Michael Buchok wrote:
I believe religion is what you make of your own spirit. I like to believe there's a God or someone/something watching over me. ..... This is why I stray from a religious group and believe what I want to believe, and feel what I want to feel. ... In aikido, all your confrontations will be different, and to feel out what someone else is feeling, is to me, a great key in understanding how to control the situation without having to cause any serious harm.
I am not a doctrinaire sort of person, but It is in my estimation, dangerous to dispense with doctrine. Doctrine, and I speak of any humane tradition, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Shinto, Islam or others, is the compilation of witnesses to aspects of truth. We cannot hope in one span of life to encompasss what they have learned, however imperfectly, and tried to pass on (however imperfectly, for the good of their posterity.
That does not mean that doctrine must not from time to time be quesitoned, examined and renewed in its applicability, and interpreted for one's own situation. Imperfections do exist in the accumulation of wisdom. It is our role to find and purify them, rather than to dispense with the whole enterprise.
Such a man was O-Sensei, although his art was about as non-doctrinal as one can hope to see. In grappling with doctrine, we are doing the same as grappling with an opponent in aikido. Uke is not our enemy, he is our teacher, and most especially so, when he opposes our will or desired outcome.
So with doctrine. As we must confront uke/nage in training, we must confront the truth of ages, as appropriate to our own upbringing and traditions, to make it real in our own lives. I, for one, am too feeble of mind to outmatch the mountain of wisdom that has been piled up for me to climb. Newton lauded the giants whose shoulders he stood on to see farther. The mountain is both an obstacle and ladder.
Your tradition, whatever it may be, is your lifeline, your ground and firm foundation. Improve it, build upon it, find links to bring other tradition closer together to build with broader foundations. Do not abandon a treasure given you for free.