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Old 09-25-2010, 11:27 AM   #51
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,243
Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
Suffice to say is that my post very much relates to a student/teacher relationship in a spiritual setting. This language is not uncommon in the eastern stories of the guru/disciple dynamics. It might seem harsh and un-aikido like but I am quite used to that expression. The context for such an eastern traditional relationship is foreign and rare in the west.
It might sound like new age or quasi spiritual psychology but really it is just part of my own personal experience of such an encounter in the past (please see my links for a full description of those events, if you like to see where I'm coming from).
I don't have the expertise to point out the various differing ideas and explanations of ego and will. I'm simply saying that the experience of a rigid self adherence based on a set of rules/ideas might in real life be difficult to give up or surrender in order to experience a greater sense of freedom.
If you like you can pick apart anything you like without ever considering or asking the meaning of a statement, leading into an (hopefully) enlightening dialogue.
Considering that you might not know you say but really do you?
Hello Mr Saw,

My own spiritual training has been in the western mystical tradition, focused principally on Walter Hilton, The Cloud of Unknowing, and the Spanish mystics like Teresa of Avila and Ignatius of Loyola. I have also studied zen as part of my aikido training, but I have never gone on a spiritual journey to the East, such as you recount in your blog. However, I did begin a journey over 30 years ago and this was to the East and was also a major spiritual journey. I believe you trained in Iwama for a time, but my own aim, as and which I eventually realized, was to come to Japan and stay here, until death, immersing myself as much as possible in the culture, but without ever becoming fully part of it.

However, I have never dared to be a spiritual teacher to my own aikido students, who are all Japanese. I might actually teach them spiritual values, but this is through training and not through discourses about it. Actually, my own relationship with my dojo students, spiritual or otherwise, is so special and private that I would never discuss it in public. I am sure that I do teach my student spiritual values, but this is not an essential part of my mission as an aikido teacher and I would not promote aikido as a spiritual activity as a special feature of training in my dojo.

Why do I state all this? Because in your opening post you use the royal 'we' and this suggests that all aikido teachers should have the same spiritual mission as you believe you have. But this is not right. Perhaps your own spiritual journey gives you the right to state publicly what you believe you have to do as an aikido teacher in your own dojo. But I myself do not believe that my own spiritual journey (every bit as eventful as your own, but less exotic) gives me this right.

In his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius of Loyola discusses what he calls the 'discernment of spirits' The vocabulary is unfortunate here, but what he was emphasizing was the need to be sure that the guru in whom you place your trust really has the goods. For me, living in Japan, this is a major issue. I am sure that you are aware of Asahara Shoko, of Aum Shinrikyo. I have taught many bright students who believed that Asahara really did have the goods. So in this respect, you should forgive me for being somewhat unconvinced about Mr Cohen. Of course, he did not do what Mr Asahara has been accused of doing, but your whole blog discussion about Mr Cohen is couched entirely in terms of your own experience of him, much like my students talked of their experience of Aum Shinrikyo.

Finally, I have a question, related to the previous: how do you deal with spiritual rebels in your own dojo? Do you have a dialogue? In particular, do you allow that these rebels can actually teach you something about your own spiritual awareness?

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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