Thank you for your inspiring thoughts. There is a lot there that I agree with and you mentioned also a few things that are worth reflecting further on.
I don't know the book that you mentioned, but will certainly look into that. I am a bit more familiar with ants; they are an intriguing species that create alliances between different ant-groups, even if they do not belong to the same kind of ants. When I walk through the forest, I can go from one nest to the other and there is something magic about how they are all connected and recognize each other.
I have been reading the books and listening to the lectures of Thich Nath Hanh for more then three decades by now and he remains an ongoing source of inspiration. Plum village is not far from here. He has quite a following here in France.
Your difference between faith and belief seems similar to Plato's difference between dogma and sophia (wisdom). According to Plato people tend to stay in their cave discussing the shadows of reality (dogmas) instead of going towards the light of wisdom. Once wisdom has been reached there is no real point anymore in discussing dogma. A similar idea can be found in Buddhism and Taoism.
And although I sometimes seem to get caught up in pointless discussions, I always try to keep this idea in mind.
Not judging is essential for any connection that we make. Problem is that we live in a judgmental society. Even Thich Nath Hanh once lost a sangha because of internal political debates about control and dogmatic judgments. I see that too much in Aikido as well. I have always tried to stay away from Aikido politics and have kept an open mind to all Aikido styles. I have come across a lot of serious practicioners of Aikido who, like you, have come to really inspiring thoughts and skills. But I have also come across quite a few who shout their opinion in your face, but lack genuine depth of knowledge.
The story of the 100th monkey has been proven to be wrong. Sadly it does not work like that.
I do see an emerging spiritual mindset around me, but I am still a bit cautious about whether this will last and grow. But I like your approach; to be the change that you want see in this world. Will keep that in mind!
Hope to read more about your spiritual journey in the future.
Thank you for the kind words. Oddly enought, my sangha name is "Compassionate Heart of service" in my TNH practice. I also happen to be a Christian Theologian and would introduce you to the word (Irenics). Perhaps you already know it, but I love its sound. It is the opposite of polemics (focussing upon what we cannot agree on).
Christianity is full of beliefs.... to a fault. Indeed, in Harvey Cox's (Harvard Seminary Professor) 2009 book on "The Future of faith, he called the last 2,000 years an age of belief (rather than faith). It is there that I got the differences in definition.
For me, Rumi cuts to the quick. "Sell your Cleverness and buy Bewilderment" he says (Coleman barks translation). The more we surrender our hearts to eachother, the more we will find commonality. And even when we find ourselves stuck in "attachment" (must have this; cannot have that) we can make friends with it and watch it arise and go away without even judging our judgment. he he he.
Would we could do this with eachother as well.
Namaste and Puha