Shawn Warner wrote:
Dear Mr. Ledyard,
One of the aspects of Aikido that I have taken to heart is the philosophy of unification of mind, body, and I personally throw into the mix Spirit. From this point of view, I never stop training in Aikido, on or off the mat.
If I am running or am in the gym I am training in Aikido. The same is true if I am reading a book, be it a mystery or the Bible. It is also true of my prayer or meditations. This is because of unification. It seems to me that the type of unification that O-Sensei spoke about is more that the joining of mind and body into one, but rather the pulling together of all the various strands of activities a person must keep running in order to function daily into one unified thread which is a presentation of ones identity.
This may seem very fuzzy. Perhaps a better way of explaining would be this: I do not "do" Aikido. Aikido is part of who I am. I would not go so far as to say that Aikido defines who I am, but it is one of the myriad threads that contribute to who I am. Since I take me with me wherever I go, and Aikido is a part of me, my Aikido is augmented by everything that I encounter in life.
I hope this helps answer your question. It may not be what you were looking for, but it is how I personally look at things.
Good luck with your search!
This is a perfectly valid response... it fits in very well with the question of what people are doing to develop the spiritual side of their practice.
I am also interested to see how people combine other practices with their Aikido. This can be other arts, like iaido or T'ai Chi or it can be other spiritual practices like Zen meditation etc.
I am particularly interested in finding out what kinds of events, like the Zen / Aikido retreat various teachers around the country and perhaps around the world, conduct which focus on this side of Aikido. It would be nice if folks who are interested in this could go to one place and see a list of the different events available to them.