Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?
Kevin, your story reminds me of some of the accounts you read about people who set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. The experience of covering all those miles on your own two feet has all kind of potential for profound revelations -- but you also read accounts of people who came to it with such an enormous burden of expectations, that it would be a certain way and they would go through the following transformations and have these profound revelations, and it just doesn't work out the way they think. The wiser and more reflective ones end up having a wry laugh at themselves, and many get something good out of it once they drop their expectations -- if nothing else, they get an immensely valuable life lesson on expectations, how eagerly we create them and how doggedly we cling to them.
Many people walk into the dojo with a similar burden of expectations. This experience -- this new experience, about which they have no first-hand knowledge as yet...this experience is going to be spiritually meaningful, god damn it. The hiker in me looks at that and thinks, yeah...I've looked at a peak from a distance before and thought I knew what the view from the top would be like. Sometimes people are so invested in their false certainty of what that view will be like, and what the hike to get there will be like, that they deride anyone who's actually been there and who says different. And sometimes you can take a guess at what an experience will be like, and you nail it dead on. But that's maybe the most dangerous time. The more details you paint into the picture of your imagined experience, the more emotionally invested you become in that outcome, the more rigid your view of what the experience is supposed to be, and the less you're open to what really is there.