Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: Catholic Aikidoka
Thanks for the reply - at least we are off that Catholic/Protestant thing! :-)
Please allow me to elaborate a bit more then -- even defining what I mean by "egocentric."
In all that I am attempting to say, I am of course referring to the spiritual aspects of our being. As such, "egocentric" here is not being used to refer to "any position different from mine." Nor is it being used polemically via some sort of argument for relativism. When I use the word "egocentric" I am attempting to refer to a state of being (i.e. a system of action, thought, and word) that takes as its point of interpretation the small self. The small self is the habitual self -- the self seated within the realms of fear, pride, and ignorance (concerning the Way). This is important, in my opinion, because, spiritually, it is through fear, pride, and ignorance that we are separated from God and from Christ. It is also through these aspects that we cease to truly practice Love and Compassion, and/or do so only under "fair-weather" conditions.
This then is not the usual "guns kill people" or "guns don't kill people, people kill people" kind of debate. I am attempting to talk about something else. I am referring to a spiritual process (i.e. How does one gain proximity to God and to Christ). In particular, I am referring to any process by which we come to separate ourselves from the material world and thereby gain proximity to God and/or any process by which we remain of the material world and thus gain distance from God. Thus, from a spiritual point of view, at a certain point, we are going to have to move beyond what we can do (e.g. throw people) and/or cannot do with what we know (e.g. Aikido) and/or with what we have (e.g. strength). At a certain point in the process of cultivating our spirit, we will have to straightforwardly deal with who or what we are in our being. Where are we in the following of Christ -- in the imitation of the example of his being? Where are we in opening and submitting our soul to the grace of God and the true practice of Love and Compassion?
Within this perspective, I would indeed also suggest that, along with questing after "The Force," understanding Aikido, or practicing Aikido, to gain power over others is also equally egocentric (defined above) and thus equally damaging toward our relationship with Christ. It is in this light that I would propose we understand Osensei's suggestions that we see Aikido as Love AND that we also see Aikido as NOT victory over another but victory over ourselves (i.e. our smaller self). It may very well be true from a material perspective that guns kill people and/or that guns do not kill people, people kill people. It may very well be true from a material perspective that power and/or the pursuit of power has no inherent morality. However, from a spiritual point of view (which is not entirely captured by a concern over what we may do with such power), any power that comes to us through the cultivation of some virtue other than Love, some other aspect of ourselves that is not based in fearlessness, humility, and wisdom (i.e. the opposite of fear, pride, and ignorance), is a not only, in my opinion, a turning from the Way, a turning from Osensei's teachings, it is also a turning from God and from Christ. The ultimate issue here is not to merely act so that others may benefit, but rather to be selfless in our actions. This is a subtle but very real distinction. When we come down on the right side of this line, we can understand, I feel, Aikido as victory over the self. I also believe we can act in the interest of others but with no thought of reward and/or of pride -- acting instead from and through the grace of God -- following our savior's path. Spiritually speaking, this is more than merely working so that others gain or benefit. It is learning to work and learning to be so that I have no sense or need of gain -- because I am fulfilled perfectly, completely, with the presence and the kingdom of God.
This is just an opinion. Again - thanks for the reply - very well said.