Jonathan Han wrote:
I don't believe there is anything inherent in Aikido that is more spiritual than any other pursuit. I've heard some inspiring lectures and read the books mentioned above but they wouldn't qualify as spiritual experiences from Aikido training. Most of the time in the dojo is spent physically training or making conversations on a social level. Training does give one an opportunity to practice mindfulness and compassion. It brings to the surface our false pride, insecurities, and sadistic tendencies. One could use these moments to gain a deeper understanding and mastery of ourselves. But one shouldn't expect waza training or our teachers to elevate one's spiritual state. In the end, it is always a personal experience independent of the context.
IMHO spirituality can be found in all human action, whether aikido is more effective than any other pursuit is as you say, dependent on the individual 'and' the context. If your aikido practice is focussed purely on the physical, then this what you get. If your aikido encompasses mind as well as body, then this is another level. If your aikido also looks for the 'spirit' of the moment inherent in the mind body practice, then you will deepen your experience of 'spirituality' whatever that is for you.
Aikido provides a practice where self improvement is both implicit and explicit. If you are trying to increase your mindefullness, compassion and reduce your false pride, insecurities and sadistic tendencies ( if you have them ). Then surely you are entering into the realms of spirituality? Aikido then is perhaps more useful than say water skiing.