity that is contradictory in practice to the degree that it would be seen as unacceptable or affective to the other relgion in some way?

Are you saying you can't think of any examples yourself?

I assert that it is very possible to have many religions, they can all get along...all be right...that is, as long as at the base of the religion they respect the dignity and self worth of human beings. Ten commandments are a good start along those lines for Judeo-Christian faith.

Certainly, I think there is a place for being willing to put up with, or tolerate, another's mistaken thinking or erroneous beliefs. I think perhaps more than any other religion Christianity holds to a view of respect for all people and valuing each person highly as a creation of God. Doing this, however, doesn't mean we can't disagree strongly with those who believe and think things we understand to be false. There is no biblical grounds for a Christian to impose his views by force on others, but he may certainly loudly proclaim them.

however, my "religious belief" structure allows for this. I understand that others have a much stricter definition and will say things such as "If you do not accept Jesus as your savior...then you are going to hell." Which, at the base level, I have no issue with that belief, that is, until it gets translated into "we're right...your wrong".

But if you don't believe that accepting Jesus as your Saviour means you're going to Hell, either you are right and the Christian is wrong, or vice versa. Someone here is wrong, whether or not it is plainly stated.

But I really love Aikido and all the wonderful people across whose path my practice has taken me. Hurrah for Aikido! *looks sheepishly at Jun*

Jon.

Janet Rosen
12-11-2009, 04:37 PM
No, this is far too vague a definition for me. I appreciate the ecumenical motive for it, but the definition is so open that it becomes somewhat meaningless. God, in my view is not an amorphous "origin" or an impersonal "function of the universe." What I understand to be spirituality wouldn't make sense if He were. I can see, though, how such a definition would suit an atheistic perspective very well.

And I have no problem with or arguement about how spirituality is defined for you, by you. At its essence, these are deeply personal matters.

mathewjgano
12-11-2009, 05:58 PM
Being wrong in some way isn't the same as being wrong in every way. Not knowing everything doesn't mean you can't be sure of some things.
Correct, which is why I attempted to make the distinction by using the term "absolute."

I don't mean to sound rude, but how can you speak coherently about spiritual experience when you have no idea what it is?
If I ever said I have "no idea" what it is I'm sure I meant in the absolute sense. My spirituality is heavily rooted in my agnosticism so my standard answer to most matters on the ultimate truth on spirituality is "I don't know," but as you said above, that's not to say I don't know anything. I've had what seemed like spiritual experiences, some of which were even tied directly to my Aikido practice (sorry to get side-tracked, Jun).
Which brings me back to where I started with the idea that mundane activities (like doing 100 sword cuts) might serve a spiritual purpose.

Jonathan
12-11-2009, 09:25 PM
I would love to make further comments on what people have said and clarify my own view more, but I want to respect Jun's admonition, which means I'll say no more here on this matter.

Thanks to all of you for the very interesting exchanges!

Jon.

Kevin Leavitt
12-11-2009, 09:42 PM
Jonathan wrote:

Okay. This is very "live and let live" and I appreciate the peaceful intent of this kind of thinking. I would ask you, though, what difference it makes to you (if any), if what someone else believes sincerely and deeply is just plain false. Is it appropriate to point out the falsity of a belief, or is it better in your view simply to let a person go on in their mistaken notions?



It only really makes a difference to me when their view point begins to affect someone else negatively in some way. I personally think this is something as a society that we need to be very cognizant of.

That is, how our thoughts, words, and deeds affect ourselves and others.

I feel very strongly that this is a big part of aikido philosophy and the concept of "universality" that aikido represents.

Should truth take a back seat to peace? Ignoring truth for the sake of peace is potentially a very destructive practice, don't you think? Imagine a lawyer who took this tack in court; or a journalist who wrote in accordance with this view. Would you want to be convicted of a crime you didn't commit because your lawyer didn't want to fight for the truth of your innocence? Would you want to read the work of a journalist who refused to report the awful truth because it was upsetting and might arouse conflict?

I don't really understand your example about the journalist and lawyer. Sorry.

But to respond on Truth: Whose "truth" yours or theirs?

Nazi's had a very strong belief system and "truths" that were formed about jews and others. That was their truth. Others did not share this truth.

Same with the Inquisition and other "truths". Any truth based on Dogma, I believes only should apply to those who subscribe to that dogma, not to others that do not.

I think there are some basic universal prinicples that are found in all religions that are non-dogmatic and are really the "truths". outside of those, those are the only ones that should appy to all.

Things such as, Treat others as you yourself want to be treated. don't kill, lie, cheat steal...things like that. Things that lead to harm to others.

Once you start going down the path of who, what, when, where, and how...to do things...prescriptive things...then you get into dogma and that is problematic when you try and apply it universally.

I think we really practice this lesson (or should) in our aikido practice.

So as long as you state your position from one of analysis based on harm, then we can talk about things universally. outside of that, I think it is all subject to interpretation and personal belief.

if you said your car was red and I said it was blue, we would be in contradiction to one another.

yes...okay. Well okay, maybe some things in this perspective are more empirical than others. such as red and blue. But how about what is red and blue to a blind person, or a color blind person...how do you agree on the colors then? does it really matter to them? how does this contradiction impact them?

I think the debate is not so much over the color as it is over "I believe red is the right color and blue is the wrong color".

Or that "that tree is God" vice "no it is just a tree".

Again, I go back to causation of harm. How does the belief or non-belief impact the other. Why can't it be BOTH god and not god?

Although I do believe perceptions do matter and having the right one can make a big difference. I love the friend or foe drill we do in aikido sometimes. You know when someone approaches and you have to make a decision if he is going to hit you or shake your hand. How do you get at the "truth" here? how do you boil it down to such a simple thing that you can actually tell what the truth is behind what uke will do?

But, I think this is a different discussion than spirituality as it deals with the concept of intent...that is the intent to be friendly or to cause harm. A very important concept to link with religion as I believe we should always consider if good intent is present or not when someone is working from a religous/dogmatic decision framework.

i.e. do missionaries really care about helping people, or is it a mechanisim for prostelyzation? and has religion helped or harmed indigenious cultures throughout history?

I am not passing judgement on anything in particular, just asking the question in general as I believe it to be important.

I think in many instances intention was/is to help, but in actuality it may not.

I think philosophically, this is also a big part of increasing our ability to get to the truth of harm in Aikido. Understanding the cause and affects or our actions and the sometimes unintended consequences of them.

I don't think we should oppress others, nor do I think we have to accept what we believe is wrong as being right simply to suit those who don't agree with us.

I did not mean to imply that you did believe this. and I agree with your statement. Unfortunately, we have legislative representatives that want to keep or pass laws that are opressive to Gays. I fail to see how being permissive on Gay Marriage mean acceptance to them. If you don't believe in Gay Marriage...don't get one.

Certainly, I think there is a place for being willing to put up with, or tolerate, another's mistaken thinking or erroneous beliefs. I think perhaps more than any other religion Christianity holds to a view of respect for all people and valuing each person highly as a creation of God.

My experiences with many forms of Christianity and the history of the religion in many respects says otherwise. That said, I do not believe that individuals in Christianity all hold these views of course. At a deep level though I personally found that there are some issues I had with most mainline forms that view humans as separate and distinct and not a participant in the divine. Hard to describe here, but I think deep in our pysche it keeps us from having a deep and personal relationship with God and limits our ability to see other possibilities.

I found that the philosophy in AIkido actually helped reconcile alot of this for me.

Sorry, but words like "tolerate" and "erroneous beliefs" make me cringe and I think are a big part of the problem that keeps religions apart, and it is not just Christianity.

I think words like "Acceptance" are a better choice. Why can we not accept that others think differently than we do, and look for the similiarities that they have?

Again, I think this was a big part of the Spiriutal and Philosophical foundations of Aikido...unification, to show that there is room to deeply understand and accept things that we might have at one time thought ot be a threat.

Toleration is very low level. Acceptance is a higher level I believe.

There is no biblical grounds for a Christian to impose his views by force on others, but he may certainly loudly proclaim them.


Okay, I might agree that the Bible does not impose this, but certainly history has seen Societies us the Bible and Christianity to impose force on others both economically, idealogoical, polictical, militarily, and dimplomatically "In the name of Jesus".

But if you don't believe that accepting Jesus as your Saviour means you're going to Hell, either you are right and the Christian is wrong, or vice versa. Someone here is wrong, whether or not it is plainly stated

I dunno....I suppose that depends on your definition and perception of hell. I have met a few folks that are alive and I would submit that they are living in hell already and suffering greatly due to their own actions. I have also met others that have acheived a high level of happiness and have reached heaven/nirvana on earth.

Who imposes and dictates the 5Ws of what hell should be?

anyway...yea...we are a litte off the topic I suppose...but a good conversation to have over the root of spiritualism.

Amassus
12-11-2009, 10:06 PM
Wow...it has been a while since I checked the forums. I'll just put the lid back on the can of worms ;)

Happy training everyone! :ai: :ki:

JW
12-12-2009, 12:59 AM
Well, it's time to sleep and I haven't even finished reading what has been posted. (sorry all!) I feel like we may have been making some headway in establishing a common ground to discuss "spirituality of Aikido," but as Jun points out, maybe we don't need common ground. I suppose each person's post could be prefaced with what they mean by "spiritual." Thus each post will be longer-- but the thread may be more straightforward!

So: when I use the word, I mean this (slightly ammended, and added the word "positive" because I generally agree with what Jon said about the polarity of the relationship in question):
Spirituality here = having to do with a positive appreciation of the discovery of a relationship of one's self with the origins or ongoing functioning of the seemingly unrelated greater reality.

My aikido as of more than a year has been solo training. You could say I have been exploring the harmonious relationship of my mind and body with the ongoing (seemingly eternal) physical efforts of heaven and earth. (Gravity represents an unwavering "mandate from heaven" so to speak-- all masses must be accelerated downwards at 1 g. The earth provides an inexhaustible creativity in response-- it always pushes back up on any force exerted on it, in exact opposition.)

Yet these 2 forms of "universal ki" can never meet except through a vessel. I am that vessel and when I purify out my undue stresses, I can once in a while very cleanly allow heaven and earth to unify inside my body in a special way, and it is an amazing thing. It requires not mere "relaxation" (lack of mind) but a concentrated intent that is in line with heaven, earth, and the tissues of my human body. Thus presence of mind is also a requirement.

So, my human mind and body form a vessel that allows universal complements to come together constructively. I think that fits my definition above. (though I haven't talked about origins or shared roots, just eternal interaction)
Just a bit of what I have been feeling lately. Would love to try to move beyond solo training and being some of this "spirituality" to an attacker!

What I was getting at before was-- I really do think that the nature of what I am celebrating here is present within the words "spirituality" and "god" in some other belief systems, so I really wish we could all talk about what is the same in the core of our belief systems as opposed to drawing lines. (ie if another system uses a word like "god," could the deeper meanings within that word be unpacked to reveal a strong congruence with what I just said? wouldn't that be interesting?)
--Jonathan Wong

JW
12-12-2009, 01:38 AM
One more post, I can't resist. I read what I just wrote and I don't think the spirituality really came across-- I think words don't say it very well. I could probably write a book, and even if it was a good book, and you read it every night, it probably wouldn't come through. It must be experienced first-hand.

So, if I can't say it, maybe what I don't say, but leave hanging, can be more powerful-- here:

I am an athiest, and I believe when we die, our whole being is extinguished. I don't beileve there is a power or being judging us, and I don't believe good or evil are anything but subjective perceptions of beings like humans.
But, isn't this interesting, and of value for exploration: through my aikido practice, the following concepts are becoming real (not just defined and understood, but experienced) for me:
-divinity
-sin
-forgiveness
-afterlife
-sacrament (and the preparation thereof!)

Isn't it weird? Yes, even afterlife, that's a new one for me. But it is less literal-- I say "after" but I also believe that aiki can transcend space and time, so in a sense I don't really mean after I guess. Maybe I need a better word (eternal-life?), but I am just starting to think about some things. I haven't even felt some things yet, just considering them before I do. Maybe that's "faith" needing to be on the above list!

I'm really not kooky either, I am a scientist and when I say things I mean very specific, real things.
It's just sometimes they are weird things, and they can be interpreted a little bit, when we talk about how such weird things are perceived.
--Jonathan Wong

Jonathan
12-13-2009, 01:50 AM
Darn it, Kevin, your posts tempt me severely to respond!

Okay. I'll say a little more and try to tie it in to Aikido training.

It only really makes a difference to me when their view point begins to affect someone else negatively in some way. I personally think this is something as a society that we need to be very cognizant of.

This is the point, more or less, that I was making with my questions to you about the lawyer and journalist. If they hold the (mistaken) view that peace is more important than truth, then people suffer. And this is often the consequence of believing something to be true when it is not.

Even if someone else's mistaken view of what is true does not affect you directly, there is a place, I think, for telling them the truth (even if they don't want to hear it). For example, imagine passing a house with its roof completely engulfed in flames. You can see through the front window of the house that there are people inside. They are sitting calmly, talking together, oblivious to the terrible danger above them. Now, according to what you've stated above, you would simply pass on by since the mistaken belief these people have that they are perfectly safe doesn't affect you directly. Is this right? Would you do such a thing?

But to respond on Truth: Whose "truth" yours or theirs?

Truth is not subjective. The yellow house cannot be pink for you and green for me. The yellow color of the house is an objective reality, a truth, that is independent of an individual's personal preference or opinion. And truth is naturally exclusive. If the dog is black, it is not brown, or white, or blue, or any other color. If the treasure is buried beneath the oak tree in the northwest corner of your yard, it is not buried anywhere else. 2 + 2 = 4, not 6, 20, or any other number. So, then, there is no your truth and my truth, as though truth alters and shifts from person to person, but only the truth, which is typically very narrow and exclusive. Imagine if mathematics operated on the premise that there is no objective mathematical truth, if there was, instead, mathematicians going around saying to each other, "Well, 6 + 6 = 12 might be true for you, but it isn't true for me!" The consequence would be absolute chaos and confusion in the realm of mathematics!

Nazi's had a very strong belief system and "truths" that were formed about jews and others. That was their truth. Others did not share this truth.

Having a strong belief about something makes it true? Really?

Any truth based on Dogma, I believes only should apply to those who subscribe to that dogma, not to others that do not.

Real truth is never based on dogma; truth exists independently of dogma. Very often, it is the source of dogma, as in the case of various branches of science.

Once you start going down the path of who, what, when, where, and how...to do things...prescriptive things...then you get into dogma and that is problematic when you try and apply it universally.

Is this universally true? Are you saying this dogmatically?

I think we really practice this lesson (or should) in our aikido practice.

What do you mean when you say, "shihonage" or "kotegeashi" or "tenkan"? If a student is poking someone in the eye and saying, "This is shihonage," or kicking someone in the groin and saying, "This is kotegaeshi," or running around the room flapping his arms like a chicken saying, "This is tenkan," do you agree? Do you refuse to be dogmatic and prescriptive about what these things are and mean and let him have his own "truth" about these techniques? Or do you say, "Poking someone in the eye is not shihonage. Correct shihonage is done this way."?

So as long as you state your position from one of analysis based on harm, then we can talk about things universally. outside of that, I think it is all subject to interpretation and personal belief.

So, this is just your interpretation, then? Just your personal belief? If so, why should I give it any weight or authority? Why should I believe it is true? As a position not arising from an "analysis based on harm," it has no universal merit, right? ;)

But how about what is red and blue to a blind person, or a color blind person...how do you agree on the colors then? does it really matter to them? how does this contradiction impact them?

Do you know what a "red herring" is? If not, you can see a classic example of one in these questions you're asking. ;)

I think the debate is not so much over the color as it is over "I believe red is the right color and blue is the wrong color".

Not as far as I'm concerned. Whether you're blind, or color blind, or fully sighted, a blue car is a blue car and a red car is a red car. This is a simple matter of fact, not opinion. One's inability to perceive color does not change the reality of the car's color.

Again, I go back to causation of harm. How does the belief or non-belief impact the other. Why can't it be BOTH god and not god?

Because such thinking is illogical, irrational, and unreasonable. This kind of thinking creates confusion, chaos, and ultimately and inevitably, destruction. No man is an island; the effect of the irrationality of one person is never perfectly confined to just that one person.

do missionaries really care about helping people, or is it a mechanisim for prostelyzation?

Why does your question assume the two things are mutually exclusive?

and has religion helped or harmed indigenious cultures throughout history?

Both, I think.

My experiences with many forms of Christianity and the history of the religion in many respects says otherwise. That said, I do not believe that individuals in Christianity all hold these views of course.

If you want to understand what Christianity should look like, what it should be, simply look at Christ. He sets the standard for how Christians ought to behave. When Christians do not behave like Christ, they are not succeeding, but failing, as Christians.

Sorry, but words like "tolerate" and "erroneous beliefs" make me cringe and I think are a big part of the problem that keeps religions apart, and it is not just Christianity.

I think words like "Acceptance" are a better choice. Why can we not accept that others think differently than we do, and look for the similiarities that they have?

It is completely possible to accept that another person has a different view from one's own and look for some common ground with him/her and at the same time tolerate his/her erroneous beliefs. Accepting that a person has different beliefs than one's own does not necessarily involve embracing those differing beliefs. Especially if the other person's differing views are utterly fallacious, it is irrational (if not dangerous) to accept those views as true or legitimate. But rejecting these false views does not mean one should reject the one who holds them. Not at all. Acceptance and toleration are not mutually exclusive, or at opposite ends of a spectrum. In fact, I think they are directly related. If I refuse to accept someone simply as another human being with inherent value, I will most certainly not tolerate those things they believe that I think are wrong.

Again, I think this was a big part of the Spiriutal and Philosophical foundations of Aikido...unification, to show that there is room to deeply understand and accept things that we might have at one time thought ot be a threat.

Toleration is very low level. Acceptance is a higher level I believe.

Low or high level what? Aikido?

To come full circle: Do I believe Aikido has anything spiritual to offer? Not really. But it does have some excellent philosophical, relational and physical principles to teach. I did not come to Aikido looking for something spiritual and after more than twenty years of fruitful, enjoyable training am no more interested in what "spirituality" Aikido has to offer than when I began. Can others have spiritual experiences in practicing Aikido? I believe they think they have such experiences, but what they typically describe sounds to me like nothing more than very self-focused, positive, emotional highs. The word "transcendent" is used sometimes in describing these moments of strong positive emotion, but these spiritual experiences almost never are truly "transcendent" - merely intensely pleasant and/or introspective. These spiritual experiences also do not usually involve a divine being that is not essentially a construct or mirror of the individual's own preferences and opinions. When many people speak of what is divine, then, in these "spiritual" moments, the word "divine" is actually self-referential. But how spiritual can an experience be when it is fundamentally self-worship? Not very, in my view.

Well, its 2 am and I'm too tired to think anymore.

Thanks again for all the very stimulating dialogue!

This really will be my last kick at the can.

Jon.

mathewjgano
12-13-2009, 03:57 PM
Can others have spiritual experiences in practicing Aikido? I believe they think they have such experiences, but what they typically describe sounds to me like nothing more than very self-focused, positive, emotional highs.
Are you saying here that others cannot have spiritual experiences in practicing Aikido? You suggest that which is usually experienced is little more than good feelings. Perhaps you could describe an authentic spiritual experience so I can see the difference?
I think this is the subjective truth Kevin is pointing to. There may be one subjective reality, but all human perception is somewhat subjective in nature, and without objective proof, we're left with individual perceptions on the reality of the divine.

The word "transcendent" is used sometimes in describing these moments of strong positive emotion, but these spiritual experiences almost never are truly "transcendent" - merely intensely pleasant and/or introspective.
I'm curious what your frame of reference is to allow you this kind of knowledge. My understanding is that no one has any way of substantiating another's experience as to whether or not it's spiritual in nature so I'm curious how you can make what sounds like a pretty large presumption.

But how spiritual can an experience be when it is fundamentally self-worship? Not very, in my view.
Since I can't speak for any experiences other than my own, I'd just like to add that I don't worship myself. I'm pretty awesome sometimes, but my awe tends to go toward something much larger than myself; something which appears transcendent and interconnected and universal. But that could all be delusion for all I know (don't know what I don't know, after all). Hopefully God is forgiving should I make a mistake.

RED
12-14-2009, 10:04 PM
This thread is becoming a pissing match.... how aiki! :p

David Board
12-14-2009, 10:16 PM
This thread is becoming a pissing match.... how aiki! :p

Projecting their ...ki. Yep, that's it

[I'm new so it's a new joke to me. I have a strong feeling it's older than well the one about the chicken and the road and not half as funny. However I will enjoy it for moment.]

RED
12-14-2009, 10:20 PM
Projecting their ...ki. Yep, that's it

[I'm new so it's a new joke to me. I have a strong feeling it's older than well the one about the chicken and the road and not half as funny. However I will enjoy it for moment.]

Everyone's ki is leaking :freaky:

David Board
12-14-2009, 10:43 PM
Everyone's ki is leaking :freaky:

My wife is a yoga teacher she has a series of exercises that strength your, um, internal power that might help this situation. Depends if your looking for an external solution or a more internal one, kegel.
:hypno:

mathewjgano
12-14-2009, 11:56 PM
This thread is becoming a pissing match.... how aiki! :p

I don't think so. At least...I didn't...
I'm just trying to understand clearly, but perhaps I was rude somehow. I certainly didn't mean to make it some kind of competition. Maybe I should have taken more time to explain myself instead of trying to be to the point. At least, I can see where that might seem a bit abrupt. Was that what you were referring to?

jonreading
12-15-2009, 02:01 PM
What does spirituality mean to you as a practitioner of aikido?

What the heck, I'll bite.

First, The Spirit of Aikido is a great book. I think Doshu was trying to prepare Western culture for an Eastern martial art and he spends significant time addressing the culture shock as Westerners absorb aikido. For the purpose of my continued response, I will clarify that Eastern spirituality is different than my spirituality [Western].

Second, I believe spirituality is the part of our bodies that gives us uniqueness within the world. Spirituality in not religion, but is kindred to religion because it is not tangible. Spirituality is the essence of who we are and our impact on the world around us.

I believe individuals can have strong spirit, weak spirit, good spirit or bad spirit. Like our bodies and minds, we can have healthy sprirt and we can have sick spirit. I believe our actions and the worthiness of our lives conditions and refines our spirit. I also believe that we make poor decisions that damage our spirit.

My instructor once said that you cannot hide who you are on the mat. Your personality will eventually show itself if you train long enough. I do not believe more truer words have been said concerning this statement. The connection I draw from spirituality to aikido is that you will eventually face your true spirit on the mat, not the one you profess to have. In this sense, akido serves as a mirror to reflect your spirit so you may improve upon it.

Religion serves as judgement (and absolution) for the poor decisions we make in our lives as we seek to improve our spirit. "Big Brother" comes to mind, but each religion sets forth rules that govern judgement and absolution. Religion allows us to secretly confess those poor decisions, and receive support to deal with the consequences of those decisions.

Allow me a moment of admonishment based upon my above statements... When given to opportunity to improve our spirit on the mat, how many of us find an excuse to not train? Was it the long night out? Homework? A special episode of Family Guy? Think of the spirit Osensei's uchi deshi (and other today) must have to perform the work they did and train the hours they did. Think of the committment those students must have to train early in the morning and after a day's work. I know I fail to compare the spirit these students had (and have), and I struggle to be a little more resolved in my committment when I hear inspiring stories about students who exemplify what aikidoka means.

This is why aikido is more than physical exercise or mental training. This is why we train when we are tired, or distracted, or hurt, or any of those other little reasons that keep us from class.

mathewjgano
12-15-2009, 02:01 PM
I've thought up a new alter ego for myself: The Plonkmeister.:uch: :D

I don't think so. At least...I didn't...

...But I'll take the dead air as some form of confirmation. Sorry folks. I thought the thread was going well and really didn't mean to put anyone off on it.
Taking a seat,
Matthew

RED
12-15-2009, 08:12 PM
My wife is a yoga teacher she has a series of exercises that strength your, um, internal power that might help this situation. Depends if your looking for an external solution or a more internal one, kegel.
:hypno:

yeah, the gyno suggested those exercises as well. :cool:

thisisnotreal
12-15-2009, 10:12 PM
...But I'll take the dead air as some form of confirmation.
Matthew,
No; I disagree; and don't think that's right; and i don't think you should take it that way.
The issue is; this is difficult to discuss.

For many people this is a lifetime's culmination of moments, decisions, commitments, thoughts and positions.
It is difficult to make a bridge to one another so briefly.

Usually the mechanics of these conversations go one of two ways
1) try to outline with absolute rigor the mindset/backdrop/etc and then discuss in neutral terms (that is correct; but boring as all heck; and usually dries up any of the passion that originated the conversation) or 2)be direct about what you think; as innocuously as possible; and ride the wave; and see how it goes. (usually starts flame wars and invokes hurt feelings)

Frankly; the fastest way is 2) but usually it gets out of hand and rude because; unlike most thoughts or facts of knowledge; here we 'identify with the thoughts/roles/beliefs' and it is implicitly personal. So... all that to say...

many beliefs are inherently self-contradictory and having a discussion that pretends there are no substantial differences is disingenuous. trying to hash out the differences in an open format is also difficult because there are invariably a thousand good questions; that must be addressed. Also; some 'truths' are mutually exclusive and will be shattered when tested in the light of all knowns; and 'most-likely' considersations. Then there is the issue of willful pride which we all face. But that is a story for another day.

belief should not be easy; and in fact it should be agonizingly difficult and precise such that any rest or solace you take from where you end up should be a concrete firmament on which you would bet your very existence. "Would you bet your life on it?". Because we literally are.
This does not come cheap; and it is so very hard to express in a precise way. That said; it can be done; but it is oh so hard.

m2c
--Josh

thisisnotreal
12-15-2009, 10:14 PM
I've thought up a new alter ego for myself: The Plonkmeister.:uch: :D


i also have the 'dim mak' and apply it often to threads.

aaah sooo

<zoink>
{....fades to black....{

thisisnotreal
12-15-2009, 10:52 PM
Hello again, Mr. Barrish,
Thank you kindly for your detailed response. I appreciate it; I have a few ideas and questions I will share... but I don't know if they are even possible to answer. There may be some disconnects in the way I phrased some things. Also, I hope to give no offense; but to share a different point of view and some thoughts and questions.
Please, you may call me Josh, if you like.

1st may I say I did not write the prayer Itadakimasu.. the Kami mentioned are:
1) Hi-no-OO-Kami = a way to refer to Amaterasu Omikami meaning the sun/ taiyo= the solar progenitor. In Shinto thinking all life dependent on divine sunshine. If we think deeply about it maybe is natural to be grateful for sunshine.
2) The other kami mentioned in this prayer is Toyoukehimenomikoto, who is kami of foodstuffs as well as things made by human effort to sustain human life. Maybe it is also natural to be grateful for life sustaining food. If we hike in the mountains and become very hungry we can really savor the nourishment and taste of a snack…if we are living a life seeking meaningful connection to and harmony with life giving forces we might be really grateful for the gift of nourishment, which is ultimately dependant on divine solar power.
These names come from the Jinja Shinto -- but the forces involved exist outside of that paradigm.

I think I understand. In the way you wrote it; "the forces involved exist outside of that paradigm": Would it be fair to say that ultimately; what you are talking about is a worship of the nature powers?
In this worldview, I struggle with the answer about the explanation of ultimate origins. Where did the original sunshine come from? If I understand correctly; the 'origin stories' are, for instance, particular in this case to a Shinto backdrop, but again, I believe; the forces involved exist outside this; and we are left with an allegory or archetypal story. At it's limit; is not the universal ultimate force relegated the 'ki'; viewed as unmanifest; and the source of all potentials? I always struggled to understand if this was yet another force (i.e. a law; akin to gravity) or if there was a consciousness directing the flow of the tao. My question may be faulty if I have assumed too much. Any comments you offer I am sure will be interesting.


In my opinion as the licensed Jinja Shinto Chief Priest and the person who has studied Aiki movement for some years (40) esoteric Shinto thinking re: the Oharahi-no-kotoba (the most important liturgy of Shinto) and the founders thinking re: mission of Aikido are quite analogous- but that is just my opinion.

I am not sure, but I may have missed your meaning here. Is there somewhere you wouldn't mind referring me to that liturgy (with translation?). I would like to read it.
I am curious; you mention the movement of aiki:: Do you feel strongly in one way or another about the way aiki in-yo ho has been discussed on these boards?


Mr Philipson wrote:
Is Aikido or does Aikido presume a religion? Do some 'fit' better than other? Was it 'designed' with a 'fit' in mind? As Aikido comes from O-Sensei, so the source of the spirituality in Aikido is from O-Sensei (is it right?) and all that informed his beliefs. I do not think he separated Aikido from his beliefs. In fact; I think this wholistic view is implicit. This is something I have not yet settled for myself. Put another way: Is there an intended immutable spirituality in Aikido?

Again I can only offer opinions, it is my opinion that Aikido= Jujitsu + Shinto. May I say at this point that Shinto is not Religion, rather a Natural spirituality and a reflection of a time when humankind was connected to Divine Nature and able to intuit certain things about life by that connection to life giving forces.

That is very interesting.
I think that you are right about Aikido=Jujitsu + Shinto. This is personal; but I am not Shinto; and I wonder sometimes if and what it means to not 'fully partake' in Aikido. Is it even possible to 'do Aikido' if you are not doing the whole thing. There was another 'mathematical' expression I read on the boards where Aikido=1/2(aiki) + 1/2(spirituality) ....actually that is the exact same equation, is'nt it (i just realized that).


Relative to an "immutable spirituality in Aikido" I would say certainly not..of course everyone's Aikido is their own.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Ancient peoples thinking did not divide material and spiritual existence, but considered that the both were inseparable, seeing everything to be spiritual.

These are very interesting times we see in the world. Many ways to think and see it all; but one thought that occurs to me is that It seems that there are two main camps of people; one that seek to adhere to reverence and spirituality; and another that seek to throw off the 'shackles of old beliefs'. Depending on who/what you read (online and/or off) it seems really it is an intense and changing time.

Thank you for posting the explanations from the FAQ; and especially the parts about kami. It was very interesting and well written.

Therefore, Shinto does not percieve substantial difference or discontinuation between Kami and man, Kami and Divine Nature, or nature and human beings. It can be said that Shinto is basically the faith in Kannagara /the continuous positive movement of the life-giving forces."



Again in my opinion it is not at all necessary to anthropomorphize thinking re: life giving forces … if we can stand firmly on the Earth and receive the rich vitality of Earth while being nourished by and receiving inspiration for the sun we feel really alive and naturally be grateful to forces and the actions of others in the past present and future who support us. How exactly each individual thinks of and relates to these forces is very personal.

I wonder (aloud) is there not a commonality of perception and thought at 'high level' shinto? Is 'communication' a valid concept...meaning is there a back and forth. Please pardon me if the question is out of line by being too personal. It is something I wonder.

Thank you for sharing.

Mr. Barrish, thank you again for the rare conversation. It is my hope and intent not to be anything but sincere and honest. Sometimes my instinct to ask questions or share thoughts outweights my sense of decorum; and I hope I have not done this here.
Respectfully,
Josh P.

Kevin Leavitt
12-16-2009, 12:22 AM
I've thought up a new alter ego for myself: The Plonkmeister.:uch: :D

...But I'll take the dead air as some form of confirmation. Sorry folks. I thought the thread was going well and really didn't mean to put anyone off on it.
Taking a seat,
Matthew

Sorry haven't had time to respond to much.

In addtion, with respect to the topic of the thread, and what we are discussing It appears that there are two polar view points philosophically concerning what constitutes "truth" and who can dictate it.

As religious beliefs/convictions typically run strong for folks, especially when it is based on a particular faith believe as is covered in a book such as the Koran, Bible, or other scripture. (Not knocking it by any means), and that faith holds certain truths as fundamental and absolute....it doesn't do much good past a certain point to continue the discusison as it degrades into an "I'm right, your wrong" kinda conversation.

I respect peoples freedom and choice to believe whatever they want to, and as I stated, I am good with that as long as that belief does not adversely affect someone else.

As such, I don't see much point on continuing the discussion along these lines.

I think it is best to get back on the topic of spirituality of aikido and discuss issues related to this.

If someone doesn't see the point or believe that some of the things that are done in the practice lend to spiritual development/enlightment in some way...no problem...drive on and let those that do discuss it without interference!

Thanks all for the discussion and keeping it polite and respectful!

thisisnotreal
12-16-2009, 12:51 AM
..
If someone doesn't see the point or believe that some of the things that are done in the practice lend to spiritual development/enlightment in some way...no problem...drive on and let those that do discuss it without interference!

Thanks all for the discussion and keeping it polite and respectful!

Hi Kevin,
Here's a question for you: if you don't mind sharing your thoughts:

some of the things that are done in the practice lend to spiritual development/enlightment in some way
May I ask; How (& what) do you think this happens?
In my first post I linked to some of Mr. Hebert's posts; and I thought that was a good answer to it. I am curious to hear your, and others', views on it.

Cheers,
Josh

Abasan
12-16-2009, 01:14 AM
I think I've read some where that Osensei did say that Aikido will perfect your religion. I don't think he was concern so much of it replacing your religion. Rather I think the spirit one would cultivate in the proper practice of Aikido will help you attain a higher spiritual level in your present religion, if that is what you're looking for in the first place.

Lets face it, most who abide by a religious order today are probably doing things by rote. Sure do the good deed and avoid the bad so that our soul will go to heaven or at least spend as little time as possible in hell. But truly understanding religion is probably something that most wouldn't spend too much time on. Afterall, there's all that worldly stuff to do and too little time do it all.

Before Osensei died, he called all his senior students to see him and he will impart the secret of aikido. The first day, everyone came. Pack to the brim. The 2nd, half came. The 3rd, only what you can count with your fingers. When asked, some of the students will say we don't know what he's talking about. All he talked about is God. There is no secret!

This was related by a Shihan who was an uchideshi to Osensei, to my sensei. So forgive any error on my part. But I understand the predicament. Osensei was enlightened in a way beyond the physical aspects of martial arts. That's why in his later years, the emphasis was never on the technique per se. I believe he wanted us to adjust our attitude and heart. Aiki no kokoro...

Most students however did not come to Aikido practice to learn how to be priests. They came to learn how to be strong, how to defeat countless of people the way Osensei did. Its not fair that this old man has the secret but keeps teaching nonsense, so they stopped hearing what he had to say and tried to unravel the physical aspect of it. Just like Tohei who found another path. He believed Osensei did things a different way to what he was telling his students to do. Like to grip hard but in actual fact he gripped softly. Tohei thought he found out the secret. But in reality, you can grab Osensei hard or soft and the result will remain the same. Tohei used awareness to counter sneak attacks by his students. Osensei's awareness didn't come from smart thinking or observation. His awareness came from his enlightenment. What opening can you find on someone who's level is, if you attack you are in fact attacking yourself?

I think its fair to say, Osensei was trying to teach the secret but no one believed him.

I believe Aikido is a path that can lead to spiritual fulfilment. Its goal of harmony encompasses a lot of what religion ask of their followers. When we understand our point of origin is the same as everyone out there, we understand Aikido and we understand religion.

Kevin Leavitt
12-16-2009, 04:15 AM
Hi Kevin,
Here's a question for you: if you don't mind sharing your thoughts:

May I ask; How (& what) do you think this happens?
In my first post I linked to some of Mr. Hebert's posts; and I thought that was a good answer to it. I am curious to hear your, and others', views on it.

Cheers,
Josh

Looked back at Mr Herbert's post. I am not exactly sure what part of it you are talking about, however, I do not agree with his model that has spirituality and martial effectiveness on the same axis. that is, spiritualilty on one end and martial effectiveness on the other.

I would submit that they are not even on the same axis. Maybe parallel to each other and maybe not even related at all.

More later as I have some time...gotta get to work in a few.

Kevin Leavitt
12-16-2009, 11:38 AM
Hopefully I am in the ballpark on what you were asking.

I think spirituality is a individual thing for the most part, what one person finds significance in might be different than another.

From my readings it appears that O'Sensei felt that it was and a good path to communicate many of his thoughts.

Yoga is another one that seems to have a high affinity for sprituality.

However for many Yoga is a form of exercise. Heck what most people know about yoga is only the exercise. Most don't know that there are different types of Yoga as an integrated practice and what most people in the U.S, at least, call "Yoga" is "Hatha Yoga" or exercises. There are many other dimensions of yoga that are comprehensive. The intent of Hatha Yoga is really to prepare the body for meditation to be over simplistic, and meditation is related to calming the mind, which leads to a greater happiness and/or enlightment.

Does Aikido have such a defined path as say yoga? Or is it that most of the AIkido we practice simply the "exercise" or physical part of the practice?

Surely for some, there is a deeper meaning for Aikido, but for others, it is simply a physical pracitce/martial art.

What does it matter? I don't think it does at all. Aikido is a martial art cerntered around martial principles of movement and it is based on a philosophy of the founder. As a methodology I think our primary function is to learn it as a martial practice first and foremost...and to be honest to that practice. Failure to do so I think is dishonest both martially and spritually.

Maybe this is the real rub for alot of folks. That is, placing attachment that is not real.

I think that trained hard, honestly, and correctly that budo will change you, I don't think this is avoidable if you are sincere and honest in your practice.

Is that change spiritual to you? Some may say no. Can we agree that it expands your understanding and thus make you a "better you". I think most of us (hopefully) will agree on that.

To me, this is spiritual...to others, they may not label it this way.

I think both are fine.

Rev.K. Barrish
12-16-2009, 02:39 PM
Hello Everyone,

Hello Josh-san, I am sorry to be slow to reply, the New Years Season is the busiest time of the year at the Shinto Shrine and now we are working to prepare to welcome many many shrine visitors-- so I have not been able to visit Aikiweb for a few days.. Josh-san, you wrote:
“I think I understand. In the way you wrote it; "the forces involved exist outside of that paradigm": Would it be fair to say that ultimately; what you are talking about is a worship of the nature powers?
In this worldview, I struggle with the answer about the explanation of ultimate origins. Where did the original sunshine come from? If I understand correctly; the 'origin stories' are, for instance, particular in this case to a Shinto backdrop, but again, I believe; the forces involved exist outside this; and we are left with an allegory or archetypal story. At it's limit; is not the universal ultimate force relegated the 'ki'; viewed as unmanifest; and the source of all potentials? I always struggled to understand if this was yet another force (i.e. a law; akin to gravity) or if there was a consciousness directing the flow of the tao. My question may be faulty if I have assumed too much. Any comments you offer I am sure will be interesting.”

It might be useful to think in terms of gratitude to and relationship with the life giving forces… something analogous to relationship with a very respected Grandparent. As for original Sunshine the Shinto thinking is that Takamanohara/ our Sun and Solar system where created 7 generations /sometime after the origin of Takaamahara/ the Universe. As for Ki in Shinto thinking: KI is primal causer…everything is started by KI. The Great Universe is started by KI. Your mood, decisions and actions are initiated by Ki. Of course negative Ki exists but we can purify ourselves to sense Ki and to receive positive Ki.

Josh-san, you wrote:
“I am not sure, but I may have missed your meaning here. Is there somewhere you wouldn't mind referring me to that liturgy (with translation?). I would like to read it.
I am curious; you mention the movement of aiki:: Do you feel strongly in one way or another about the way aiki in-yo ho has been discussed on these boards?”

Oharahi-no-kotoba is really long.. if you don’t mind please send me a direct email and I will send you a file. Oharahi-no-Kotoba is associated with Sarutahiko Okami----Ancestor Kami of Aikido is the Kami of Ki: SARUTAHIKO OKAMI who presides over all matters within the atmosphere of Onogorojima (Earth) as ancestor of all earthly kami. Sarutahiko Okami carries the great mission of activating/ vitalizing the soul, enhancing spirituality and guiding humankind. Ooharahi-no-kotoba teaches us that the mission of Human beings is to become interchangeable with the Kunitsu Kami...this is exactly as Kaiso (Aikido Founder) stated when he said " all movements of Aikido were gifted by SarutahikonoOkami and the ultimate aim of Aikido was to become like SarutahikonoOkami. ..................................................my thinking is that ultimately Shinto and Aikido aim to answer the common desires of humankind (FUTOMANI).
As for discussions of Aiki In-Yo ho, I am sorry to say I have not read that thread yet…
Josh-san wrote:
“That is very interesting.
I think that you are right about Aikido=Jujitsu + Shinto. This is personal; but I am not Shinto; and I wonder sometimes if and what it means to not 'fully partake' in Aikido. Is it even possible to 'do Aikido' if you are not doing the whole thing. There was another 'mathematical' expression I read on the boards where Aikido=1/2(aiki) + 1/2(spirituality) ....actually that is the exact same equation, is'nt it (i just realized that).”

Shinto is natural spirituality in contrat to Religion, so there is no Shinto/ not Shinto.

Josh-san wrote:
“I wonder (aloud) is there not a commonality of perception and thought at 'high level' shinto? Is 'communication' a valid concept...meaning is there a back and forth. Please pardon me if the question is out of line by being too personal. It is something I wonder.”

Thank you for your kind thinking. Please don’t be at all concerned--- I am happy to do my best to answer questions. Interestingly enough the job of Shinto Priests is to conduct rituals…. Shinto is very “undogmatic” so if you asked 15 different Kannushi (Shinto Priests) the same question you would likely find differing opinions except about the precise nature of Gishiki/ritual. Josh-san thank you again for your kind thinking.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu
K. Barrish
Tsubaki Jinja
http://www.tsubakishrine.org
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Tsubakiko/

donhebert
12-16-2009, 06:48 PM
Hi All,

My thanks to everyone for an interesting discussion.

I would like to expand a bit on my post that Josh Phillipson has so kindly referenced. In that post I asked myself two fundamental questions:

1. Why do I continue to practice Aikido?
2. Is there a spiritual component that is specific to Aikido and if so is anyone practicing it?

The answer to my first question is connected (but not fully answered) by the ramifications of the second question. Despite having my original post referenced, It don't expect that anyone is interested in why I am practicing Aikido. However, since the "Spirituality of Aikido" thread now has over 60 posts, it might work to address some comments to question 2.

My sense from reading and talking to people who knew him, I don't think that O'sensei had a vague, generalized sense of spirituality in Aikido. On the contrary it seems evident that he had very concrete spiritual ideas and goals and that his creation of Aikido was as much an outcome of these efforts as it was a tool to achieve them. Many of his spiritual ideas were taken from his long association with Shinto and Omoto-kyo. Nevertheless, despite his compelling personality, few of his students understood or cared what he was talking about. Almost no Aikidoists active today incorporate these spiritual approaches in their own practice.

Yet a spiritual thread persists in today's Aikido and people sense its undercurrent, even some who would disavow it. This spiritual association is what often draws people to Aikido in the first place and after they start they often remain hungry for some sort of spiritual food from their training.

Here is one example. Consider the existence of illusions that exist on the path of Aikido. It seems to me that some of the teachings of Aikido entail grappling with the illusions that Aikido can present. One might say that beginners are most susceptible to these illusions, but I notice that some of us who have practiced a long time have hardened our illusions into personal reality. One of the biggest example of this is the illusion of invincibility. Don't many Shihan express amazing powers when demonstrating their art with skilled ukes? Aren't we all interested in the stories of O'sensei remaining undefeated as fighter, even into old age? Telling stories of fights and battles are an ancient form that are magnified many times over in our culture through movies and other media. It is safe to say that our culture is literally entranced by the archetype of the warrior who wins through against all odds.

The illusion of power is the source of a lot of stuck energy in Aikido (although paradoxically offering a solution). I see this in the way we think about Nage/Uke. When I first started Aikido I dreamt that I found a way that enabled me to Nage my way through life. By studying the principles and becoming skilled enough, one could prevail in any situation. This is the same thinking that fuels many of the forum discussions about martial effectiveness.

Problem #1 with my dream is that my skill level has failed to rise (ahem) to that of Jedi status. But problem #2 is that it is actually unattainable. Striving for excellence (and even beauty) in our training is a good thing. Martial skill is an edge we train and as such can be a servant of a higher purpose. However, Invincibility is a spiritual (and physical) illusion that can lead us into a confused landscape.

I recall the famous Holocaust author Primo Levi recounted an incident that occurred while he was a prisoner in Auschwitz. The Germans always recruited certain prisoners to be the ones in charge of each hut and conditions were such that these prisoners became as brutal as the German guards. They were cruelly efficient at crushing the spirit and resistance of all newcomers. However, despite their status, these hut leaders were only marginally better off than the other prisoners and existed in a malnourished, weakened state. One time a new prisoner was assigned to his hut - a young man in the prime of his strength. I believe that he asked a hut leader a question or perhaps protested against some order. The result is that the hut leader struck him. The young man instinctively struck back. The other prisoners threw in with the leader and ganged up on him. Although he was far stronger than any individual opponent he could not out-fight them. In the end, they drowned him the soup. Does anyone seriously think that O'Sensei himself could have fought his way to some kind of victory in this situation?

In Aikido, our invincibility stories are teaching us something. The short answer to the illusion of invincibility is that no amount of skill will prevent any of us from experiencing decline and death. However, spiritual work might help us understand and live the predicament of our mortality. From this perspective one could say that the role of Uke is ultimately the more important one - how can we gracefully take the fall. I have come to appreciate the physical practice of Ukemi and the way it informs an important personal spiritual question.

For me, Aikido is like dreaming. Information comes up from some well whether I want it or not.

I think most Aikidoists resist a spiritual orthodoxy in their practice and I think this skepticism is well justified given the current state of the world's main religions. Yet I still remain interested in Aikido's potential as a unique spiritual way and I remain curious as to how others think about this.

Kind Regards,
Don Hebert

Abasan
12-16-2009, 07:47 PM
"The young man instinctively struck back. The other prisoners threw in with the leader and ganged up on him. Although he was far stronger than any individual opponent he could not out-fight them. In the end, they drowned him the soup. Does anyone seriously think that O'Sensei himself could have fought his way to some kind of victory in this situation?"

Personally, asking this type of question is pure rhetoric. Osensei has had his fair share of adversity and overcame them. That he didn't overcome every sort of human adversity that ever existed does not demean his ability in anyway.

Gozo Shioda was witness to Osensei's feat against armed man who shot him but missed only to find Osensei throwing him from behind. It wasn't something related by Osensei as a gospel, it was a remarkable incident related by witnesses. Osensei was no God either. He met a marksman whom he knew he couldn't dodge and called it as it is thereby holding the man from pulling the trigger.

To me, the question that Spirituality gives you strength was never in doubt. But if you confuse that with invincibility than I suppose that's where we'll be rudely awaken.

h2o
12-16-2009, 08:35 PM
Any activity can be done in a spiritual way. Life itself can be seen as a source of spiritual lessons. Equally, it can be lived with out any consideration or interest for these aspects of it. Likewise aikido.

That said, some activities more than others are conducive for being carried out as a 'way'. Artists, craftsmen, athletes, farmers, fishermen, intellectuals and so on... nearly anyone can integrate spirituality with what they do. However, aikido seems, to me, to have encoded in it some very important things in it's makeup that are isomorphic with the way life and the universe seems to work, and as such it especially lends itself for use as a tool for personal and spiritual growth. But not everybody needs to carry it out in that way. We are all aware of very highly skilled martial artists who do not have the goal of spiritual understanding or development Power to them! I would also add my voice to those that assert that martial intent and seriousness is hugely valuable in and of itself, and for the spiritual project.

Interestingly - I know somebody who is a serious student of martial arts (not aikido) who categorically denies any spiritual element to their practice. However he has deeply improved certain character flaws since he started and seems more balanced, open, and well.. human dammit. Obviously there is no cosmology or any of the more dogmatic and structured "truths" of spirituality that he's thinking of, but in my view any of these ways of engaging with reality are just another interim point on the way, no better or worse than simply practicing and living, and forming your own opinions.

I know another man who drives a garbage truck for a living and seems to me to have many of the qualities associated with what has been described as enlightenment in some traditions. I'm not sure how he got there, maybe it was driving the garbage truck, maybe he was born that way. i don't know. i don't know if he would either.

I also think aikiweb is a great place to observe and understand some of these different ways of engaging with practice and self and life in general, and with each other AND with the conflicts that result. Thanks everyone! My first proper post - thanks for reading.

Xue Kli
06-28-2010, 11:48 AM
I haven't read through entire thread, but I have looked at a few other threads here and couldn't actually find the original one about Christianity and Aikido.
My own experiences in combining Aikido and Christianity are these: I am an Orthodox Christian for over 22 years and also a martial artist for pretty much the same amount of time. I managed to combine the two for the most part by making a compromise. I don't practice certain aspects of martial arts.
When I decided to start Aikido practice I asked my priest if this is something I could do(Orthodox Christianity is pretty strict about most ideas of this kind) and was surprised by priest's answer that i could do so. Yes, he put certain conditions, as to putting my religious practice first and so on. But no one stops me from attending Aikido school and ALL of my classmates there are pretty supportive. yes, we differ on our religious views, but we not only accept each other but care about each other in a very deep way.
And actually, surprisingly, I found that my life has changed to a better because i learned to compromise. My religion helps me at the Aikido school and learning conflict management helps me to be a better Christian.