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Old 12-11-2009, 11:33 AM   #26
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
I'm not sure what you mean here...Can you explain?
I mean that I would take the idea that someone must be wrong a bit further and sugest no one has it 100% correct (i.e. everyone is wrong in some way). Some may have it more correct than others for all I know, but to me none seem likely to have the whole truth on the matter of what God may or may not be (or how best to interact with "Him"). Then again, for all I know, someone does.

Quote:
...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)
Ok, so the Bible expresses that devotees of God ought do everything (i.e. the "mundane") with the glory of God in mind. Are you suggesting the message is only for people who already have been saved and not for those who merely may yet to be? I take this message to be to all people...not that I'm an expert though.

Quote:
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.
I agree.

Quote:
Well, inasmuch as God is seen to be the Creator and Sustainer of everything He is in some sense related to it all...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...
We basically agree then. I'm simply saying that events which seem ordinary can be spiritual in nature...whatever that may be.

Quote:
What do you mean by "genuine spiritual experiences"?
I mean whatever a genuine spiritual experience may be. I couldn't honestly say I know exactly what one is.

Quote:
As I understand it, God being omnipresent is not tantamount to being directly connected to everyone and thing except in the vaguest sense.
What does it mean then? Omnipresent means existing everywhere at the exact same time and implies to me a tacit connection with every part of every thing. Even if I'm right it doesn't necessitate a meaningful connection I suppose, but I think it points to the potential accessibility of God.

Quote:
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.
It seems to me the difference is semantics here. To me "divine connection" simply means connection to the divine.
Quote:
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 agree they wouldn't do it by default. I take this line of thinking: I know O Sensei was a spiritual person in the sense that he pursued spiritual understanding and I presume he intended for similarly-minded people to enjoy Aikido as a spiritual experience as well as the physical experience it is. I also presume he wouldn't have had much issue with the idea that some folks wouldn't enjoy it as such.

Quote:
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.
Not at all, Jon! I've enjoyed reading your thoughts very much and took them to be nothing but kind in their delivery.
Take care,
Matthew

Last edited by mathewjgano : 12-11-2009 at 11:38 AM.

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Old 12-11-2009, 11:55 AM   #27
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Jonathon,

I think you are all over it! Spirituality is the connection, understanding, thought etc...of somehow understanding that there is something greater than yourself.

It could be a "god", the universe, the collective consciousness of mankind...whatever.

the realization that you are a separate and distinct human being, yet somehow connected, dependent and interdependent on other "stuff".

this includes Atheist, Agnostics, existentialist, humanist, and every other "label" or affinity that folks want to identify with.

So yea, I would definitely accept your definition.

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Old 12-11-2009, 12:32 PM   #28
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

I like Jonathan's definition as well. It certainily describes my spiritual pursuits.

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Old 12-11-2009, 01:18 PM   #29
Rev.K. Barrish
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Itadakimasu/ Gochiso sama

Tanatsumono momono kigusamo amaterasu
Hi-no-Oo—Kami no megumi etekoso.
Itadakimasu

Asayoini monokugotoni Toyoukeno
Kami no megumi wo omoe yonohito.
Gochiso sama.

Hello everyone, Hello Mr. Philipson,

Mr. Philipson you wrote:
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?

1st may I say I did not write the prayer Itadakimasu.. the Kami mentioned are:
1) Hi-no-OO-Kami = a way to refer to Amaterasu Omikami meaning the sun/ taiyo= the solar progenitor. In Shinto thinking all life dependent on divine sunshine. If we think deeply about it maybe is natural to be grateful for sunshine.
2) The other kami mentioned in this prayer is Toyoukehimenomikoto, who is kami of foodstuffs as well as things made by human effort to sustain human life. Maybe it is also natural to be grateful for life sustaining food. If we hike in the mountains and become very hungry we can really savor the nourishment and taste of a snack…if we are living a life seeking meaningful connection to and harmony with life giving forces we might be really grateful for the gift of nourishment, which is ultimately dependant on divine solar power.
These names come from the Jinja Shinto -- but the forces involved exist outside of that paradigm.
In my opinion as the licensed Jinja Shinto Chief Priest and the person who has studied Aiki movement for some years (40) esoteric Shinto thinking re: the Oharahi-no-kotoba (the most important liturgy of Shinto) and the founders thinking re: mission of Aikido are quite analogous- but that is just my opinion.

Mr Philipson wrote:
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?

Again I can only offer opinions, it is my opinion that Aikido= Jujitsu + Shinto. May I say at this point that Shinto is not Religion, rather a Natural spirituality and a reflection of a time when humankind was connected to Divine Nature and able to intuit certain things about life by that connection to life giving forces. In the Q&A section of Tsubaki Shrine web site I wrote:

Q: What is Shinto?
A: The word "Shinto" is comprised of two pictographs: Shin or Kami meaning the divine, that that inspires awe and mystery and To or Do/ Michi, the way/ method/ path. * Shinto emerged and developed spontaneously as an expression of the deep intuitive connection with Divine Nature enjoyed by human beings in ancient Japan. Shinto as natural spirituality is based on this harmonious primal relationship with the "infinite restless movement of Great Nature," rather than on the written or revealed teachings of human beings.
Realizing that each single component within Nature possesses Divine Spirit giving us joy and benefit, we renew our close ties to Mother Nature and pray for renewal and refreshed life. As Shinto has the continuous history from prehistoric times to the present and into the future, visiting the Shinto Shrine can help reconnect us to our intuitive roots while helping us to meet the challenges of the present and the future cultivating our human spirituality.

Shinto is simple, bright and sincere and is the practice of the philosophy of proceeding in harmony with and gratitude to Divine Nature. Basic of Shinto is to feel gratitude for the gifts of life. Our human lives, received from Great Nature and our ancestors are essentially good -- obscuring energies exist but through the purifying (harae), straightening (naobi), and invigorating (kiyome) action of Shinto we can prevent misfortune or move towards solution if misfortune has already occurred.
Relative to an "immutable spirituality in Aikido" I would say certainly not..of course everyone's Aikido is their own.

Mr. Philipson wrote:

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?

Re: the who or Kami:
Q: What is Kami?
A: To best understand the concept of Kami it is important to put aside the preconception caused by the word, god, an English translation which is often used for the word Kami. Shinto thinking does not include faith in the concept of an absolute one god who is the creator of both nature and human beings. Ancient peoples thinking did not divide material and spiritual existence, but considered that the both were inseparable, seeing everything to be spiritual. In other word, they did not draw a border between a certain object and the work of that object.
According to Shinto cosmology, the universe began with the appearance of Ame-no-Minaka-nushi-no-O-Kami. Next to appear were the Kamis of birth and growth. After the appearance of 15 Kami in 7 generations the Kamis Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto emerged and created the solar system, the Earth, various Kami, the land of Japan and her nature as well as people.
Shinto begins with the feeling of receiving life from the Sun, Kami and ancestors. Therefore, Shinto does not percieve substantial difference or discontinuation between Kami and man, Kami and Divine Nature, or nature and human beings. It can be said that Shinto is basically the faith in Kannagara /the continuous positive movement of the life-giving forces."

Again in my opinion it is not at all necessary to anthropomorphize thinking re: life giving forces … if we can stand firmly on the Earth and receive the rich vitality of Earth while being nourished by and receiving inspiration for the sun we feel really alive and naturally be grateful to forces and the actions of others in the past present and future who support us. How exactly each individual thinks of and relates to these forces is very personal.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu
Koichi Barrish
Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America
www.Tsubakishrine.org
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:27 PM   #30
Jonathan
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
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?
Sort of. Am I right in assuming you have your own alternate view that you think I should hold?

Quote:
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?
What do you do with the fact that Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists all believe different and often contradictory things about reality, deity, and spirituality? Does it make sense to you that they can all be right while in contradiction to one another? The answer you give will go a long way to making it possible to discuss sensibly the point I think you're trying to make in your questions.

Quote:
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:
I'm not really arguing, just stating my views like everyone else on this thread. I happen not to agree with some of the ideas others espouse, but that doesn't seem to me to be good reason not to chime in. That I disagree certainly doesn't stop others from sharing their views.

Quote:
Spirituality means having to do with the relationship of one's self with God.
(did I get that right?)
Sort of. Its more complex than this for me. For example, one's relationship with God can be that of an enemy in which case I wouldn't be able to say that such a relationship was spiritual.

Quote:
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:
I didn't intend to suggest that those who held views on spirituality different from my own had nothing to say! As you can see from this thread, they have a lot to say. And thats okay with me. I don't expect that everyone else will suddenly kowtow to my perspective just because I state it. Not hardly.

Quote:
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.
No, this is far too vague a definition for me. I appreciate the ecumenical motive for it, but the definition is so open that it becomes somewhat meaningless. God, in my view is not an amorphous "origin" or an impersonal "function of the universe." What I understand to be spirituality wouldn't make sense if He were. I can see, though, how such a definition would suit an atheistic perspective very well.

Jon.

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Old 12-11-2009, 01:38 PM   #31
Keith Larman
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

No replying to any one post...

I think it is a mistake to equate "true" spirituality with religion. One may find spirituality through religion, but it is not the sole domain of religion in general, and certainly not any specific one in particular.

For me... Holding my daughter's hand as I walk her to school can be a deeply spiritual thing. Laying on a hill watching the clouds move by in the summer sky. Planting and maintaining our garden. Watching my daughter grow. Listening to her sing. The point being that spirituality for some may simply mean finding a larger meaning, purpose, or reality. That can come from religion. It can come from what others have written about. And for some it might come with every moment of their life depending on how they choose to experience it.

As a result... I try to avoid discounting anyone's source of spirituality. I find transcendent qualities to the sound of my daughter quietly singing to herself in her bedroom at night. It might not be enough for someone else. But it works for me more than anything else I've ever experienced.

And my vote for the most spiritual man ever? Elwood P. Dowd. And his friend Harvey of course.

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Old 12-11-2009, 01:53 PM   #32
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
Sort of. Am I right in assuming you have your own alternate view that you think I should hold
your view is your view, and I am okay with whatever view you want to hold. My point is that it seems that you believe that it is not possible for anyone to have a spiritual practice that is not defined as you interpret it based ont he Bilble. I do not agree with that, but okay, that is your view and not a big deal really as it doesn't impact me or anyone else until we start exercise power over them in some way to limit there ability to have experiences. Other than that....no issues.

Quote:
What do you do with the fact that Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists all believe different and often contradictory things about reality, deity, and spirituality? Does it make sense to you that they can all be right while in contradiction to one another? The answer you give will go a long way to making it possible to discuss sensibly the point I think you're trying to make in your questions.
Again, along the same vein, does it really matter if they contradict each other? As long as they can co-exist peacefully what difference does it make to you? Unless you feel a need or compulsion to impose your own morality (power).

I see the same issue with Gay Marriage really. I am not Gay, but not sure why it matters to people if it is legal or not...again, this is a morality issue so when you go there...yeah it matters to me when we oppress others. (not saying you are doing this...just an example).

However, back to the basic discussion of contradictions? What are the contradictions? the fact that I like Red Cars and you Like Blue Motorcycles could also be seen as contradictory if you think it wrong to drive a Red Car. But, is it really contradictory? I mean, I live in the US and you live in Canada...and really what is the problem, unless you dislike red cars so much you don't believe ANY one should be allowed to drive them...so you if you have power over this, then you pass legislation to keep me from drivng a red car...then it affects me. Other than that....no contradicion right.

See my point? Not sure if this makes sense?

This is my major issue with religion in general is I believe it is easy for us to see external things thorugh our own worldview filter then begin to label things like good/bad, right/wrong, moral/immoral and those judgements are solely based on the filters we impose based on dogmatic creed. Which is no issue on a PERSONAL level, however, it slowly begins to affect how we view and judge others on a wider SOCIAL level...and THEN it becomes contradictory and thus...CONFLICT arises...and we have this dissonance and divide happen between humans.

But, again, back to the contradition thing.

Give me an example of a spiritual practice say between Buddhism and Christianity that is contradictory in practice to the degree that it would be seen as unacceptable or affective to the other relgion in some way?

I assert that it is very possible to have many religions, they can all get along...all be right...that is, as long as at the base of the religion they respect the dignity and self worth of human beings. Ten commandments are a good start along those lines for Judeo-Christian faith.

however, my "religious belief" structure allows for this. I understand that others have a much stricter definition and will say things such as "If you do not accept Jesus as your savior...then you are going to hell." Which, at the base level, I have no issue with that belief, that is, until it gets translated into "we're right...your wrong".

Does this make sense?

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:01 PM   #33
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Here is another example. I have a personal "religious" belief that it is wrong to kill animals for food, and thus I am a vegetarian.

So, should I judge all non-vegetarians as being wrong?

I mean one of us has to be right? Who is right?

But alas, I am not a Vegan...so I am not quite as "right" as someone else that eats no animal products. AND I also am wearing leather boots, and I cannot be absolutely sure I did not step on an ant this morning.

So I suppose I am also a hippocrite too!

So where on the sliding scale does "RIGHT" fall and when is it exactly that you cross into wrong?

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:09 PM   #34
Jonathan
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
I mean that I would take the idea that someone must be wrong a bit further and sugest no one has it 100% correct (i.e. everyone is wrong in some way).
Is this 100% true, or is it wrong in some way?

Being wrong in some way isn't the same as being wrong in every way. Not knowing everything doesn't mean you can't be sure of some things.

Quote:
Some may have it more correct than others for all I know, but to me none seem likely to have the whole truth on the matter of what God may or may not be (or how best to interact with "Him"). Then again, for all I know, someone does.
I don't think any Christian would tell you that they understand everything about God perfectly, or that He is 100% known. If God is as He is revealed in the Bible (infinite, omnipotent, etc), such knowledge is impossible for finite beings. This doesn't, however, preclude knowing some things about God 100% perfectly. In other words, having only a partial knowledge of God doesn't mean it is impossible to state that some things are true of Him.

Do you realize that your last remark in the above quotation completely undermines everything just before it?

Quote:
Ok, so the Bible expresses that devotees of God ought do everything (i.e. the "mundane") with the glory of God in mind. Are you suggesting the message is only for people who already have been saved and not for those who merely may yet to be? I take this message to be to all people...not that I'm an expert though.
No, the command of Colossians 3:23 is not for everyone. In context, it is specifically directed at believers in Christ. How could a non-believer be asked to glorify Him in whom he or she doesn't believe?

Quote:
We basically agree then. I'm simply saying that events which seem ordinary can be spiritual in nature...whatever that may be.
With the caveat that these things are not intrinsically spiritual, but may be made to serve a spiritual purpose.

Quote:
I mean whatever a genuine spiritual experience may be. I couldn't honestly say I know exactly what one is.
I don't mean to sound rude, but how can you speak coherently about spiritual experience when you have no idea what it is?

Quote:
What does it mean then? Omnipresent means existing everywhere at the exact same time and implies to me a tacit connection with every part of every thing. Even if I'm right it doesn't necessitate a meaningful connection I suppose, but I think it points to the potential accessibility of God.
Oh sure, I agree that God is potentially immediately accessible to anyone. As a Christian, however, this access is achieved through a very specific means: Jesus Christ.

Quote:
It seems to me the difference is semantics here. To me "divine connection" simply means connection to the divine.
But it doesn't. In the former instance, the connection itself is defined as divine, while in the latter instance only the thing to which one is connected is divine. This is an important distinction - at least to me.

Quote:
I agree they wouldn't do it by default. I take this line of thinking: I know O Sensei was a spiritual person in the sense that he pursued spiritual understanding and I presume he intended for similarly-minded people to enjoy Aikido as a spiritual experience as well as the physical experience it is. I also presume he wouldn't have had much issue with the idea that some folks wouldn't enjoy it as such.
Sure. Works for me. I don't think, though, that we mean the same thing when referring to OSensei as a "spiritual person."

I appreciate your thoughts on this matter, Matthew. Thanks.

Jon.

Last edited by Jonathan : 12-11-2009 at 02:12 PM.

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:31 PM   #35
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Defining spirituality,

Traditionally, religions have regarded spirituality as an integral aspect of religious experience and have long claimed that secular (non-religious) people cannot experience "true" spirituality. Many do still equate spirituality with religion, but declining membership of organised religions and the growth of secularism in the western world has given rise to a broader view of spirituality...

Secular spirituality carries connotations of an individual having a spiritual outlook which is more personalized, less structured, more open to new ideas/influences, and more pluralistic than that of the doctrinal faiths of organized religions. At one end of the spectrum, even some atheists are spiritual. While atheism tends to lean towards skepticism regarding supernatural claims and the existence of an actual "spirit", some atheists define "spiritual" as nurturing thoughts, emotions, words and actions that are in harmony with a belief that the entire universe is, in some way, connected; even if only by the mysterious flow of cause and effect at every scale.

In contrast, those of a more 'New-Age' disposition see spirituality as the active connection to some force/power/energy/spirit, facilitating a sense of a deep self.

For some, spirituality includes introspection, and the development of an individual's inner life through practices such as meditation, prayer and contemplation. Some modern religions also see spirituality in everything: see pantheism and neo-Pantheism. In a similar vein, Religious Naturalism has a spiritual attitude towards the awe, majesty and mystery it sees in the natural world.

For a Christian, to refer to him or herself as "more spiritual than religious"[citation needed] may (but not always) imply relative deprecation of rules, rituals, and tradition while preferring an intimate relationship with God. The basis for this belief is that Jesus Christ came to free humankind from those rules, rituals, and traditions, giving humankind the ability to "walk in the spirit" thus maintaining a "Christian" lifestyle through that one-to-one relationship with God.

(The above quoted from Wikipedia's article on Spirituality.)

"Subtle energy" redirects here. For the mystical concept of psychospiritual bodies overlaying the physical body, see Subtle body.
Spiritual practices and ideas often equate life-energy with the breath

The term energy has been widely used by writers and practitioners of various forms of spirituality and alternative medicine to mean to a variety of phenomena, often (though not always) the supposed "fields" surrounding the earth or any living thing, supposed to be directly perceptible and accessible to the human mind as "auras", "rays", "fields" or "vibrations". There is no scientific evidence for any such fields.

In many cases "energy" is conceived of as a universal life force: to this extent "spiritual energy" theories resemble vitalism and may even invoke the Luminiferous Ether of Victorian physics. Additionally, or alternatively, such notions are often aligned with or derived from conceptions found in other cultures, such as the Chinese idea of Qi and the Prajna of the Upanishads. Many such ideas arise from the primitive idea of life as breath - a relationship implicit also in the word "spirit". Such a usage is already evident in William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793);

"Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. Energy is Eternal Delight."

Blake's alignment of energy with affective emotion is noteworthy, for it depicts energy as the psychic continuum that unites body and mind, thus reflecting Plato's celebrated tripartite division of the human psyche into the appetitive, the spirited and the rational. Such an integration of "energy" into systematic esoteric expositions of the universe and/or the human psyche is frequently found combined, as in Kundalini and Theosophy, into an account of a hierarchy of "inner planes" or "subtle bodies".

(The above taken from Wikipedia's article on "Energy (esotericism)".)

and more such as, 1. Spirituality and religion, 2. Spiritual path, 3. Spirituality and personal well-being, 4. Spirituality not equal to supernaturalism, 5. Relationship to science, 6. Near-death experience (NDE) 7. Opposition 8. Positive psychology 9. Origin 10. History 11. Study, and so much more to discover like the 66 books of the bible. there is still long way for enlightenment for us yet perhaps if we can live 100 yrs or more..., but its been fun and interesting to study I wish i can live for another 400yrs more, and perhaps it still to short compering to the time line of our universe and heaven and so we are longing to have the Glorified body that God have promise as and eternal happiness I wish to see you all there my fellow Aikidokas in heaven I Love you all.

Last edited by akiy : 12-14-2009 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Added Wikipedia attributions
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:08 PM   #36
akiy
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Hi folks,

Just wanted to step in here and request that the discussion here in this thread to explicitly include the topic of aikido.

If you'd like to discuss religion and spirituality in a context outside of aikido, please do so in the Open Discussions forum.

Thank you,

-- Jun

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Old 12-11-2009, 03:32 PM   #37
Jonathan
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Hey, Kevin. Thanks for the very interesting responses!

Quote:
your view is your view, and I am okay with whatever view you want to hold. My point is that it seems that you believe that it is not possible for anyone to have a spiritual practice that is not defined as you interpret it based ont he Bilble. I do not agree with that, but okay, that is your view and not a big deal really as it doesn't impact me or anyone else until we start exercise power over them in some way to limit there ability to have experiences. Other than that....no issues.
Okay. This is very "live and let live" and I appreciate the peaceful intent of this kind of thinking. I would ask you, though, what difference it makes to you (if any), if what someone else believes sincerely and deeply is just plain false. Is it appropriate to point out the falsity of a belief, or is it better in your view simply to let a person go on in their mistaken notions?

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Again, along the same vein, does it really matter if they contradict each other? As long as they can co-exist peacefully what difference does it make to you? Unless you feel a need or compulsion to impose your own morality (power).
Should truth take a back seat to peace? Ignoring truth for the sake of peace is potentially a very destructive practice, don't you think? Imagine a lawyer who took this tack in court; or a journalist who wrote in accordance with this view. Would you want to be convicted of a crime you didn't commit because your lawyer didn't want to fight for the truth of your innocence? Would you want to read the work of a journalist who refused to report the awful truth because it was upsetting and might arouse conflict?

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I see the same issue with Gay Marriage really. I am not Gay, but not sure why it matters to people if it is legal or not...again, this is a morality issue so when you go there...yeah it matters to me when we oppress others. (not saying you are doing this...just an example).
I don't think we should oppress others, nor do I think we have to accept what we believe is wrong as being right simply to suit those who don't agree with us.

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However, back to the basic discussion of contradictions? What are the contradictions? the fact that I like Red Cars and you Like Blue Motorcycles could also be seen as contradictory if you think it wrong to drive a Red Car. But, is it really contradictory?
A difference in preference is not what I mean when I speak of contradiction. A contradiction is when something is said to be A and non-A at the same time. For instance, if you said your car was red and I said it was blue, we would be in contradiction to one another. The car cannot be both blue and red at the same time. It must be one color or the other (or neither color). In contrast, if you said you liked red cars and I said I liked blue cars we would have different preferences, but not be in genuine contradiction to one another. We might disagree with each other about car color but not be truly contradicting each other.

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I mean, I live in the US and you live in Canada...and really what is the problem, unless you dislike red cars so much you don't believe ANY one should be allowed to drive them...so you if you have power over this, then you pass legislation to keep me from drivng a red car...then it affects me. Other than that....no contradicion right.
No, I'm afraid that isn't quite right. See above.

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This is my major issue with religion in general is I believe it is easy for us to see external things thorugh our own worldview filter then begin to label things like good/bad, right/wrong, moral/immoral and those judgements are solely based on the filters we impose based on dogmatic creed.
And doing so is bad, or wrong, or immoral in your view?

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Which is no issue on a PERSONAL level, however, it slowly begins to affect how we view and judge others on a wider SOCIAL level...and THEN it becomes contradictory and thus...CONFLICT arises...and we have this dissonance and divide happen between humans.
Aside from the fact that you're using the term "contradictory" in an inaccurate way, the nature of truth and the nature of humans makes what you describe here inevitable. It is always unfortunate that matters of truth sometimes have this dissonant effect, but this dissonance is often very necessary (or perhaps unavoidable is a better word). Hitler's evil regime would have run a very different course if conflict over what he was doing hadn't arisen.

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Give me an example of a spiritual practice say between Buddhism and Christianity that is contradictory in practice to the degree that it would be seen as unacceptable or affective to the other relgion in some way?
Are you saying you can't think of any examples yourself?

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I assert that it is very possible to have many religions, they can all get along...all be right...that is, as long as at the base of the religion they respect the dignity and self worth of human beings. Ten commandments are a good start along those lines for Judeo-Christian faith.
Certainly, I think there is a place for being willing to put up with, or tolerate, another's mistaken thinking or erroneous beliefs. I think perhaps more than any other religion Christianity holds to a view of respect for all people and valuing each person highly as a creation of God. Doing this, however, doesn't mean we can't disagree strongly with those who believe and think things we understand to be false. There is no biblical grounds for a Christian to impose his views by force on others, but he may certainly loudly proclaim them.

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however, my "religious belief" structure allows for this. I understand that others have a much stricter definition and will say things such as "If you do not accept Jesus as your savior...then you are going to hell." Which, at the base level, I have no issue with that belief, that is, until it gets translated into "we're right...your wrong".
But if you don't believe that accepting Jesus as your Saviour means you're going to Hell, either you are right and the Christian is wrong, or vice versa. Someone here is wrong, whether or not it is plainly stated.

But I really love Aikido and all the wonderful people across whose path my practice has taken me. Hurrah for Aikido! *looks sheepishly at Jun*

Jon.

Last edited by Jonathan : 12-11-2009 at 03:36 PM.

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Old 12-11-2009, 03:37 PM   #38
Janet Rosen
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

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Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
No, this is far too vague a definition for me. I appreciate the ecumenical motive for it, but the definition is so open that it becomes somewhat meaningless. God, in my view is not an amorphous "origin" or an impersonal "function of the universe." What I understand to be spirituality wouldn't make sense if He were. I can see, though, how such a definition would suit an atheistic perspective very well.
And I have no problem with or arguement about how spirituality is defined for you, by you. At its essence, these are deeply personal matters.

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Old 12-11-2009, 04:58 PM   #39
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

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Being wrong in some way isn't the same as being wrong in every way. Not knowing everything doesn't mean you can't be sure of some things.
Correct, which is why I attempted to make the distinction by using the term "absolute."

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I don't mean to sound rude, but how can you speak coherently about spiritual experience when you have no idea what it is?
If I ever said I have "no idea" what it is I'm sure I meant in the absolute sense. My spirituality is heavily rooted in my agnosticism so my standard answer to most matters on the ultimate truth on spirituality is "I don't know," but as you said above, that's not to say I don't know anything. I've had what seemed like spiritual experiences, some of which were even tied directly to my Aikido practice (sorry to get side-tracked, Jun).
Which brings me back to where I started with the idea that mundane activities (like doing 100 sword cuts) might serve a spiritual purpose.

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Old 12-11-2009, 08:25 PM   #40
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

I would love to make further comments on what people have said and clarify my own view more, but I want to respect Jun's admonition, which means I'll say no more here on this matter.

Thanks to all of you for the very interesting exchanges!

Jon.

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Old 12-11-2009, 08:42 PM   #41
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Jonathan wrote:

Quote:
Okay. This is very "live and let live" and I appreciate the peaceful intent of this kind of thinking. I would ask you, though, what difference it makes to you (if any), if what someone else believes sincerely and deeply is just plain false. Is it appropriate to point out the falsity of a belief, or is it better in your view simply to let a person go on in their mistaken notions?
It only really makes a difference to me when their view point begins to affect someone else negatively in some way. I personally think this is something as a society that we need to be very cognizant of.

That is, how our thoughts, words, and deeds affect ourselves and others.

I feel very strongly that this is a big part of aikido philosophy and the concept of "universality" that aikido represents.

Quote:
Should truth take a back seat to peace? Ignoring truth for the sake of peace is potentially a very destructive practice, don't you think? Imagine a lawyer who took this tack in court; or a journalist who wrote in accordance with this view. Would you want to be convicted of a crime you didn't commit because your lawyer didn't want to fight for the truth of your innocence? Would you want to read the work of a journalist who refused to report the awful truth because it was upsetting and might arouse conflict?
I don't really understand your example about the journalist and lawyer. Sorry.

But to respond on Truth: Whose "truth" yours or theirs?

Nazi's had a very strong belief system and "truths" that were formed about jews and others. That was their truth. Others did not share this truth.

Same with the Inquisition and other "truths". Any truth based on Dogma, I believes only should apply to those who subscribe to that dogma, not to others that do not.

I think there are some basic universal prinicples that are found in all religions that are non-dogmatic and are really the "truths". outside of those, those are the only ones that should appy to all.

Things such as, Treat others as you yourself want to be treated. don't kill, lie, cheat steal...things like that. Things that lead to harm to others.

Once you start going down the path of who, what, when, where, and how...to do things...prescriptive things...then you get into dogma and that is problematic when you try and apply it universally.

I think we really practice this lesson (or should) in our aikido practice.

So as long as you state your position from one of analysis based on harm, then we can talk about things universally. outside of that, I think it is all subject to interpretation and personal belief.

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if you said your car was red and I said it was blue, we would be in contradiction to one another.
yes...okay. Well okay, maybe some things in this perspective are more empirical than others. such as red and blue. But how about what is red and blue to a blind person, or a color blind person...how do you agree on the colors then? does it really matter to them? how does this contradiction impact them?

I think the debate is not so much over the color as it is over "I believe red is the right color and blue is the wrong color".

Or that "that tree is God" vice "no it is just a tree".

Again, I go back to causation of harm. How does the belief or non-belief impact the other. Why can't it be BOTH god and not god?

Although I do believe perceptions do matter and having the right one can make a big difference. I love the friend or foe drill we do in aikido sometimes. You know when someone approaches and you have to make a decision if he is going to hit you or shake your hand. How do you get at the "truth" here? how do you boil it down to such a simple thing that you can actually tell what the truth is behind what uke will do?

But, I think this is a different discussion than spirituality as it deals with the concept of intent...that is the intent to be friendly or to cause harm. A very important concept to link with religion as I believe we should always consider if good intent is present or not when someone is working from a religous/dogmatic decision framework.

i.e. do missionaries really care about helping people, or is it a mechanisim for prostelyzation? and has religion helped or harmed indigenious cultures throughout history?

I am not passing judgement on anything in particular, just asking the question in general as I believe it to be important.

I think in many instances intention was/is to help, but in actuality it may not.

I think philosophically, this is also a big part of increasing our ability to get to the truth of harm in Aikido. Understanding the cause and affects or our actions and the sometimes unintended consequences of them.

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I don't think we should oppress others, nor do I think we have to accept what we believe is wrong as being right simply to suit those who don't agree with us.
I did not mean to imply that you did believe this. and I agree with your statement. Unfortunately, we have legislative representatives that want to keep or pass laws that are opressive to Gays. I fail to see how being permissive on Gay Marriage mean acceptance to them. If you don't believe in Gay Marriage...don't get one.

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Certainly, I think there is a place for being willing to put up with, or tolerate, another's mistaken thinking or erroneous beliefs. I think perhaps more than any other religion Christianity holds to a view of respect for all people and valuing each person highly as a creation of God.
My experiences with many forms of Christianity and the history of the religion in many respects says otherwise. That said, I do not believe that individuals in Christianity all hold these views of course. At a deep level though I personally found that there are some issues I had with most mainline forms that view humans as separate and distinct and not a participant in the divine. Hard to describe here, but I think deep in our pysche it keeps us from having a deep and personal relationship with God and limits our ability to see other possibilities.

I found that the philosophy in AIkido actually helped reconcile alot of this for me.

Sorry, but words like "tolerate" and "erroneous beliefs" make me cringe and I think are a big part of the problem that keeps religions apart, and it is not just Christianity.

I think words like "Acceptance" are a better choice. Why can we not accept that others think differently than we do, and look for the similiarities that they have?

Again, I think this was a big part of the Spiriutal and Philosophical foundations of Aikido...unification, to show that there is room to deeply understand and accept things that we might have at one time thought ot be a threat.

Toleration is very low level. Acceptance is a higher level I believe.

Quote:
There is no biblical grounds for a Christian to impose his views by force on others, but he may certainly loudly proclaim them.
Okay, I might agree that the Bible does not impose this, but certainly history has seen Societies us the Bible and Christianity to impose force on others both economically, idealogoical, polictical, militarily, and dimplomatically "In the name of Jesus".

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But if you don't believe that accepting Jesus as your Saviour means you're going to Hell, either you are right and the Christian is wrong, or vice versa. Someone here is wrong, whether or not it is plainly stated
I dunno....I suppose that depends on your definition and perception of hell. I have met a few folks that are alive and I would submit that they are living in hell already and suffering greatly due to their own actions. I have also met others that have acheived a high level of happiness and have reached heaven/nirvana on earth.

Who imposes and dictates the 5Ws of what hell should be?

anyway...yea...we are a litte off the topic I suppose...but a good conversation to have over the root of spiritualism.

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Old 12-11-2009, 09:06 PM   #42
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Wow...it has been a while since I checked the forums. I'll just put the lid back on the can of worms

Happy training everyone!

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Old 12-11-2009, 11:59 PM   #43
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Spirituality of my aikido.

Well, it's time to sleep and I haven't even finished reading what has been posted. (sorry all!) I feel like we may have been making some headway in establishing a common ground to discuss "spirituality of Aikido," but as Jun points out, maybe we don't need common ground. I suppose each person's post could be prefaced with what they mean by "spiritual." Thus each post will be longer-- but the thread may be more straightforward!

So: when I use the word, I mean this (slightly ammended, and added the word "positive" because I generally agree with what Jon said about the polarity of the relationship in question):
Spirituality here = having to do with a positive appreciation of the discovery of a relationship of one's self with the origins or ongoing functioning of the seemingly unrelated greater reality.

My aikido as of more than a year has been solo training. You could say I have been exploring the harmonious relationship of my mind and body with the ongoing (seemingly eternal) physical efforts of heaven and earth. (Gravity represents an unwavering "mandate from heaven" so to speak-- all masses must be accelerated downwards at 1 g. The earth provides an inexhaustible creativity in response-- it always pushes back up on any force exerted on it, in exact opposition.)

Yet these 2 forms of "universal ki" can never meet except through a vessel. I am that vessel and when I purify out my undue stresses, I can once in a while very cleanly allow heaven and earth to unify inside my body in a special way, and it is an amazing thing. It requires not mere "relaxation" (lack of mind) but a concentrated intent that is in line with heaven, earth, and the tissues of my human body. Thus presence of mind is also a requirement.

So, my human mind and body form a vessel that allows universal complements to come together constructively. I think that fits my definition above. (though I haven't talked about origins or shared roots, just eternal interaction)
Just a bit of what I have been feeling lately. Would love to try to move beyond solo training and being some of this "spirituality" to an attacker!

What I was getting at before was-- I really do think that the nature of what I am celebrating here is present within the words "spirituality" and "god" in some other belief systems, so I really wish we could all talk about what is the same in the core of our belief systems as opposed to drawing lines. (ie if another system uses a word like "god," could the deeper meanings within that word be unpacked to reveal a strong congruence with what I just said? wouldn't that be interesting?)
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:38 AM   #44
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

One more post, I can't resist. I read what I just wrote and I don't think the spirituality really came across-- I think words don't say it very well. I could probably write a book, and even if it was a good book, and you read it every night, it probably wouldn't come through. It must be experienced first-hand.

So, if I can't say it, maybe what I don't say, but leave hanging, can be more powerful-- here:

I am an athiest, and I believe when we die, our whole being is extinguished. I don't beileve there is a power or being judging us, and I don't believe good or evil are anything but subjective perceptions of beings like humans.
But, isn't this interesting, and of value for exploration: through my aikido practice, the following concepts are becoming real (not just defined and understood, but experienced) for me:
-divinity
-sin
-forgiveness
-afterlife
-sacrament (and the preparation thereof!)

Isn't it weird? Yes, even afterlife, that's a new one for me. But it is less literal-- I say "after" but I also believe that aiki can transcend space and time, so in a sense I don't really mean after I guess. Maybe I need a better word (eternal-life?), but I am just starting to think about some things. I haven't even felt some things yet, just considering them before I do. Maybe that's "faith" needing to be on the above list!

I'm really not kooky either, I am a scientist and when I say things I mean very specific, real things.
It's just sometimes they are weird things, and they can be interpreted a little bit, when we talk about how such weird things are perceived.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:50 AM   #45
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Darn it, Kevin, your posts tempt me severely to respond!

Okay. I'll say a little more and try to tie it in to Aikido training.

Quote:
It only really makes a difference to me when their view point begins to affect someone else negatively in some way. I personally think this is something as a society that we need to be very cognizant of.
This is the point, more or less, that I was making with my questions to you about the lawyer and journalist. If they hold the (mistaken) view that peace is more important than truth, then people suffer. And this is often the consequence of believing something to be true when it is not.

Even if someone else's mistaken view of what is true does not affect you directly, there is a place, I think, for telling them the truth (even if they don't want to hear it). For example, imagine passing a house with its roof completely engulfed in flames. You can see through the front window of the house that there are people inside. They are sitting calmly, talking together, oblivious to the terrible danger above them. Now, according to what you've stated above, you would simply pass on by since the mistaken belief these people have that they are perfectly safe doesn't affect you directly. Is this right? Would you do such a thing?

Quote:
But to respond on Truth: Whose "truth" yours or theirs?
Truth is not subjective. The yellow house cannot be pink for you and green for me. The yellow color of the house is an objective reality, a truth, that is independent of an individual's personal preference or opinion. And truth is naturally exclusive. If the dog is black, it is not brown, or white, or blue, or any other color. If the treasure is buried beneath the oak tree in the northwest corner of your yard, it is not buried anywhere else. 2 + 2 = 4, not 6, 20, or any other number. So, then, there is no your truth and my truth, as though truth alters and shifts from person to person, but only the truth, which is typically very narrow and exclusive. Imagine if mathematics operated on the premise that there is no objective mathematical truth, if there was, instead, mathematicians going around saying to each other, "Well, 6 + 6 = 12 might be true for you, but it isn't true for me!" The consequence would be absolute chaos and confusion in the realm of mathematics!

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Nazi's had a very strong belief system and "truths" that were formed about jews and others. That was their truth. Others did not share this truth.
Having a strong belief about something makes it true? Really?

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Any truth based on Dogma, I believes only should apply to those who subscribe to that dogma, not to others that do not.
Real truth is never based on dogma; truth exists independently of dogma. Very often, it is the source of dogma, as in the case of various branches of science.

Quote:
Once you start going down the path of who, what, when, where, and how...to do things...prescriptive things...then you get into dogma and that is problematic when you try and apply it universally.
Is this universally true? Are you saying this dogmatically?

Quote:
I think we really practice this lesson (or should) in our aikido practice.
What do you mean when you say, "shihonage" or "kotegeashi" or "tenkan"? If a student is poking someone in the eye and saying, "This is shihonage," or kicking someone in the groin and saying, "This is kotegaeshi," or running around the room flapping his arms like a chicken saying, "This is tenkan," do you agree? Do you refuse to be dogmatic and prescriptive about what these things are and mean and let him have his own "truth" about these techniques? Or do you say, "Poking someone in the eye is not shihonage. Correct shihonage is done this way."?

Quote:
So as long as you state your position from one of analysis based on harm, then we can talk about things universally. outside of that, I think it is all subject to interpretation and personal belief.
So, this is just your interpretation, then? Just your personal belief? If so, why should I give it any weight or authority? Why should I believe it is true? As a position not arising from an "analysis based on harm," it has no universal merit, right?

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But how about what is red and blue to a blind person, or a color blind person...how do you agree on the colors then? does it really matter to them? how does this contradiction impact them?
Do you know what a "red herring" is? If not, you can see a classic example of one in these questions you're asking.

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I think the debate is not so much over the color as it is over "I believe red is the right color and blue is the wrong color".
Not as far as I'm concerned. Whether you're blind, or color blind, or fully sighted, a blue car is a blue car and a red car is a red car. This is a simple matter of fact, not opinion. One's inability to perceive color does not change the reality of the car's color.

Quote:
Again, I go back to causation of harm. How does the belief or non-belief impact the other. Why can't it be BOTH god and not god?
Because such thinking is illogical, irrational, and unreasonable. This kind of thinking creates confusion, chaos, and ultimately and inevitably, destruction. No man is an island; the effect of the irrationality of one person is never perfectly confined to just that one person.

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do missionaries really care about helping people, or is it a mechanisim for prostelyzation?
Why does your question assume the two things are mutually exclusive?

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and has religion helped or harmed indigenious cultures throughout history?
Both, I think.

Quote:
My experiences with many forms of Christianity and the history of the religion in many respects says otherwise. That said, I do not believe that individuals in Christianity all hold these views of course.
If you want to understand what Christianity should look like, what it should be, simply look at Christ. He sets the standard for how Christians ought to behave. When Christians do not behave like Christ, they are not succeeding, but failing, as Christians.

Quote:
Sorry, but words like "tolerate" and "erroneous beliefs" make me cringe and I think are a big part of the problem that keeps religions apart, and it is not just Christianity.

I think words like "Acceptance" are a better choice. Why can we not accept that others think differently than we do, and look for the similiarities that they have?
It is completely possible to accept that another person has a different view from one's own and look for some common ground with him/her and at the same time tolerate his/her erroneous beliefs. Accepting that a person has different beliefs than one's own does not necessarily involve embracing those differing beliefs. Especially if the other person's differing views are utterly fallacious, it is irrational (if not dangerous) to accept those views as true or legitimate. But rejecting these false views does not mean one should reject the one who holds them. Not at all. Acceptance and toleration are not mutually exclusive, or at opposite ends of a spectrum. In fact, I think they are directly related. If I refuse to accept someone simply as another human being with inherent value, I will most certainly not tolerate those things they believe that I think are wrong.

Quote:
Again, I think this was a big part of the Spiriutal and Philosophical foundations of Aikido...unification, to show that there is room to deeply understand and accept things that we might have at one time thought ot be a threat.

Toleration is very low level. Acceptance is a higher level I believe.
Low or high level what? Aikido?

To come full circle: Do I believe Aikido has anything spiritual to offer? Not really. But it does have some excellent philosophical, relational and physical principles to teach. I did not come to Aikido looking for something spiritual and after more than twenty years of fruitful, enjoyable training am no more interested in what "spirituality" Aikido has to offer than when I began. Can others have spiritual experiences in practicing Aikido? I believe they think they have such experiences, but what they typically describe sounds to me like nothing more than very self-focused, positive, emotional highs. The word "transcendent" is used sometimes in describing these moments of strong positive emotion, but these spiritual experiences almost never are truly "transcendent" - merely intensely pleasant and/or introspective. These spiritual experiences also do not usually involve a divine being that is not essentially a construct or mirror of the individual's own preferences and opinions. When many people speak of what is divine, then, in these "spiritual" moments, the word "divine" is actually self-referential. But how spiritual can an experience be when it is fundamentally self-worship? Not very, in my view.

Well, its 2 am and I'm too tired to think anymore.

Thanks again for all the very stimulating dialogue!

This really will be my last kick at the can.

Jon.

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Old 12-13-2009, 02:57 PM   #46
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

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Can others have spiritual experiences in practicing Aikido? I believe they think they have such experiences, but what they typically describe sounds to me like nothing more than very self-focused, positive, emotional highs.
Are you saying here that others cannot have spiritual experiences in practicing Aikido? You suggest that which is usually experienced is little more than good feelings. Perhaps you could describe an authentic spiritual experience so I can see the difference?
I think this is the subjective truth Kevin is pointing to. There may be one subjective reality, but all human perception is somewhat subjective in nature, and without objective proof, we're left with individual perceptions on the reality of the divine.

Quote:
The word "transcendent" is used sometimes in describing these moments of strong positive emotion, but these spiritual experiences almost never are truly "transcendent" - merely intensely pleasant and/or introspective.
I'm curious what your frame of reference is to allow you this kind of knowledge. My understanding is that no one has any way of substantiating another's experience as to whether or not it's spiritual in nature so I'm curious how you can make what sounds like a pretty large presumption.

Quote:
But how spiritual can an experience be when it is fundamentally self-worship? Not very, in my view.
Since I can't speak for any experiences other than my own, I'd just like to add that I don't worship myself. I'm pretty awesome sometimes, but my awe tends to go toward something much larger than myself; something which appears transcendent and interconnected and universal. But that could all be delusion for all I know (don't know what I don't know, after all). Hopefully God is forgiving should I make a mistake.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 12-13-2009 at 03:05 PM.

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Old 12-14-2009, 09:04 PM   #47
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

This thread is becoming a pissing match.... how aiki!
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:16 PM   #48
David Board
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
This thread is becoming a pissing match.... how aiki!
Projecting their ...ki. Yep, that's it

[I'm new so it's a new joke to me. I have a strong feeling it's older than well the one about the chicken and the road and not half as funny. However I will enjoy it for moment.]
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:20 PM   #49
RED
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
David Board wrote: View Post
Projecting their ...ki. Yep, that's it

[I'm new so it's a new joke to me. I have a strong feeling it's older than well the one about the chicken and the road and not half as funny. However I will enjoy it for moment.]
Everyone's ki is leaking
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:43 PM   #50
David Board
Dojo: Aikido of Reno
Location: Reno/NV
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Re: Spirituality of aikido?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Everyone's ki is leaking
My wife is a yoga teacher she has a series of exercises that strength your, um, internal power that might help this situation. Depends if your looking for an external solution or a more internal one, kegel.
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