Sifting some grains of gold from this stream of... Forgot what I was going to say.
In a pre-industrial mind ... spirit and flesh were not divided. earth and heaven was one organic whole. And all life was a giant cacaphony of in and yo.
"Cacaphony"? No. Symphony, maybe. In and Yo intertwining at every level, fractally, never in conflict, always balanced. Balanced in the world, balanced in me, balanced in each individual limb, balanced in each small part. In/Yo as a body practice, as something to be actively practiced, like practicing scales. So that I can be balanced in myself, balanced in facing my partner on the mat, balanced in the world.
Even something like global warming is evidence of balance. Man creates the opening with In, nature fills it with Yo. Man may get flattened in the process, but that's our own fault, now, isn't it?
George S. Ledyard
Pirsig's book, one of my favorites, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, talks about this and I think his discussions are directly relevant to Aikido...The whole point of Pirsig's book was that this can't and shouldn't be a dichotomy, which I believe is your point as well.
...When I encounter someone whose technique is awesome and they have a solid understanding of the martial aside of the art, then I am apt to pay close attention to their ideas about spirituality. The technique is the bottom line because it's the part that you can't fake. Spiritual discussion without a real ability to manifest the principles in ones body on the mat is just disconnected, nice sounding wishful thinking.
Love Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
, and I love his conclusion: you change the world and your mind at the same time, together, until you bring them into harmony. Which requires the technical skill to change the world as well as the spiritual skill to control your mind. The two are synergistic, not contradictory.
On your point, I find that people who are serious and diligent tend to be serious and diligent no matter what they're doing. So if good martial artists tend to be worth listening to on spiritual issues, is this correlation or causation?
But I disagree that spiritual ideas can't be tested. There are a few tests:
--Does this resonate? Does it explain my experience? Does it help me understand myself?
--Does it work? Can I use this perspective to be more effective in the world? Does it help me deal with the situations I find myself in?
--Does it help me become the person I want to to be? Does it aid in growth?