Onegaishimasu. I would be interested in knowing how many of you consider the goal of aikido to reach another plane early enough in your lifetime that you can explore it. If you have this goal, how far into your practice did this goal first appear?
What do you actually mean here? I think that this is one example of the huge problem of vocabulary and communication that bedevils Aikiweb and other forums. I hate to say this, but you sound like a budding Onisaburo Deguchi, about to depart on a major tour of the spirit world. Or have I misunderstood you?
I think some responses have already indicated the problem. Planes, trains or automobiles? When do we take off--more importantly, when do we land and where?
To give an example, Onisaburo Deguchi believed that he was the incarnation of a certain deity and that he had a divine mission to set the world to rights: not just one world, but three. Morihei Ueshiba, also, thought that he was the incarnation of the same deity, but also of several others, and that he also had a divine mission to set the worlds to right. Like Deguchi, he must have been very hard to live with--and I think it shows in Kisshomaru's writings. For example, if you are his long-suffering wife, what do you serve such a reincarnation for breakfast? Of course, food of the gods! Well, sure.
I do not believe that I have any goal at all and I am stating this now, after nearly 40 years of training. If I had a goal, what would it be? To train and teach aikido in as intelligent and 'honest' a way as possible, but this does not go very far.
So, for example, my dojo has recently become independent (within the Milky Way that is the Aikikai). So in the near future, I plan to establish a training relationship with Akuzawa Sensei. Why? Because what he is doing is something I myself should have been doing years ago--I might well have been taught some of the elements, but I don't know (think of Rumsfeld's discussions of known knowns, known unknowns etc etc). I have to find out by having someone like Akuzawa Sensei, who is unaffected by politics, help me to reinvent the aikido wheel and see how much I do not need to reinvent. I think George Ledyard is doing this and also Hiroshi Ikeda, in their various ways.
So what aikido plane am I on? Honestly, I have no idea. If you are thinking about the development of 'internal' skills, well, there is an issue. My respect for Mike Sigman and Dan Harden has grown, in proportion to the quality of their discussions on Aikweb. But they both live in the USA and I live in Japan. Thus, it is so unlikely that I will ever be able to train with Mike or Dan that there is no possibility that I could ever see whether we are on the same plane. With Akuzawa Sensei, however, there is a real possibility, which I hope to explore over the next ten years or so.
So, over to you.