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Old 12-24-2002, 02:13 AM   #1
Jeff Tibbetts
Dojo: Cedar River Aikikai
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 142
Sharing spirituality with others outside the dojo

I wonder sometimes if a lot of people have this problem, so I thought I'd ask©

Let me say right off the bat that this is not an attempt to impress my beliefs on others, and I don't expect anyone to impress theirs on mine© It's an opening up of some things that I have a hard time talking about, and it's very personal to me© If you want to share your own beliefs with me than feel free© I'm keeping my third eye well squeegied ¥thanks Bill Hicks€ and open for these replies©

Before I started reading a lot about Eastern philosophy and religion, I was a very devout Atheist© The kind of Atheist who believes in NOTHING as a thing to believe in© Not the type of atheist who just doesn't believe in God or gods©

Now, through Shinto, Buddhism and Aikido, I've begun to rethink some of the things I took for granted© There are simply a lot of things that happen in this world that science won't talk about© Ki is very real to me, and even if there are scientific explanations, they don't detract from the fact that Ki and it's uses are pretty amazing© Now I do believe in a psychic power that is innate in all people, and I also believe that this is what we think of as soul© Sort of a cloud of non-material energy that people and things draw upon that exists in everything© Ki is, I think, sort of a part of this, or a by-product of it, or another law of nature© I don't think that reincarnation as typically explained exists, but your Ki or energy goes back to the cloud, even if a conscious mind isn't attached to it© In addition, through my spiritual studies it has occurred to me that all things really are connected on many, many levels© Not to be corny or use cliches, but there is a "oneness" to the Universe and a path or process or series of laws that we must study© The fact that Aikido opens up these windows of psychic or Ki energy raises some serious spiritual questions for me© I think that you're wondering where I'm going with this©©© me too© Bear with me, please©

I don't know who to talk to about all these new questions I have© I have a hard time bringing up something as esoteric as Ki to someone who hasn't felt it working, especially if they still think of me as an Atheist ¥even if I am still a lower case "a" atheist€© I've been telling people for years that I don't believe in any of "that bull****" but now I'm starting to believe in some of it© I had a hard time realizing before that you don't have to believe in the bible's version of god to be spiritual, and I've always had a thing against hippie-types who seek to disassociate from the world through drugs and anarchy© It's just getting tricky trying to see that I really do believe a lot of the same things as hippies and christians© I'm trying to find ways to help people understand that I'm not being brainwashed, as I'm coming to these realizations on my own, even if I appear to contradict things I have said in the past©

This is a tough problem for me, has anyone else expierienced this? Does Aikido just reinforce what you already believed or did you awaken new pieces of your mind through it? I'm not looking for spiritual guidance, here, more like what you expierienced having your beliefs change and how you explain that to people who know you©

This comes up for me all the time© One example: I've argued with my Dad to no end about the process of religion and ritual and spirituality/superstitions© When watching "Iron Chef" I was explaining that the Japanese chefs thought of the knives and cutting boards as sacred objects that commanded respect, not just tools that they use© This is something that I think is very important about Japanese society, and I am starting to look at things the same way© Well, as I was explaining that he just looked shocked and asked why I was so quick to accept that and not christian traditions that are a part of how I grew up© It's a good question, and I do that a lot© I'm very xenocentric, mostly with Japanese traditions, I just like Japan a hell of a lot and I find myself trying to be Japanese all the time© I get the same thing with bowing and treating my Aikido weapons like sacred objects© There is a lot of respect and allegory involved© Wether or not there really is a sentient, thinking Kami in the dojo, I should act as though there is© It gives you the right frame of mind of respect and readiness for something special to happen© I think every practice is a powerful prayer to yourself and those you train with, and it connects you to everyone else who they've trained with, and so on© You can bow just to bow, you can bow to show respect, you can bow to worship, you can not bow in protest© These things help make Aikido what it is© For me, I bow out of respect and a desire to connect myself to the Kami of the dojo ¥or the idea of it€©

Sorry this is such a long post, I think I could really type for hours about this, but I want to hear what you all have to say©
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