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Old 09-27-2009, 04:28 PM   #1
Amassus
 
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Arrow Spirituality of aikido?

Hello all.

Aikiweb is telling me that it has been a long time since I posted. I do have a thought floating around in my mind and I will share it.

I have been re-reading "The Spirit of Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. In this book he concentrates on what spirituality means in aikido. The feeling I get from him is that first and foremost the spirit of aikido comes from a traditional Japanese mindset. Secondly, can that mindset integrate into different cultures?

Keep in mind these are just my interpretations.

So, my question is...
What does spirituality mean to you as a practitioner of aikido?

For me it is the calmness and joy that comes from working with other people on the mat. Everyone is stripped of their usual professions, or social status of everyday life. My partner is another person wearing a gi and is here to interact with me, connect with me and then move on.
The simpleness of it draws me in everytime. The politeness of Japanese traditions attract me as well. The traditions keep me humble, yet alert. The quiet moments when we sit back down and all you hear are people breathing heavily after a technique is practised is priceless. Yes, they are tired, yes they may hurt in places, but they remain quiet, go inward and relax. Others look toward sensei eagerly, wondering what the next technique will be.

I was speaking with a friend of mine who is practising another martial art and after the conversation I felt frustrated. Why? After pondering this it occurred to me that all he was interested in was the physical, practical aspects of both his art and mine. This told me that I wanted more from a martial art other than self defence and physical conditioning. Aikido provides that 'extra' for me. Is it spirituality? I'm not sure.

I have more to say, but I don't expect people to continue reading. So please, comment.

Last edited by Amassus : 09-27-2009 at 04:34 PM. Reason: spelling

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Old 09-28-2009, 01:34 PM   #2
dps
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Here is a whole list of threads about spirituality dating from 10-01-2000 to 01-12-2009.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search...earchid=528209

David
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:26 PM   #3
Jorge Garcia
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote: View Post
Hello all.

Aikiweb is telling me that it has been a long time since I posted. I do have a thought floating around in my mind and I will share it.

I have been re-reading "The Spirit of Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. In this book he concentrates on what spirituality means in aikido. The feeling I get from him is that first and foremost the spirit of aikido comes from a traditional Japanese mindset. Secondly, can that mindset integrate into different cultures?

Keep in mind these are just my interpretations.

So, my question is...
What does spirituality mean to you as a practitioner of aikido?

For me it is the calmness and joy that comes from working with other people on the mat. Everyone is stripped of their usual professions, or social status of everyday life. My partner is another person wearing a gi and is here to interact with me, connect with me and then move on.
The simpleness of it draws me in everytime. The politeness of Japanese traditions attract me as well. The traditions keep me humble, yet alert. The quiet moments when we sit back down and all you hear are people breathing heavily after a technique is practised is priceless. Yes, they are tired, yes they may hurt in places, but they remain quiet, go inward and relax. Others look toward sensei eagerly, wondering what the next technique will be.

I was speaking with a friend of mine who is practising another martial art and after the conversation I felt frustrated. Why? After pondering this it occurred to me that all he was interested in was the physical, practical aspects of both his art and mine. This told me that I wanted more from a martial art other than self defence and physical conditioning. Aikido provides that 'extra' for me. Is it spirituality? I'm not sure.

I have more to say, but I don't expect people to continue reading. So please, comment.
I think you're at a starting place. I think that when you struggle to stay in this art and you do so against all odds with all kinds of people that can be very challenging as well as the internal battles you have- this is a beginning of developing spirituality. You also have to study and develop an interest in what this art brings you into contact with like human relations, understanding yourself and what the truth really is as you encounter it on the mat. Moriteru Ueshiba has a good modern explanation of spirituality in Aikido in his book, Progressive Aikido on page 12 in the paragraph entitled Aikido as a Training Method. He also talks later about enlightenment and other such things. I think though that as Aikido impacts the non physical aspects of your life and and as you find ways to live out the lessons of Aikido, both in its practice, philosophy and even in it's history, then for you, Aikido will develop a form of spirituality you can call your own.

By the way, I have a simple study guide that I developed for my own students that will guide you through the book, The Spirit of Aikido. If you answer all the study questions (188 of them) you will really have a good understanding of what the book is communicating and it will help you to remember what is in it. It is free to all who email and ask for it.
Best wishes,
Jorge

Last edited by Jorge Garcia : 09-28-2009 at 02:29 PM.

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Old 09-28-2009, 02:54 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

To David's list add http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2004_05.html

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:02 PM   #5
Amassus
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Sorry, David.

The link is coming up with no result.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:43 PM   #6
stepp
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

i am a southern cheyenne from the state of oklahoma, usa, and i am not yet a practitioner of aikido. for some reason i have been drawn to aikido over the past year, i have studied tae kwon do, but my interest in it seems to be going away. there are no dojo's here in my hometown, if it is gods will, and i pray that it is, i will be a student of this art, or budo.
prayer is a strong part of our cheyenne culture, as it is in many others. i believe that god intended for aikido to come into my life in anyway possible. our cheyenne warrior societies are still present, but the ways of which a warrior lives from day to day are misconceived by our younger generation. the meaning of warrior has been distorted greatly by hollywood perceptions and even visual artists.
the ways of a cheyenne man, are similar to those of a samurai, the care we show our articles for prayer and battle is the same kind of care the samurai show their swords. i have found the book spirit of aikido and read it, and found a story about germans trying to use science to recreate a japanese sword. the scientists could not do it, then the statement is made that if you want a japanese sword you go to a japanese swordmaker to have one made.
i feel i lost interest in tae kwon do, because the genuiness was lost somewhere along the way in that branch of the martial art. i am not saying that it is a bad thing, i am saying that notoriety has probably gained more value than the tenets the students learn. that maybe the best direction for some students, but at this stage in my life that is not what i am looking for.
i have been unemployed for the past few weeks, there is an ice storm here that i have walked through to have something to do, our bills are due, and everything is alright. cheyennes believe that life if a circle and i have learned that aikido is based on circular motions. if i hold positive thoughts in my mind good things are likely to happen. holding negative thoughts in my mind is not in my best interest. i have what little i have learned from reading about aikido, and applied it to what i have learned from our cheyenne teachings, with the help of god it has benefitted my thoughts and art and even my tae kwon do. so i believe that aikido can help those of us who are not japanese, to learn about ourselves and where we come from. thanks for the time in reading this if you have made it this far.
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:15 PM   #7
Janet Rosen
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Thank you for participating and sharing your thoughts William. May the coming new year bring good things to you and your's.

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:49 PM   #8
piyush.kumar
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Hey,

@William- U reminded me to go back and read all the native indian philosophy i could get my hands on off the net. I believe native indians and aikidoka's would have been soul brothers had they lived in the era and area. I think it is the same with indian philosophy too. If you get a chance, try "bhagvad gita". Its the same truth in essence, only spoken in different languages and expressed differently.
Peace
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:42 AM   #9
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Just wanted to add a thought before work since Sensei Barrish recently described something fitting to this thread. He said many people look to ascetic techniques for spirituality, but that spirituality can be found in something as "ordinary" as eating breakfast. I think this points to an important aspect of at least one form of Aikido spirituality.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:14 PM   #10
Melchizedek
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

hmm that is a nice impartation about the cheyenne warriors, Patience, who ever finds the strength from within and grasp the meaning is a warrior.

Last edited by Melchizedek : 12-09-2009 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:00 PM   #11
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Hello everyone, Hello Matthew-san,

re: eating

Everything in Nature is born, matures and perishes---everything has a beginning and an end. To live and grow as the healthy child of Okami we digest well, we are sustained by divine cosmic vitality through the sacred act of eating.

Sometimes people confuse spirituality with the learning of esoteric techniques.....I think we can see more regarding spirituality more simply, via someone's relationship other people and with food.

Being alive and being present is easily seen by relation to food-- that which we receive from Divine Nature that directly connects us to the Sun, to the Seasons and to Daishizen no Meguri- the ceaseless movements of Divine Nature/ Kannagara.

Itadakimasu/ Gochiso sama

Prayer before eating:

Tanatsumono momono kigusamo amaterasu

Hi-no-Oo—Kami no megumi etekoso.

Itadakimasu

Momo mean 100 (or many many)

Kigusa meaning is trees and plants

Amaterasu is in this case a verb meaning shining brightly.

Hi-no-Okami is Amaterasu Omikami

Megumi is blessings of Okami.

Ete means to receive

Basic meaning is: All the trees and plants thrive and grow by receiving the blessings of divine solar energy. When we eat these sacred plants we receive the life sustaining cosmic vitality of Amaterasu Omikami. I will humble partake/receive………….

Prayer after eating:

Asayoini monokugotoni Toyoukeno

Kami no megumi wo omoe yonohito.

Gochiso sama.

Asayoini means morning and evening

Monokugoto means each time you eat something

Toyouke no Okami is Kami of sacred foodstuffs that sustain our lives

Kami no Megumi means blessing of Kami/ Divine Nature

Omoe means to consider deeply

Yonohito means people.

Basic meaning is: each time we eat let us consider deeply the divine gifts of life sustaining food --- carrying divine solar power to each of our cells ..what a feast…what a joy to be alive!!!! Arigatou gozaimashita.

yoroshiku onegaishimasu

Koichi Barrish

Tsubaki America Kannushi
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:13 PM   #12
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Thank you, Sensei!
I was going to try to elaborate, but can't beat the source...particularly since I also confused a word.

I was going to mention that idea of consideration for the deeper mechanisms/processes in the things we do as being spiritual practice.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:09 PM   #13
Jonathan
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

What spirituality I have originates outside my Aikido training. That is, I don't come to Aikido practice looking to find in it a spiritual path for my life. My faith, my relationship with God, began long before I started into Aikido training and has completely satisfied all my existential, ontological, and/or metaphysical inquiries and concerns.

I don't regard the things you seem to think are "spiritual" as such. My understanding of what "spiritual" means is rather narrower, or more defined than yours, I guess. The sound of people breathing heavily after exercise, the calm awaiting of what comes next, the social leveling effect of practice are all interesting and perhaps pleasant aspects of Aikido training, but this doesn't qualify them as spiritual, in my opinion.

True spirituality, as I understand it, cannot exist apart from, or outside of, a relationship with God. More generally speaking, however, the term "spirituality," has become a catch-all term for anything people wish to elevate, for whatever reason, above the mundane. Used this way, "spirituality" as a term has become so broad in its meaning that its become rather meaningless, I think.

Jon.

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Old 12-10-2009, 02:55 PM   #14
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

I think spirituality or how you define it and find meaning in it depends on your beliefs, dogma, and what not.

for instance, the concept of God alone can vary greatly from an omnipotent/omnipresent being to one that is pervasive/ubiguitous and a part of the collective conscious of the universe.

As such how people connect or find meaning to the concept of God will greatly differ. I think that it is perfectly natural and fine for someone to find spirituality in something as simple as breathing.

I don't think there is any religion that does not connect spirituality to breath or breathing, albeit some might find more connection to others. "the breath of god", prana...etc.

Most world religions have meditative practices in which breath is a major part of.

So, it may not be a big part of your spirituality, but it may in others for sure and I would submit that for them...the IS "True Spirituality".

For me, sometimes breath, the act of breathing, prana...is a very integrated part of my spiritual practice...other times it simply means I am out of breath.

I do find joy and peace in the fact that I am breathing which means I am alive...that alone invokes an existential response in my brain, which reminds me that I am alive and....etc, etc...

So, while it may be meaningless to you, it does not mean that it is meaningless at all.

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Old 12-10-2009, 10:20 PM   #15
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Hi Jon, I think I started to feel the same feeling you expressed at first:

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
More generally speaking, however, the term "spirituality," has become a catch-all term for anything people wish to elevate, for whatever reason, above the mundane.
But, although that might be true for some people, I think if you look at the essence of what Barrish Sensei was saying, it is actually much more similar to what you in your post called "spiritual" than it may seem at first glance.

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
My understanding of what "spiritual" means is rather narrower, or more defined than yours, I guess.
...
True spirituality, as I understand it, cannot exist apart from, or outside of, a relationship with God.
When I read Barrish Sensei's post I felt that much of what he spoke about was equivalent to what Christians would call God or acts of God. It's just that instead of stopping at the term "God," Barrish Sensei's prayers delved in depth about this concept-- ultimately making them more, not less, specific or narrowly defined in their celebration of "a relationship with God."

In this way I agree with Matthew and Barrish sensei that an exploration of how simple aspects of your life intimately relate you back to ultimate origins or ultimate cycling is indeed a spiritual exercise.

This opens the door to lots of things being considered spiritual without the term "spiritual" becoming an imprecise proxy for "anything I want to elevate above the mundane."
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:09 AM   #16
Jonathan
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Kevin:

You wrote:

Quote:
I think spirituality or how you define it and find meaning in it depends on your beliefs, dogma, and what not.
Yes, I agree.

Quote:
As such how people connect or find meaning to the concept of God will greatly differ. I think that it is perfectly natural and fine for someone to find spirituality in something as simple as breathing.
I agree completely with the first sentence in the above quotation but not with the second. People do define things like spirituality by their understanding of God and that understanding differs widely across the globe. I don't, however, think it is fine for there to be widely varying and often contradictory views of God and thus of related spirituality. We can't all be right about who or what God is and at the same time be in contradiction to each others views. This isn't reasonable, nor logical. Someone has to be wrong.

Quote:
I don't think there is any religion that does not connect spirituality to breath or breathing, albeit some might find more connection to others. "the breath of god", prana...etc.
I can't think, off the top of my head, of anyplace in the Bible where breathing is said to be a "spiritual" act, or where people are encouraged to view breathing as such.

Quote:
So, it may not be a big part of your spirituality, but it may in others for sure and I would submit that for them...the IS "True Spirituality".
Well, if I thought true spirituality was simply a matter of whatever a person decides it is, then I would agree with you. I don't, however, take this view.

Quote:
So, while it may be meaningless to you, it does not mean that it is meaningless at all.
I'm sure people believe they obtain spiritual benefit from all sorts of God-unrelated things. I never suggested that people who don't think as I do find no spiritual meaning in anything. For myself, however, I don't think they can understand or experience true spirituality apart from a connection with God.

Jon.

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Old 12-11-2009, 07:22 AM   #17
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
I don't, however, think it is fine for there to be widely varying and often contradictory views of God and thus of related spirituality. We can't all be right about who or what God is and at the same time be in contradiction to each others views. This isn't reasonable, nor logical. Someone has to be wrong.
I suspect everyone is wrong in the absolute sense of the truth.

Quote:
I can't think, off the top of my head, of anyplace in the Bible where breathing is said to be a "spiritual" act, or where people are encouraged to view breathing as such.
I haven't read it in a while, but it seems to me there are passages which describe having joy for God in the so-called mundane day-to-day processes of life. I think it's meant in this spirit of things at any rate.

Quote:
I'm sure people believe they obtain spiritual benefit from all sorts of God-unrelated things.
...
For myself, however, I don't think they can understand or experience true spirituality apart from a connection with God.

Jon.
Assuming God exists and is the source of everything, how can anything be unrelated in some way to God?
With that in mind I agree with the second statement completely. If genuine spirituality is about connection with God, Who is also omnipresent, one should be able to have genuine spiritual experiences doing anything.
...Or to put it another way:
Whatever a spiritual person is doing, it's a spiritual experience (spiritual is as spiritual does) because whatever they're doing they're maintaining that divine connection.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:52 AM   #18
Jonathan
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
I suspect everyone is wrong in the absolute sense of the truth
I'm not sure what you mean here...Can you explain?

Quote:
I haven't read it in a while, but it seems to me there are passages which describe having joy for God in the so-called mundane day-to-day processes of life. I think it's meant in this spirit of things at any rate.
I read it daily. And the Bible urges the reader: "Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31) This verse is directed specifically to believers in Christ, however, not towards those who are spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins." (Eph. 2:1)

Insofar as one's activities draw one's thoughts to God, they can be potentially spiritually beneficial. But regarding the activities themselves as "divine" or spiritually significant beyond allowing one to acknowledge God through them is, in my view, erroneous.

Quote:
Assuming God exists and is the source of everything, how can anything be unrelated in some way to God?
Well, inasmuch as God is seen to be the Creator and Sustainer of everything He is in some sense related to it all. I wouldn't go as far as some do, however, and believe that God is in everything. I don't believe that God is literally in rocks and trees, sky and water, sun and moon, etc. He is no more in what He has created than a potter is in the pots he makes. Certainly, one can see something of the character and skill of the potter in his pots, as one can see something of God's character and nature in the beauty, order, and complexity of what He has made, but in neither instance is it reasonable to think that what is made is the same in essence as the Maker.

The Bible teaches that God's Spirit may come to dwell within a person (though never in inanimate/non-sentient things or animals) and it is this indwelling that imparts spiritual life to that person, but this by no means implies that such a person is themselves divine - far from it.

Quote:
With that in mind I agree with the second statement completely. If genuine spirituality is about connection with God, Who is also omnipresent, one should be able to have genuine spiritual experiences doing anything.
What do you mean by "genuine spiritual experiences"? As I understand it, God being omnipresent is not tantamount to being directly connected to everyone and thing except in the vaguest sense. I can be in a room full of people and not be connected in any direct, substantial way to any of them. In the same way, I believe, God is always "present in the room" but generally not directly connected in any spiritually meaningful way to those who are there.

Quote:
Whatever a spiritual person is doing, it's a spiritual experience (spiritual is as spiritual does) because whatever they're doing they're maintaining that divine connection.
This is certainly a commonly accepted way of thinking about this matter. Unfortunately, what "spiritual" may mean differs widely across the spectrum of religions. What do you mean by a "spiritual person"? What does "maintaining that divine connection" mean to you? I would assert that one does not maintain a divine connection, but rather that one maintains a connection to the divine. I'm sure you see the difference.

For myself, then, I don't see Aikido practice as a particularly useful vehicle for spiritual pursuits. Insofar as I can use Aikido to "glorify God" it has some spiritual purpose, but I don't think meditative breathing, or ukemi, or the pleasant after-burn of vigorous training do this by default - or at all, really.

I apologize if I'm coming off as truculent. My intent is not to be merely argumentative, but to provide an alternative perspective on the matter of spirituality.

Jon.

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Old 12-11-2009, 10:31 AM   #19
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

So essentially you are saying that if it doesn't meet the citieria that you define based on your interpretation of the bible then the person cannot have a spiritual experience?

Do I understand this correctly?

So there for Hindu's are wrong, Muslims, Buddhist...all are those religion's pratices or void of spritiuality?

To include shinto pracitces such as misogi of which the DNA of his imbedded in Aikido?

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Old 12-11-2009, 11:03 AM   #20
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Hi Jon-
I wasn't trying to be truculent in my post either, and it gave you the opportunity to end this argument, instead of perpetuating it, so I am a little disappointed you didn't reply. Let's stop arguing and be more explicit:

If we (Christians, non-christians, all of us on the forum interested in spirituality in Aikido) can agree on a definition for "spirtuality" then we can stop arguing and go forward with the OP's discussion.

The only one who gave a constructive definition of it is you, and I think it is a good starting point:

Spirituality means having to do with the relationship of one's self with God.
(did I get that right?)

Now, if folks like O-sensei (thanks Kevin), Reverend Barrish, athiest aikidoka like myself, or anyone practicing a religion that does not have one god are to be excluded, we can end it there.
But here's a simple way we can all be in on the discussion:

What is it about "God" in the definition above that you are talking about, specifically? Then we can replace the word "God" with those specific things and we can all discuss, from within our own religions or non-religions, because those things could be shared across different belief systems.
Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
God is seen to be the Creator and Sustainer of everything
OK, perfect! So how about this:

Spirituality means having to do with the relationship of one's self with the origins and ongoing functioning of the universe.

Such a definition would cover everything you've said in your posts.. it would cover O-Sensei's spiritual writings, and it would cover what Matthew and Reverend Barrish have posted.

What do you think?
--Jonathan Wong
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:05 AM   #21
Janet Rosen
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

I define myself as a spiritual atheist. I have never had a moment of faith, a moment of a belief in a deity or creator or purposefulness in the universe.
However I am awed to laughter and tears being present at births and at deaths, at watching the flight of enormous flocks of cranes, the full moon over the hills or the ocean... all those things that connect me with this enormous and longlasting universe (that I'm happy to conceive as essentially random and chaotic) and the other living beings that inhabit it and that remind me I am but one tiny insignificant momentary speck in the universe who can make of my bit of time what I choose (although the universe doesn't really "care", I know my positive of negative actions affect some around me and hence spread...thus, again, the connectivity).

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:07 AM   #22
Janet Rosen
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Spirituality means having to do with the relationship of one's self with the origins and ongoing functioning of the universe.-
heheheh, we posted at the same time... Jon, this works for me.

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Old 12-11-2009, 11:11 AM   #23
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

BTW, note that though I have posted twice, I haven't even dealt with the OP's question and presented my views on spirituality in aikido. The reason is that we haven't settled on what is spirituality and what isn't. I think settling on a definition would open up a lot of conversation.

To illustrate my point better-- in Buddhism there are lots of "gods" but other than the word being the same as the word used in Christianity, there is nothing god-like about them. They are simply powerful non-human entities... the real spirituality in that religion has not to do with the gods.
Conversely, some shamanistic religions may not have gods at all, but worship the sun, or some animal forms, etc. So gods are not where to look in those religions either.

Point being, all of the above explore the relationship of the self with the greater universe (its origins or its constant cycles of renewal). So does Christianity. So there really should be some specific aspect of spirituality that we can all agree on as being definitive of spiritual experiences.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:18 AM   #24
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Hi Janet, I'm glad I got someone on board!
I think this really speaks to Matthew and Jon's original argument. For non-Christians, what is it that classifies something as "spiritual," considering that anything could be thought of in a "deep thoughts but not spiritual" kind of way?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
... all those things that connect me with this enormous and longlasting universe ...
I am but one tiny insignificant momentary speck in the universe
That's the point I think. We can feel so insignificant most of the time, it is when the relationship of ourselves with the functioning of the universe becomes highlighted or felt in tangible, real terms that we feel a "spiritual" experience.
So: unique among all the "deep" things I could think, it is those times when I feel connected to a something that is greater than myself, greater than humanity, that I feel something that I think is what we all (even Christians) are talking about.
--Jonathan Wong
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:41 AM   #25
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Hello Mr. Barrish, Everyone
Thank you for your post. I am interested in your response, and trying to understand this better; not to do a 'gotcha' style post.

What a fine time to have this discussion again; as we enter into this season. A time of reflection and gratitude. For others, it's more; for some it's less. I believe that most here seek the best things; to be honest and to pursue truth, love and righteousness and to follow these where they lead. These threads are always heated; but i hope not to be rude or to fight. These topics always seem to being out the best and worst in people, do they not?

I feel that at many points the 'spirituality' of Aikido gets confusing. Frankly, I am confused by it.

Sometimes they are generic 'spiritual feelings' and/or earnest sincerity that people mean.
And then other times they are generic in that 'thanking god' means thanking your deity that you believe in. Here it is an all size-fits; and delineation of who/what is being thanked is deemed not to matter. This easy-going syncretism appeals to people as fair....but ..in what other area of knowledge is 'preference' or 'pleasingness' or all-encompassing inclusivity the main criteria for selection or discerning of 'truth'. (certainly not in physics, biology, geography, etc). Where in life (and technique) do details not matter?
And then other times the names are specifics...and specific names mean specific things....like the God (and/or Gods) and/or Kami of Shinto or Oomoto Kyo. In your post it seems specific names are named. What is meant? Those names come from somewhere. Where? When and How were these names learned? Are all names the same? I do not think that can be true. Are those names the root of Aikido spirituality? Can we test it? Anyway; I do not mean to assault with a barrage of questions...

These area all questions I naturally find myself asking.

If we are talking about actual sacred things; then.. well...this does require a high standard. A high standard of thought, of analysis, of pedigree. Public fora are really not the place for this; but i do mention it to suggest that these things not be taken too lightly. There likely will be unforseen (but not unforseeable) consequences to these choices. Does it matter if you are 'spiritual' or not? Is everyone the same, independent of how spiritual you are? Does it matter 'how' you are spiritual? Does it matter where the standards come from? Who sets them?
And on and on and on. It is a deep thing to be sure. I can only share my questions.

I think, of course, being grateful for food; and life itself (as well as myriad other things) is really important. A grateful heart is a good foundation. I agree with that.. but what I want to know is... Is Aikido or does Aikido presume a religion? Do some 'fit' better than other? Was it 'designed' with a 'fit' in mind? As Aikido comes from O-Sensei, so the source of the spirituality in Aikido is from O-Sensei (is it right?) and all that informed his beliefs. I do not think he separated Aikido from his beliefs. In fact; I think this wholistic view is implicit. This is something I have not yet settled for myself. Put another way: Is there an intended immutable spirituality in Aikido?

To summarize this overlong post:
Is spirituality of, for instance, eating; the act of being grateful (e.g. the spiritual starts and ends with the individual)? Or is it being grateful and thanking/remembering/revering the source? (e.g. the spiritual starts with the individual and ends with the kami/god) If it is closer to the latter...then i think the *who* must be important. No?

just some random thoughts.
Josh

p.s. I thought Don Hebert made some very interesting points on the subject of Spirituality in Aikido here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...783#post236783
Actually, IIRC that was kind of a turning point in that thread that lead to some interesting discussion on this very topic.

Best to everyone.
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