*put's on my devils advocate hat*
Does aikido teach me more about myself then the following?
Texas Hold em?
I learned the most about myself when I started teaching at a college. My failings, my skills, etc were all on display and I was forced to face them. In terms of self discovery I learned a lot about myself, but nowhere close compared to how much I learned standing in front of a room of 18 year old kids.
Don, that's a really valid point you raise. I can say - speaking JUST FOR ME - that in the practice of aikido on the mat, the encounter with the other person, I find I work on how I am in the world with other people in a way that nothing else has ever done for me. I think it is why, despite having no natural talent for anything having to do with movement, from the moment I bowed into the mat I was hooked. I have been/am a nurse and a teacher and a massage therapist and an artist. I learn things about myself in all endeavors, push against my limits, and try to grow in all areas. But it is in the process of working with another being in the dojo, nonverbally, trying to incorporate all at once an open heart, a martial spirit, an extending presence, a sensitivity to the partner, plus yeah the myriad little technical or postural details I'm working on, that I feel small transformations in myself for the better. That's why I consider aikido my spiritual practice. But I don't think it has to be anybody else's.