Re: Breaking the will of the ego.
Intersting post - thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I admit that I don't see Aikido as a spiritual discipline - although I do believe there are spiritual dimensions to it. Nor would I equate the sanctity of traditional houses of worship with the dojo.
If spiritual pursuit is the goal, I can think of many more fruitful paths than Aikido. Serving the less fortunate would be towards the top of that list.
In some ways, Aikido can be a selfish pursuit. And we find that inflated egos, politics, and greed are fairly commonplace among the teachers of the art. I never truly understood the idea of Aikido being a vehicle for world peace and conflict resolution when Aikido's highest ranked fail to exhibit these ideals among themselves.