Re: The Still Small Voice
In my opinion, one of the key benefits of Aikido is present in the central experience you recounted.
Humans, like other social mammals, have emotional states that are affected by many environmental factors - not the least of which is the emotional states of the other species members around them, as expressed in a thousand subtle ways, including muscle tension, pace of breathing, etc. Aikido training provides us with ongoing practice in centering ourselves in the face of situations that generally provoke adrenaline responses (e.g the situation of being attacked). So we have practice in calming ourselves - and by calming, grounding, centering ourselves, we inspire calmness, etc in the others around us. Aikido may not be unique in providing this training, but I think it's unique in the degree to which it emphasized, and unique in that this very thing - the propagation of peace - is the central stated aspiration of Aikido.