Jennifer Johnson wrote:
I'd be curious to hear any insights from any of you that are religious. Do you feel Aikido has a spiritual component that enhances your religious life, or do you consider Aikido to be an entirely seccular activity?
I am religious (Baha'i) and while I didn't sign up for Aikido for spiritual reasons, I have been pleasantly surprised at how much Aikido complements my religious faith. The teachings the Baha'i Faith focuses on unity and peace, and is also a religion with firm laws and obligations.
As someone who originally came from a completely non-religious background, I embraced my religion on something of an intellectual and emotional level - the meditative and "formal" qualities of my religion have been somewhat awkward for me to embrace. In the six short weeks I have taken Aikido I have felt enhanced in my religious life.
My dojo actually offers seminars on things like non-violent communication with Aikido principles. My schedule doesn't permit me to attend them but, interesting! My religion has teachings on the same topic, as most religions do I imagine.
I've been practicing aikido for about 5 years and the way I understand the principle and practice of this art has nothing to do with the enhancement of my spiritual life. My constant practice developed my balance and timing which in my part is the best important factor in my aikido training in order to achieve the effectiveness of the execution of my technique, while the rest is secondary. My spiritual progression still lies on my thinking and my conviction to myself. The act of discipline I express on dealing with my fellow aikidoka and senseis while in the dojo is to give myself the chance to express my thinking as a disciplined practitioner . So to conclude if aikido has something to do with my religious life is absolutely not accurate but practically a common adroitness of physical pursuit as any other martial art.