Finding our own way in and out of Aikido
I have only recently began studying aikido, and have enjoyed the experience greatly up to this point. The more I read and study the principles underlying aikido there are a number of philosophical/spiritual components which do tend to underpin the art itself.
At least on the superficial level many of them correspond to what Christians understand and believe and many of the teachings and examples in the Bible. However I do not feel that on the deeper most fundamental aspects of my beliefs allow for a deep journey derived from the teachings of aikido's own founder, though again I am sure there are many principles and "teachings" which themselves would not be objectionable and in fact correspond to my own Christian beliefs regarding how to handle conflict generally.
The question still arises how deep into the training of aikido beyond the learning of technique or form it is possible to go and still call what I practice truly "aikido"..My own answer to that question is that I will continue to think of my practice within the confines of the system as "aikido" even within my own self-defined limits regarding the explicit spiritual elements which I elect forgo, in favor of the doctrine which I have received in my life through the Bible.
The purpose of spirituality in or outside of aikido is to give meaning and purpose within each person in life and beyond. The focus of Christian doctrine is love, first of God, and then for your neighbor, it is only through attaining these first two areas of love, that a person in able to properly love oneself. What we are taught is that there is one way one truth and one light, just as there is one God. This is one of the principal areas in which the Bible and aikido's founder philosophy diverge. I am not saying everyone must agree with me, rather I am merely stating a truth in doctrine. Each person is always free to make their own choice and decision as to what path they will follow, that is also a fundamental doctrine. However with every authority given to make our own decision there is an associated responsibility for how we exercise that freedom.
Each individual brings their own personality, attitude, and spirituality into their aikido training. As with all endeavors in life the time, effort, and endeavor each person places into their art will affect in the final product of that they take out of it. If it ever reaches the stage that my development within aikido is detrimentally affect because of some "conflict" between the underlying spirituality and teachings of aikido as an art, and what my conscience and understanding of my Christian religion teaches then I know for myself which must take precedent. The whole purpose of religion/spirituality is to give hope to the spirit, peace to the mind, joy to the spirit, and righteousness to the world around us. I am thankful I have found that path before I found aikido, and look forward to finding a way to gain the most from my aikido experience within my own spiritual beliefs.