Jun Akiyama wrote:
My thought is that mysticism is one manifestation of the spiritual aspects of aikido. (snip)
I'm sure there are many people out there who will say that they are not interested in anything but the physical "put your partner's butt onto the ground" part of aikido.
My two cents is that there is some "mysticism" via Ueshiba in Aikido because of Shinto (animism), but there's a misconception about the "heavenly views" in Asia among many westerners, particularly the New Age. The strong undercurrent that Ueshiba was drawing on was the Asian (read "Chinese", since they were the dominant power whom so many emulated) idea of there being a rationality to all things in the universe. In other words, there is an order, starting with the Yin-Yang explanation and developing in a logical
progression. What many are interpreting as "spirituality", "mysticism", and "religious call to love" is actually more of an assurance that from the chaos there is an order of rationality. The Asian "religions" are justifying themselves on ORDER (read "HARMONY"), so "mysticism", in the western sense, is probably not quite accurate.