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Paula Lydon
03-13-2004, 11:14 AM
~~What sort of 'spiritual aspects' do you feel Aikido can impart to you?~~

Anders Bjonback
03-13-2004, 04:45 PM
I spend a half hour (or maybe an hour) thinking out and writing a reply, and I was like, "Boy, I'm deep." But then, when I posted, it said I wasn't logged in and now I have to write everything all over again! AHHH!!!

Well, I think that most of the ways my spiritual practices (aikido, tea ceremony, and my Buddhist practices) have influenced me, especially since coming to Naropa University, have been in ways that I don't see or really understand.

I don't know if aikido, in itself, has certain "spiritual qualities" to give me. The point of my spiritual path isn't to get certain spiritual qualities to replace qualities about myself I don't like, anyway. It's about engaging with parts of myself I'd rather ignore, and growing as a result. To become conscious of myself as a whole, and working with that on the path.

I think that through aikido, like through just about anything, one can become conscious of one's part in the larger inter-workings of things, whether one calls that interdependence or the harmony of nature.

I have heard of some people going through certain states of mind during martial practices, different samadhi, but I think that those experiences can either be an obstacle for or a beneficial part of the spiritual path. If I start meditating for "spiritual experiences," then I think I've fallen off the path. But at the same time, if incorporated correctly, whatever experiences I may have may be very beneficial towards my spiritual path.

On a more grounded level, I think that aikido, as a martial practice, can make me more confident as a person, and I think through training in it, I will be able to relax more and think more clearly in conflict. I think that aikido has really grounded me in my body, and, coupled with tea ceremony, has made me much more conscious of things going on around me, and of other people. And whereas before I preferred to ignore other people and stay off in my own little world, I now incorporate them into my awareness and appreciate their presence (most of the time.) Although I still have a lot to work with awareness, I've really improved in that area.

03-14-2004, 01:05 AM
Hi Paula!

I feel you may need to entertain the idea of defining what you mean by spiritual. I only say this in the aspect that some may wonder if you are referring to how one may relate religion in relation to aikido or one's self awareness. Thanks!

Brad Medling

03-14-2004, 02:01 AM
Dear Paula:

I was wondering if you new of any inside reason why Ikeda-sensei does not have an uchi deshi program. I have read some public comments of his about that but thought there might be more to it than that. Thanks!

Brad Medling

Josh Bisker
03-14-2004, 05:11 AM
sounds like a new thread dude.

paula, there was a pretty good spirituality thread recently you might want to chiggity check out

Paula Lydon
03-14-2004, 01:34 PM
~~Hi Brad,

I purposfully left the question vague as spirituality and spiritual aspects can be quite different for everyone, within or without the constraints of a religious construct. I was also curious to hear what others' felt were spiritual aspects.

For me, these aspects are anything that leads me to grow, i.e. feeling more in harmony and aligned with my inner reality and that which is greater than myself. I find Aikido a catalyst for much self-examination, therefore a spiritual pursuit.

~~Josh, thanks for the tip!

03-15-2004, 09:05 AM
IMHO, there is nothing more spiritual than connectedness, and nothing more lonely than the existential angst of feeling separated.

03-15-2004, 12:26 PM
Hi Paula!

Ok, thanks for the clarification! I do have serious thoughts on this matter and I will try to sum them up quickly.

One may ask what defines us as the person that we are. The answer is different for everyone and we all have unique identites. I follow the gospel of Christ and refer to myself as a New Testament Christian. This is where my character and morals are derived from. Aikido helps me to foster and cultivate this attitude through sugyo, which is an intense physical training to cultivate the self.

The tricky part is, I do not mix the two. In no way should religion be a part of class. O-sensei sometimes refelected upon shinto which was not a biblical faith, but rather a code of unified morals for all nations to join. Its premisies were to also cultivate the self and that is why he emphasized it, but not to promote it. People think he preached more than he actually did.

If a dojo where to emphasize Chritianity, then, most no one would come to train. If a dojo emphasized Islam, then most no one would come to train. This is why class idology must not involve religous aspects as to not make anyone feel so uncomfortable that they dan't want to train. I dojo should be for all to come and participate thus witnessing the cultivation of the self that does take place and from this, they can take what they learn and apply it to their life outside the dojo, e.g. religion, work, etc.

So, that was a little off the subject but worth noting. In conclusion, I feel that when O-sensei speaks of balancing harmony between heaven and eart, he is not only talking about restoring disruptions of violence through aiki-principles, but how everything in life works in synergy.

The state that aikido and meditation puts me in allows me to recieve my faith with greater clarity and understanding.

Brad Medling

Mark Uttech
03-18-2004, 07:48 AM
spirituality in aikido is always interesting. There are folks that go with shinto and all manner of shinto ritual. There are tibetan buddhists that consider Steven Seagal a reincarnated lama. There are christians who argue about "bowing" But, aikido does have a deep spirituality about it. That can be readily seen and practiced in the art of blending and turning, i.e. tenkan-ho. For myself, "learning to turn is learning to change, and in its most extreme, learning to wait your turn." Thank you very much

03-18-2004, 10:40 AM
Spirit has an interesting history in my life. I was raised catholic, which only served to suppress whatever spiritual development I may have experienced during those years. I don't want to offend anybody, but I found Christianity to be morbid and frightening. I left it behind in high school, frustrated, questioning everything I was ever told or had ever read about god. I was not in a happy place. I was unhealthy and had no will or desire to accomplish anything. I was bored with life, and resentful in many ways.

I didn't return to a spiritual life until winter break my first year of college when I read a Qi Gong book. I was fascinated by the concepts, and while I had not had direct experiences with Qi, I believed what I was reading about it. I suppose that underlying the concept of Qi or Ki as we call it was the idea that with the proper discipline and practice, one can accomplish far more than he could possibly imagine. I read of masters who could reduce their brainwave patterns to those that most of us never feel after our infancy, and about people who had cured themselves of viscous ailments simply with the diligent practice of various exercises, and about some who grew so good at it that they can sense and channel their own life energy. What I began to realize more than anything is that with certain practices one can do just about anything he is willing to work for, from developing super strength to becoming hyper aware. I began to look at life in terms of cultivating my spirit.

Since then, I've done things I had never believed to be possible. I had been overweight, and all of a sudden I was exercising regularly and eating with discipline, and over the course of my second semester of college, I lost close to 55 pounds of fat and added a significant amount of muscle. I became excited about the outdoors and learning to climb rock walls and treacherous peaks. And to my amazement, I have only become more and more immersed in life. My eating continually gets healthier, I become increasingly disciplined with my exercise, and I can climb routes that I once only dreamed of climbing. I became obsessed with the body and health, and medicine (the field I am studying), and now I have discovered Aikido, my next big endeavor.

I have not been practicing aikido long enough to discuss the ways that it specifically has opened me up. I guess that all I can say is that it is exciting to me. it is something I am excited enough about that I will work hard in it and never give up even when my wrist hurts, or i have a headache. I experienced the same thing when I started climbing, and I have become a person that I once only dreamed of being. now that I'm here, I realize that I haven't reached the end of anything even if once I would have said, "if I could only get there, that would be enough." I realize now that my journey will never end until I die, and that every day is another chance to better myself. often bettering oneself takes perseverance. there are a number of routes that I had to try over and over again to finally climb. I got frustrated especially when my brother could scramble right up them, but I kept trying, and eventually overcame the obstacles in my way.

Sorry if I'm rambling, I'll try to sum up what I'm saying. I guess to me Aikido is about spiritual liberation in a sense. it is about turning this excitement towards mastering something that is extremely difficult, and can never truly be mastered. in aikido, just like in climbing a person comes across barriers that make him want to give up. but something inside says, "No! Keep trying!" and crossing the barrier often takes a part of you you didn't even know you had, but when you do, you have come even closer to knowing your essence.

I'll shut up now, I think I've said enough.

03-18-2004, 01:36 PM

I am sorry that you are turned off or even firghtened by the idea of God. Like most atheists, I guess you question whether or not God really exists. I mean, you probably feel that the Bible is some story book of the sorts, right? Well, I do not want to preach to you but let me share with you a papre I wrote that might help you think things through regarding the existence of God and if you don't agree I can respect that brother.

"Does God Exist"
By: Brad Medling

“Theist” in my own words, is one who believes in a God or Gods. “Monotheist” is one who believes in only one God. The word “atheist” is used most commonly in our culture to refer to a person who believes that there are no supernatural intelligent beings, not even one, thus the atheist rejects polytheism, deism, pantheism, and theism. A question that should be congealed by New Testament Christians periodically and contemplated by atheists is “Does God Exist?”

This question has been a plight for the soul of an atheist because knowledge is truant which eliminates any incident of having faith. Faith is nothing more than a strong conviction and is not widely accepted as “truth”. To have knowledge is to “know” something is true. Assertions are proven to be true by empirical evidence. Most humans are able to use the five senses of sight, taste, hearing, feeling, and smelling as basic analytical methods. Since the atheist was not there to see Jesus die upon the cross of Calvary, this excludes the option of being able to touch, taste, smell, or even hear it by default of irrational. Therefore the failure of the scientific method creates a disbelief in the existence of the one and true God. Today, Christians need to be prepared to answer this question of the ages to solidify their own understanding so that we can always be ready to help the lost with their strife. “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). To do this we need to be mindful of the truth which entails actually “knowing” the precious gospel. If we do not strive to know our creator, He will surely not know us (1 Chronicles 28:9).

For God to maintain credibility as a supreme being he must be immutable. Immutable means “does not mutate”, “non-changing” hence God’s word must never change. To illustrate this, I invite all to champion the word of God. To edify our awareness of this concept, consider Genesis 1:1; “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth.” The Spirit is the teacher of God’s servant Moses who wrote this. Some may say, “How do I know that scholars did not just write a complex storybook and make that up?” Many believers of the faith cannot explain this by reason, so lets do just that! The only thing that existed before the world was God’s wisdom. God made the world which took shape. Although the elements within the world have mutated, e.g. continental shift, avalanches, molecular compounds, atoms, etc., the world as a whole has remained immutable as God’s word in Ecclesiastes 1:4; “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever.” Until this day, almighty God has kept his word that the earth would be here until the 2nd coming of Christ (1Thess 4:16, John 5:29, Rev 21:6). This is one proof that should be eloquent to creatures of ration. One can find the insurmountable truth when studying the goodness of God and all that he has promised for God is one in which none greater can be conceived. It is plausible to reason that materialistic things such as a watch, car, etc. did not come about by accident furthermore neither did the trees; fruit, land, water, etc. come about by accident. This in my mind rules out the “big bang theory” because accident destroys complexity, it does not create it.

We do not go beyond God for an explanation. God’s existence is internal to his own nature thus He is a supremely perfect being (the nature of a supremely perfect being will have to be discussed in another article). So, insofar as questioning a possible antecede is impossible. The assertion that God created the world is both sufficient and necessary. So, the existence of this very world is evidence of God’s existence. Why aren’t all things suspended in space motionless? Why are there degrees of orderliness such as seasons, seeds that germinate, the alignment of the planets? “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion” (Jeremiah 10:12). It is lonesome propaganda to contest that God, Jesus, or the Bible does not exist. The simple observation that the idea of God and Jesus has been widely accepted across thousands of years and has survived negative scrutiny is yet another ground for persuasion for the non-believers. The Bible itself is proof because it has been passed down from generation to generation and serves as a direct link to the days that Jesus walked the earth.

Search the scripture until your restless heart rests in God.

Brad Medling

Anders Bjonback
03-18-2004, 04:53 PM
You know, I actually feel much closer to some of the Christian teachings now that I'm Buddhist. It's funny that since I've stopped believing in Him, I feel much closer to resting my heart in what you might call "God."

03-18-2004, 07:25 PM
Perhaps I should clarify my position. I am certainly not an atheist. I turned my back on organized Christianity, not what they call god. While i do not exactly believe god to be a conscious being (and that is not to say that I do not believe in supernatural beings either). I believe that god is the life energy that flows through all things. it is, as the Christians say omnipresent, it is what allows us to be alive and experience consciousness. In many ways, my beliefs coincide with the beliefs handed down through Christianity, especially the gospels and the teachings of Christ (this is not to say i believe he was the messiah). But god has many names, and I do not believe that one religion or spiritual philosophy has the right or wrong answer. Rather I believe that there is a common thread between all spiritual philosophies that can only be discovered with exploration of the various spiritual ideologies, the self, and the natural world. under Christianity, I was told who god was and that in order to experience his love I must obey his word and have unquestioning faith in what I was told. otherwise, they said, I would go to hell. There are a lot of reasons I began to question my Christian teachings.

I guess what I failed to explain before is that I did not experience god's love until i stepped out of the Christian mindset and explored the world on my own. Since then, I have come to terms with my spirituality, and ironically, have arrived at a new understanding of Christianity, one that I did not see before. for example, I have arrived at a greater understanding of what it means to have faith in god.

I do not mean to imply that there is a fundamental problem with Christianity, or even Catholicism. I have met many people (and not met thousands more) who have found god in Christian teachings. I believe the mistake is to believe that one can only experience the love of god through Christianity.

I hope this helps to clarify. I think we're getting into a complicated issue and I've far from covered my entire spiritual philosophy.

03-19-2004, 12:32 AM
Conflict is everywhere... Few observations could be more banal. It's been said that life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it. I think aikido preaches this too.

We see people fighting for so much in the world right now. Killing eachother. Wars start over simple conflict and different thoughts.

Aikido is a way to respond to conflict peacefully. Example: If someone attacks you, you don't slug them in the face and knock their teeth out, that just makes everyone unhappy. Rather, you show them your forgiveness and compassion by simply stepping aside and giving a simple pin or nudge into a throw.

Aikido is peace, love, compassion, loyalty, forgiveness, empathy. All these things. O sensei said we could use it to create our own heaven on earth. Which I truly believe in.

03-19-2004, 10:20 AM
Echoing Anders, I'm finding that addressing my flaws and failures by attempting to make peace with them, to cease struggling absolutely is akin to a rebirth to me. There have been no epiphanies, no glowing doors or burning bushes. There is only me and an increasing awareness that I'm actually NOT the center of the unviverse.

03-19-2004, 12:56 PM

I am sorry that you are turned off or even firghtened by the idea of God. Like most atheists, I guess you question whether or not God really exists. I mean, you probably feel that the Bible is some story book of the sorts, right? Well, I do not want to preach to you but ~~
But...proceeds to preach

Jason Mudd
03-22-2004, 08:35 AM

... Well, I do not want to preach to you but let me share with you a papre I wrote that might help you think things through regarding the existence of God and if you don't agree I can respect that brother.

"Does God Exist"

By: Brad Medling


Search the scripture until your restless heart rests in God.
Your logic goes something like this:

1) The Bible is the word of God and is the Truth

2) The Bible says there is a God (and some other stuff as well)


Therefore, there is a God

For a logical argument to work, the statements must be considered true by all parties. Typically, an atheist doesn't believe the first statement up there.

I understand you're just trying to save souls and offer peace and all, but these sorts of reasonings only work on people that are already believers, or need to believe something (and hence accept or believe all the statements).

There are other far better "reasons" to utilize. This one... not so good.

03-22-2004, 07:36 PM
spiritual aspects..

It shows you through continuous training and interactions, that sincerity is everything.

"When you step on to the mat, the only enemy is yourself". This quote is an old one, but it defines for me what a person should do during aikido training.

I've found that during training, I can pinpoint the bad part of my personality, and work to overcome it. Sometimes it's just a streak of meanness or stubbornness, on other occasions it's just too much pity. Any of them will pass unnoticed If It were to manifest in daily life.

To me, my spiritual aspect is anything that happens in my mind.

I learn about myself in the process.


btw, everyone, Brad meddling is a certifiable troll on other threads, so Ignore him.

03-26-2004, 01:06 AM
~~What sort of 'spiritual aspects' do you feel Aikido can impart to you?~~Learning how to relate to another.

Technically it means taking up slack throughout the whole technique. It means developing a feeling of empathy to move at the same time as your uke.

How can two people move as one? What is the real bond that connects them? On a microscopic level, aiki happens between uke and nage.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
03-26-2004, 01:54 AM
There have been no epiphanies, no glowing doors or burning bushes. There is only me and an increasing awareness that I'm actually NOT the center of the unviverse.
I don't know why, but I feel I should say that that's one of the niftier, maybe even most beautiful, things I've read lately.