Thank you Ledyard Sensei for this article. I always feel like there is a void between what I'm doing on the mats and my spiritual life and development. As you correctly noticed, most of teachers do not teach the spiritual side of Aikido for many different reasons and some people like me are not able to derive that essence from physical training. However as Anders noted and I agree with him 100%,
Anders Bjonback wrote:
I don't think I'd be interested in aikido if it wasn't for the ethical and philosophical system attached to it. If it was just strengthening the ego through fighting and competition, I wouldn't enjoy it at all.
Clearly, there are people who need that spiritual base to walk this way. Doing Aikido as a sport, fighting system or even art is sometimes not enough (at least for some people). There should be some way of connecting Aikido practice with spiritual life even when you are not taught its spiritual side directly by your sensei. There should be some universal principles connected to Aikido practice (or purification through Aikido practice) which are not specific to Shinto or any other religion. And there should be a way to identify those principles in everyday teaching. If that's true, could you please describe in more details those principles and how they interrelate with Aikido practice.
I realize I'm asking to show me the core while looking at the shell, but I also believe that having some idea about the core motivates efforts of braking the shell.