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Jack Robertson
02-19-2004, 02:46 PM
How does one begin to try to develop spiritually?

I'm not in a dojo yet, and wont be for another 2 months give or take.

Meditation? special breathing patterns? things to focus on?

Can anyone give me something to try?


Thanks: )

Don_Modesto
02-19-2004, 03:37 PM
How does one begin to try to develop spiritually?

I'm not in a dojo yet, and wont be for another 2 months give or take.

Meditation? special breathing patterns? things to focus on?

Can anyone give me something to try?
Well, fwiw, the founder, who considered aikido to be advanced martial art, didn't allow people to enter his dojo until they'd mastered some other martial art. That is, concrete martial abilities presupposed the spiritual stuff.

(Saotome writes eloquently on this in his Aikido and the Harmony of Nature.)

Good luck in your training.

Jamie Stokes
02-19-2004, 04:10 PM
Hello Jack,

I guess I'm heading down the same path as you.

what I do is try and "clear the clutter" from my head. You know, work, relationships, house hold tasks etc.

I do this by finding at least 20 minutes a day

just quiet time. No radio, tv, kids, dogs, phones etc.

either 10 minutes in the morning, 10 at night, 5 in the morning etc.

Those few minutes of silence, after a while, helps to get rid of the "static" we accumulate during the day, so we can really tune into our inner selves.

this is just my take:)

There are many ways to find spirituality, find the way that works for you.

So try, try, try.

You'll know what works for you.

If it doesn't work, try something else.

Warmest regards,

Jamie

Jack Robertson
02-19-2004, 04:59 PM
Thanks for replying Don and Jamie.

Don, maybe there was another reason he only took students who mastered some other martial art. Perhaps he wanted students who were dedicated and his way of making sure they were dedicated was having them already have done the training to have mastered another art.

Jamie, I like your idea of quiet time. I'm going to experiment a bit. I have 2-3 months before I start my dojo training:)

Thanks again: )

SeiserL
02-19-2004, 10:35 PM
Spiritual development? Means different things to different people.

Meditation helps. Some one once told me that prayer is when you talk to God and meditation is when you listen. Just relax and quietly listen to the silence.

Overcome your own ego. Don't take yourself too seriously or too personally. Life is not all about you. Realize there is more to the over all plan that you know or can control. Let it go and turn it over.

Read about Aikido. Take some of the principles, like harmony, and apply it to everything you do.

Think and act with honor, compassion, and courage towards all, even those that really get to you. See their fear and pain and extend your loving protection to them.

Andy Scaley
02-20-2004, 01:37 AM
Hi Jack

I think Lynn hit everything on the head, only thing I could add is do not sendings hours looking for it and trying to force it upon urself. I have been practicing for 8 years and I have only just started to scratch the surface.

Have faith in your training, most importantly enjoy it and listen to your instructors they have been where you are and can help guide you in the right direction. But remember they can only guide you have to take the steps yourself and this takes time.

There is also a moutain of knoweldge in books etc so take the time to read them and try to understand and apply these principles to your training.

Good luck my friend

Ted Marr
02-20-2004, 07:26 AM
My advice would be not to try to develop yourself spiritually.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing wrong with spirituality, but developing it presupposes that you have a pretty good idea what it is that you are developing, and if you did, you wouldn't be asking, because you would know how to go about it.

I know that I certainly don't know what you want out of your spiritual life, and wouldn't presume that anyone can tell you.

Instead, I would suggest focusing on the concrete skills that are generally considered antecedants to spirituality. The common thread all these activities possess is that they are exercises in self control, usually by denying yourself something. Fasting is denying yourself food, meditation is denying yourself random thoughts, and usually denying your pain response as your legs begin to shut down from sitting in seiza for too long.

Oh, and practice martial arts. They may not be an aid to everyone's "spiritual development", but they are certainly good exercises in self control.

Qatana
02-20-2004, 08:46 AM
"meditation is denying yourself random thoughts"????????

No meditation teacher i have ever trained with in fifteen years of practice has said this.

Every single one of them instructs that you notice that you are thinking without buying into the Story the thought is telling you.Every teacher i have had agrees it is impossible to stop having thoughts, however it is quite possible to learn to stop Reacting to them.

YMMV

Brian Vickery
02-20-2004, 09:06 AM
How does one begin to try to develop spiritually?
Hey Jack,

...well, my personal advice on where to start your spiritual jouney would be to go to the movies next week & see that new Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ" ...and see where that leads you!

..hey, it's worth a shot!

Jack Robertson
02-20-2004, 09:19 AM
Hey Jack,

...well, my personal advice on where to start your spiritual jouney would be to go to the movies next week & see that new Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ" ...and see where that leads you!

..hey, it's worth a shot!
Thank you all for replying : ) Your posts are very helpful.

Brian, I intend to see it!!!

Well, anyway I have to go to the kitchen and fetch some paper towels because I just spilled a cup of tea on my desk : (

: )

Ted Marr
02-20-2004, 09:22 AM
Jo- I don't know about you, but when I meditate, I try to deny myself the impulse to let my random thoughts run away with me. This seems to be something describable by the phrase "denying yourself random thoughts"

As for the whole "Passion of Christ" thing, well, that's a good choice if you want your spiritual path to be influenced by a strong dose of pre- Vatican II Catholocism. It is sure, however, to have a good example of a man who a lot of people consider to have been very spiritual.

Myself, I would prefer my spirituality without the excessive violence and anti-Semitism, but hey, that's me.

John Boswell
02-20-2004, 10:08 AM
Now now... let's not go down that road. Accusations of anti-semitism will only fuel a fire that does not need to burn.

I do not believe Mel's intentions were to be anti-semitic. Once the movie is out, let people decide for themselves. If anything, christians should feel badly for the jews that they didn't see the "messiah" when he appeared... if in fact you believe that sort of thing.

Personally, I do not know. One way or the other, I have no idea because I wasn't there.

GETTING BACK TO THE SUBJECT AT HAND...

The road to spirituality is a very personal journey. O'Sensei has his beliefs grounding in the Omoto religion which was very contraversial at the time.

Me? I address the issue by looking at any and every individual as a spiritual being and work from there. One can focus on themselves spiritually... better... when they have order in their lives. Being clean yourself and your enviornment, keeping order with work and school, following generally accepted "good behavior" and avoiding trouble where you know it exists. All of these things will help one focus on higher teachings and schools of thought.

Advice: Read, Keep an open mind, Listen, Ask questions when you have them, Don't jump to conclusions, Think about things in a logical manner and pattern, and last but most importantly... TRAIN! Get on the mat and actually DO AIKIDO!! Aikido opens more doors than most people truly think even exist. I can't ever imagine myself ever quiting aikido all together.

Brian Vickery
02-20-2004, 10:20 AM
Advice: Read, Keep an open mind, Listen, Ask questions when you have them, Don't jump to conclusions, Think about things in a logical manner and pattern, and last but most importantly... TRAIN! Get on the mat and actually DO AIKIDO!! Aikido opens more doors than most people truly think even exist. I can't ever imagine myself ever quiting aikido all together.
...there you go! ...I second this advice!!!

...John, I think this truly sums it up!

SeiserL
02-20-2004, 11:26 AM
How does one begin to try to develop spiritually?
OTOH, first realize that by saying "one" you are separating yourself from "two" or the "other". Lose the separation so it is "not one and not two". We are all in this together.

Secondly, realize that you don't have to develop what you already have. You simply train your mind to let go and see through the illusions.

it comes with time and training. Don't take yourself too seriously or too personally and enjoy the journey.

twilliams423
02-20-2004, 01:26 PM
Well, anyway I have to go to the kitchen and fetch some paper towels because I just spilled a cup of tea on my desk

Just so.

Anders Bjonback
02-20-2004, 02:40 PM
How does one begin to try to develop spiritually?

I'm not in a dojo yet, and wont be for another 2 months give or take.

Meditation? special breathing patterns? things to focus on?

Can anyone give me something to try?

Thanks: )
I would guess that one begins to spiritually develop by asking that question. Even asking that questions shows that you put some thought into spiritual stuff.

Spiritual development means different things to different people. I don't think the methods you list in themselves entail spiritual development--one can certainly meditate just for health reasons and not progress at all spiritually. One can progress spiritually without breathing patterns. Some people see activism, helping others, as a path to personal (and social) transformation. But on the other hand, some activists just become angry and righteous, not looking into themselves at all.

I think that spiritual development basically begins, and continues to grow, by looking into your own mind and heart and how you approach things.

Richard Elliott
02-27-2004, 11:42 PM
My advice would be not to try to develop yourself spiritually.

Instead, I would suggest focusing on the concrete skills that are generally considered antecedants to spirituality. The common thread all these activities possess is that they are exercises in self control, usually by denying yourself something.

Oh, and practice martial arts. They may not be an aid to everyone's "spiritual development", but they are certainly good exercises in self control.
Hello Mr. Robertson,

I had to copy Mr. Marr's response because it is so sound and obvious it completely eluded me as I thought about a response. Of course, I wanted to recommend something "to do" (and I will, I guess), but it is nevertheless the case that if you sincerely are searching, the best place to begin is with yourself. Obviously, this is not done in a vacuum. Learning about what makes me tick or where my "sensitive buttons" are has usually been achieved in some kind of context; martial arts has been a good way.

Sitting quietly and patietly developing an ability to quiet the mind of all the "monkey chatter" is certainly a profitable and achievable thing to practice. And to do it completely is very hard work.

I have found when in the dojo, doing a technique correctly, after many months of practice--when done properly--was done without "thinking" about it "in my brain".

Paradoxically, eliminating "subvocalization" does not, I believe, eliminate awareness, concentration or even thinking on a deeper level.

Choose your mentors wisely.

Josh Bisker
02-28-2004, 08:08 PM
I think that spiritual development basically begins, and continues to grow, by looking into your own mind and heart and how you approach things.
A few things to say, -

First thing, I think that this here is a great response. I think that just about anyone's definition of spirituality centers around the paired forces of introspection and interaction; so "looking into your own mind" and also observing "how you approach things" seems just right on target. I think allowing your mind to relax and examine is the root of it all, and folks use different avenues to get to there; religion, meditation, walks in the park, keiko, what have you, ideally it's all people finding routes towards a calm understanding of their place in humanity and the universe. I will confess that, in a way, I feel like yours is a strange question. If you are looking to see what other people's paths towards spirituality are, cool man, but it seems like you want someone to point you down one and say "here's how you get spirituality." I could be off-base of course, and don't mean to be combative about it, but dude, if you want to start getting in touch with your spiritual side it's as easy as looking at yourself, and it's not something that someone else can make happen for you.

So here's another thing, and I don't mean to be standoffish but I feel like this is important. Jack, friend, I kind of wonder about the nature of all the threads you've been posting up. Questions are all good man, don't get me wrong there (and lord, it's not like i've got much experience at aikido under my belt, or even at that other whole life thing either, BUT). It kind of seems like you want to get it all figured out before you start, and this is I think an unhealth attitude. On that other thread you're talking about trying to peg stances and techniques without an instructor, here it seems like you want to develope your sense of spirituality without immersing yourself in a practice to see what it does for you; what's up dude? As for training, one thing that everyone learns on the mat is that "I don't know anything;" after five years you realize that you are as much a raw beginner as you were only a week in, and the same only keeps going. Trying to understand it before you're even training at all seems, forgive me, a bit ego-driven. As for spirituality - spirituality is by definition the most personal thing ever; it's only about connecting with yourself. We often get more "spiritually attuned" or something through training or meditating or whatever, but spirituality is all about one's understanding of oneself. Training is training: if you're really excited to start it then you can certainly wait for a scant two months before embarking on a journey that you want to last for the rest of your life. If you are aiming to "Master" the art or the spirituality or anytime before then, then you are right, get started ASAP. But if you're taking this all for what it is, a lifelong process of discovery and humility, then take it at a natural pace, man. I don't mean to rant or get on your case, but I am concerned that if you put in a great amount of self-guided "training" before you get on the mat, you might be setting yourself up to dislike aikido for not aligning with your vision of it, and that's not fair to you or the art. For training, wait for training; for spirituality, just look and feel and think. If you want training to aid you in a search for spirituality, then wait until you are training. Spirituality's not something you can just ahold of somehow though, and neither is aikido.

Look, feel, think, listen, and train when the time comes.

All the best.

Jack Robertson
02-28-2004, 09:53 PM
First off, I'd like to thank everyone for their responses. I love this forum because I can always learn something.

Josh, you're right. For some reason, when I REALLY find something that I like, I tend to get completely obsessed with it. Your post was the good shaking I needed, thanks: )

FORTUNATELY, due to a recent turn of events, I don't have to wait 3 months anymore!!

If everything goes well, I will be on the mat on TUESDAY of this week!!!!

: ) : ) : ) : )

:)

P.S. I'm so excited, I can't sleep!!!!!!

Josh Bisker
02-28-2004, 10:03 PM
wow.

that's rare, haha.

have fun training dude, take it all as it comes. remember, mentally and spiritually and physically, it seems to be all about relaxing.

have fun!!!!!!!!!

Kevin Leavitt
02-29-2004, 12:20 PM
One thing is for sure in my experiences. I have found spirituality when I wasn't looking for it.

When I did try and have spiritual experiences, they ended up being disppointments!

I think we can all have practices and rituals that certainly put us on the path, but the experiences in and of themselves are not necessarily spiritual or lead to enlightment per se!

I think it is only through the sum of the experiences of life and reflection upon them that we grow spiritually.

That said, don't try too hard to make aikido into this big spiritual experience, it will probably be a disappointment and a let down.

Have fun with it and enjoy the journey. The things you will discover about others and yourself will probably be a great path towards spirituality, but don't expect much to happen overnight! The harder you try the more disappointing it will be!

Maybe one day you will look back and remember an especially hot day in the dojo and say "wow" that was a spiritual day!

Good luck!

roninja
04-28-2004, 08:07 AM
My good friend in buddhism once told me a story about himself where the point of the story was... to train or develop the spirit one must practice. I agree, cause I have a weak spirit, in Buddhism and the non martial aspects of Aikido, and this is because I have not trained in these things. my spirit on the mat is a lot stronger, but still very weak. of course this may not appear to be the same kind of spirit that you are talking about, but I think it is. But I once heard that the word "spiritual" has latin roots in a word called "spiritos" or something and the word is a verb that literally means "to breathe" and if this is true then the best line of action for developing, spiritually, would be meditation, singing, anything cardiocascular, with the exception of tae bo ;) just kidding, or chanting. but really the martial arts cover this quite well, you have work outs that make you short of breath and you have to yell a lot. ;) these are just my random thoughts. In any way you go about it, you gotta build your curriculum for you, and you gotta, above all else, realize why you are doing and beling the way you are, and if you don't then you should make your spirituality about finding out why. that's my opinion again. Amitabha

PeaceHeather
04-28-2004, 10:17 AM
My advice would be not to try to develop yourself spiritually.

Instead, I would suggest focusing on the concrete skills that are generally considered antecedants to spirituality. The common thread all these activities possess is that they are exercises in self control, usually by denying yourself something.

Mostly agree with the first statement, really disagree with the second.

"Trying" to develop spirituality attaches yourself to the process rather than allowing it to occur. Just relax and be. "Being" quiet for a few minutes a day is a good start -- and possibly more challenging than you'd expect! :cool:

Sprituality via denial -- asceticism -- is ONE method which SOME teachers advocate, but not all. The Greeks practiced it, along with its opposite -- total indulgence in everything. Don't know that either method really did anything for its practitioners, though, without mindfulness.

A terrific challenge is to do something ordinary, but to NOTICE every aspect of it as you do it. When you eat, really stop and focus on the appearance, scent, taste, texture of the food and drink. While you're cleaning, again, really focus on your movements, the sounds you're making, the smell of the cleaner (don't recommend tasting this time), and so on.

When you meditate, so often we're told "clear your mind" and we immediately start pushing our thoughts out of our way as if they were bad things. The harder I push, the louder my thoughts get -- like trying to ignore a fly buzzing around your head, until you just go nuts. On the other hand, when I sit peacefully and allow myself to notice my thoughts, pay attention to them, and then release them when they're done... not only do I actually *reach* that quiet state, but on the way there I *deal with* things that I've been needing to face.

We're taught to evaluate, judge, categorize everything that comes our way: either it's good for us or it isn't, for example. The problem is, plenty of things just *are*, and defy all our attempts to stick them in little boxes. Like, for example, your thoughts. If you judge your thoughts as good or bad or helpful or negative, you're judging yourself, and tangling yourself up. Spirituality is about getting untangled. It's about clearing the clutter, or at least gaining enough perspective to be able to see that it *is* clutter.

Does that help?
Heather, occasional priestess :cool:

PeaceHeather
04-28-2004, 12:42 PM
Oh, and PS, just wanted to offer the suggestion: religion and spirituality do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. They certainly CAN, but they just as often don't.

'Kay, that's it! :cool:
Heather

Charles Hill
04-28-2004, 06:40 PM
What has helped me with this topic, is to do equal amounts of training, study, and reflection on both.

Charles Hill

GaiaM
04-29-2004, 02:03 PM
Hi All,
Just a thought: For me, aikido leads to "spiritual" or "magical" experiences rather than the other way around. Perhaps this is just because I am a very physical, active person, but I have always found that I become calm and focused from doing aikido although it is very hard for me to do sitting meditation or "isolated" spiritual practices. Aikido allows me to bring my mind to a calm, centered place.
So... for folks out there who are just starting, I suggest you wait and see what kind of spirituality Aikido can bring to you, rather than trying to bring spirituality to Aikido.
Peace.
Gaia
PS. In general, I think Heather's ideas about mindfulness are right on... if you like these ideas, read something by Thich Naht Hanh - maybe start with "Being Peace."
PPS: How can I include quotations?