I spend a half hour (or maybe an hour) thinking out and writing a reply, and I was like, "Boy, I'm deep." But then, when I posted, it said I wasn't logged in and now I have to write everything all over again! AHHH!!!
Well, I think that most of the ways my spiritual practices (aikido, tea ceremony, and my Buddhist practices) have influenced me, especially since coming to Naropa University, have been in ways that I don't see or really understand.
I don't know if aikido, in itself, has certain "spiritual qualities" to give me. The point of my spiritual path isn't to get certain spiritual qualities to replace qualities about myself I don't like, anyway. It's about engaging with parts of myself I'd rather ignore, and growing as a result. To become conscious of myself as a whole, and working with that on the path.
I think that through aikido, like through just about anything, one can become conscious of one's part in the larger inter-workings of things, whether one calls that interdependence or the harmony of nature.
I have heard of some people going through certain states of mind during martial practices, different samadhi, but I think that those experiences can either be an obstacle for or a beneficial part of the spiritual path. If I start meditating for "spiritual experiences," then I think I've fallen off the path. But at the same time, if incorporated correctly, whatever experiences I may have may be very beneficial towards my spiritual path.
On a more grounded level, I think that aikido, as a martial practice, can make me more confident as a person, and I think through training in it, I will be able to relax more and think more clearly in conflict. I think that aikido has really grounded me in my body, and, coupled with tea ceremony, has made me much more conscious of things going on around me, and of other people. And whereas before I preferred to ignore other people and stay off in my own little world, I now incorporate them into my awareness and appreciate their presence (most of the time.) Although I still have a lot to work with awareness, I've really improved in that area.
Last edited by Anders Bjonback : 03-13-2004 at 03:49 PM.