Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.
To me, short version, aikido gives me a place/means to explore being the human I want to be in dealing w/ other humans. I experience this as spiritual but for another YMMV.
To put is longer: from perspective of being nage: I have to stand before another human and on a basis that is kinetic/energetic/tactile etc but nonverbal engage in the martial interaction in the way that aikido expects. This means not fighting or running away, but accepting the attack as it is; allowing it to express itself while at the same time holding firm to myself (I tend to not see what I do as "blending" but as entering and holding a center line even my feet appear to go to the side or even step back). It means finding a way to form a tactile/energetic connection with my partner that temporarily makes us one unit, then releasing my partner from that unity in a way that preserves my integrity while not doing him harm. In the dojo, which is not a street or combat situation, I want each of us to stand and face each other again smiling with the same open eyes, mind and heart as when he attacked me.
When I'm uke the same feeling pervades; I want to give the best attack I can, aiming for his center, and continue to be connected and aiming for his center as long as it is possible so I can give the gift of the right attack for the technique.
Even when I am partnered with someone I don't like or who has different training goals then I do or I've had a crappy day or whatever....under all circumstances, this is my practice and what I seek to gain from it besides the technical competence.
And, yes, I firmly believe that
1. it is the regular hard work on the technical competence that makes this happen, not the other way around and
2. one does not have to frame one's aikido the way I do for aikido to have meaning or be complete. Totally a matter of YMMV.