Re: Finding our own way in and out of Aikido
I am a very inexperienced beginner so please take my thoughts with a grain of salt (and perhaps more experienced practitioners will correct me if I am mistaken?)
What if one were to approach the practice of Aikido as an instrument of spiritual growth, rather than an intrinsically religious path? Prayer seems to work this way - many people of many disparate faiths pray deeply and mindfully, yet in spite of the transformative power of that practice they are not all led to the same revelation. Prayer is the medium, but it is not the message. The ability to recognize Truth comes from skepticism, faith, and learning which frequently occur parallel to, but not inside of the act of prayer.
In the same way, couldn't Aikido be seen as a medium or conduit through which all aikidoka can reach closer to the Source, guided by their convictions? That's my impression after reading Jennifer Smith Sensei's reflections.