Why do you find aikido to be a good spiritual practice for you?
Damn you. I was about to do something like this.
Because it is. More in a second.
How is it different for you (or is it different?) than writing, jogging, gardening, or something else?
For me, I've been able to manifest many things on the basketball court that we find in Aikido: harmony, flow, blending, spontaneous movement all have made an appearance. Were it not for the sporting connection I'd not have arrived here.
Aikido works as a spiritual practice for me because there are like-minded people here. On the basketball court, I'm pretty much the only one who would sit down and discuss the concepts mentioned above. Coaches are usually at a complete loss when dealing with it or afraid of it because it means a loss of control.
So I turned to Aikido because it seemed to talk about things I've felt. What's interesting though is that things I picked up intuitively on the basketball court didn't come intuitively with Aikido. I'm guessing that's because of the form aspect. Basketball is about as free-form as it gets right from the get go. You don't go to class and try to shoot a jump shot like the coach for instance, although, you might emulate a star player.
As I move into more free-flowing circles I've seen a lot more spontaneous movement than ever before.
Why do you think it "works" for you?
Actually, I'm pretty convinced it's irrelevant. I could look at the same things in dance, music, art, sports, biking, building web pages, whatever. The problem is the other disciplines don't look at themselves this way. Like minded people make all the difference.