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Old 09-27-2011, 03:14 PM   #37
Dojo: River Valley Aikido
Location: Vermont
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 51
Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Hi Don,
I would be very interested to hear more about it, it is exactly why I started the thread, to hear others thoughts and experiences.
Hi Keith,

Before I respond I would just like to say that I posted on your thread because the topic is important to me and I am interested in the exchange of ideas and receiving feedback. However, I don't feel that simply by working on an approach means that my ideas aren't full of flaws. My own personal sense of success with experiencing spirituality in Aikido is often mixed. This is a work in progress.

Having said that, the framework I am looking for has mostly to do with the intention I bring to my training. Here are the guiding principles that I try to use:

1. I am not training for some future event (e.g. in case I am attacked while walking down Main Street in Brattleboro). The training time itself is what I want to be present to.

2. My body movements and the feeling I project is an accurate reflection of my present emotional and spiritual state. By exposing problems and blind spots in my physical practice I create the opportunity to identify problems and blind spots in my inner landscape as well.

3. The teacher and my training partners are crucial in that they provide immediate feedback about my efforts and thus allow me to see what I need to work on.

4. Good movement is identified by its martial intelligence, lack of openings, relaxation of the body and internal inter-connectedness that includes connection to my partner. Good movement can be described as both powerful and beautiful . The experience of both myself and my partner should be intense but also ennobling.

5. Aikido training involves being able to identify and balance both light and dark personal material. Since the practice is rooted in playing out human conflict, the opportunities for going down weird roads is everywhere. Accumulating experience with this is a way to obtain wisdom.

6. Training is about changing myself, not my partner. One consequence of this is that the Uke is always right. By this I mean that I have to figure out how to work with whatever stuff my partner is offering me. (I do retain the right to withdraw from my partner or ask for them to modulate their attack if it is too far beyond my ability).

7. Since Aikido movement is based on natural forms that exist everywhere in creation, its practice gives me a visceral sense of connection to a larger universe and its mysteries.

I think this framework parallels a successful approach to physical practice as well as provides a concrete way to grow spiritually. I don't claim it to be original - its principles have been absorbed from many teachers and sources. But with it, I feel that I am training a positive way for me to be in the world that has actual roots.

Best regards,
Don Hebert
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