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Old 02-02-2005, 12:46 AM   #1
wxyzabc
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Spiritual Experience

I wondered if someone has ever had, or know of anyone having a genuine spiritual experience on the mat?

Many thanks

Lee
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Old 02-02-2005, 02:20 AM   #2
xuzen
 
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Re: Spiritual Experience

Hi Lee,

I guess you may have to a little precise with the question, Genuine spiritual experience. If your definition is seeing the supernatural (e.g divine kami or deities) then I have to say NO. If your definition is seeing balls of light or lines of light ala The Matrix, then my answer is also NO.

However, my nearest experience that I can define as Genuine spiritual experience is as follow:-

As tori/shite/nage
When you throw someone and completely feel no resistant, but the uke is thrown forcefully. I completely went through the technique as though uke wasn't there, but he/she did take some heavy fall. I remember these situation when I did sokumen iriminage and iriminage technique a while back.

As uke
Sometimes when I am uke for sensei, I will attack very aggressively. I recall once I did tanto shomenuchi at very aggressive pace. There was no rehearsal, and I have no clue what sensei will do. I vaguely remember he did a variation of irimi-zuki and the next instance I was on the floor. I did not feel anything except me slamming on the mat. There was no touch at all. Maybe it was my conditioned reflex that allows me to just drop to avoid the atemi. Or maybe it was a no touch throw?

Anyhow, I was enlightened to see how easy it was to drop someone especially in dynamic motion.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 02-02-2005, 07:53 AM   #3
gasman
 
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Re: Spiritual Experience

When I was a beginner (6 months or so) I got a hit from sensei. Whether or not I deserved it, is another matter, but I felt so angry and alive at the same time, my vision improved drastically and I had a realisation about aikido that very moment. And the test of that moment was to control my anger.

Definitely the most clearly defined turning point for my aikido training.
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Old 02-02-2005, 08:46 AM   #4
Greg Jennings
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Re: Spiritual Experience

I don't think that I've had a "spiritual experience".

OTOH, I'm not very social and am prone to spend time alone in intellectual pursuits. Aikido, especially when I had to take over the dojo, forced me to interact with people and, sometimes, to deal with difficult people and situations.

I know that I'm much the better for it. OTOH, I'm also know that there are many other vehicles that would have served just as well.

Best regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 02-02-2005, 10:04 AM   #5
John Boswell
 
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Re: Spiritual Experience

During practice one night, probably a year ago, I was working on shihonage with a classmate. Over and over we'd practice.

One particular instance, I had "no mind" as some japanese might say. I just did the technique. As I executed the cut-down, I had the most incredible sensation of energy. It was literally Wave-like. Slowly it was building all the way from the ground, my feet, up my legs and hips... all the while it became more and more focused. Through my chest, shoulders, arms and hands... there was nothing the uke could do to stop me and I could feel the technique explode and plant the uke on the ground.

The look on my uke's face was complete shock as he got up off the floor.

I can't duplicate that moment at will, but I look forward to the day I feel it again. And I'm sure I'll recognize it when it returns.

Good stuff!

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Old 02-02-2005, 01:54 PM   #6
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Spiritual Experience

Certainly there are times I look back as benchmarks over my years of training, things that happened, situations, and people I have bonded with. For me it has not been a momentary "oh that this is spiritual" revelation.

Sometimes months or years later I look back on something, or remember something I learned or experienced and relect upon it as a point in time that I grew as a human. To me this is what a spiritual experience is about.

That said, everyday I wake up, meditate, or train tends to be spiritual in nature...but I think that is a mindset. Personally I don't subscribe to something supernatural or outside influence affecting you without your presence. To me spiritual is something you do or feel yourself caused by you.

Again, to me ephipanies are the event of cumulative habits!
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Old 02-02-2005, 07:47 PM   #7
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Spiritual Experience

It was overcast, the morning of my last test. When I got up to bow in, the sun came out! Suddenly the dojo was suffused with light, just like in that Kurosawa film about the Judoka. The only thing missing was the giant lotus! And I had a fabulous test!

Jeanne
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Old 02-03-2005, 12:10 AM   #8
Sue Hammerich
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Re: Spiritual Experience

It was my first day on the mat. I had a long day at work, a long drive to the dojo, a bad back..yada yada yada. I stepped out onto the mat, with these people who had known each other for some time, and who knew what they were doing, and here I am, this uncoordinated goof. But I, this uncoordinated goof, felt SO at home, SO comfortable with there people and their energy, and the energy of the dojo. It was amazing - I felt so connected, they made me feel part of them, and all that they knew, and part of THEIR history of Aikido and the history of Aikido itself. It was truly numinous.

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Old 02-03-2005, 12:51 AM   #9
stuartjvnorton
 
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Re: Spiritual Experience

I was at a seminar for Takeno Sensei.
We were practising shomen uchi kote gaeshi ichi, and he came around to show us.
He takes my hand quite lightly, no momentum going into the move. Then the world turns & I'm on the mat.
No pain, pressure, even feeling at all. I didn't even see him move.

I'll never forget that moment, and I'll probably spend the rest of my life chasing it.
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Old 02-12-2005, 01:57 PM   #10
Dillon
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Re: Spiritual Experience

Spiritual experience, as opposed to everyday life? No. Why would anything be different than anything else?
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Old 02-12-2005, 05:31 PM   #11
Mark Freeman
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Re: Spiritual Experience

Quote:
Dillon Beyer wrote:
Spiritual experience, as opposed to everyday life? No. Why would anything be different than anything else?
Hi Dillon

I like your question, and respect your answer, however the last sentence leaves me perplexed. How can we function without constanly monitoring the differences in everything we come across, including spiritual experience?

I agree that people can have a spiritual experience at anytime in any situation, Aikido is not neccessary, however perhaps when we practice we get glimpses of how it is possible to experience the world in a more 'enlightened' way.

regards,

Mark
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Old 02-13-2005, 04:11 AM   #12
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Spiritual Experience

The other day i was taking irimi nage ukemi for sensei. He just kept going harder and harder and faster and faster and was coming close to hitting me in the face. During one of the techniques he sent me down all the way to the ground on his entry. And somehow i just "felt" his hand coming toward the bridge of my nose and just moved with it, perfectly. His hand was no farther than 5 milimetres from my nose the entire movement. I felt as if I the uke, was finally starting to react to and "sense" sensei's movement rather than just getting knocked down from surprise or from technique, as if i was fully connected and working with him perfectly, nothing too much, nothing too little, not working for him, or against him, just working WITH him (if that makes any sense). I can't wait till all my ukemi is like that.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:49 AM   #13
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Spiritual Experience

Quote:
Dillon Beyer wrote:
Spiritual experience, as opposed to everyday life? No. Why would anything be different than anything else?

There is a wise ole adage that goes, "Wake up, insert head in anus, and continue as if it were yesterday."

Enlightenment is a three-step process. The first step begins with a "POP" and a blinding light. That is the sound of the head coming out of the anus when one is awake, and the blinding light is what one would experience should they see themselves for the first time. The second step is to understand what to do once the shock wares off. The third stage is developing compassion for your fellow man because of the new-found understanding that they, too live in a perpetual state of head-inserted-in-anus, but even more so for yourself. That is because just a moment after enlightenment, human nature forces us to insert it back in for fear of confronting the emotional baggage that comes with a lifetime of somnambulistic mediocrity, or self-serving moralistic postulating, not that this describes you, or anyone else on the board, here at Aikiweb. Perhaps we can all mention it to that other guy we know, the one we see in the mirror when brushing our teeth after waking up.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 02-19-2005, 02:25 AM   #14
Chad Scott
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Re: Spiritual Experience

The closest spiritual experience I've had:

I had injured my elbow pretty badly and had to wrap it extensively before each practice. A sensei was giving me pointers on shomen-uchi ikkyo, and he grabbed my wrist and injured elbow and (unknowingly?) transferred some kind of energy during the move and totally healed my elbow. I didn't hear a pop or feel any pain; it must have been his ki force. I didn't feel any pressure either.

I had been going to the therapist for weeks and was making very little progress until then. Amazing!
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Old 02-19-2005, 03:28 PM   #15
Anders Bjonback
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Re: Spiritual Experience

For me, spiritual means a process of personal change and growth. One time at a noon class, someone said to me, "You're more confrontational on the mat then you are off of it." I realized that is true, and I'm being exposed to the part of myself that wants to succeed, that wants to throw the other person. So if I grow in understanding that, I guess it could be spiritual. And if I continue working with that part of myself, and if I start doing aikido without forcing things, then that would probably influence my life in some way or another.

"For peace and happiness are presences, not objects we can grasp and hold onto."
--Lilian Smith
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Old 02-19-2005, 06:22 PM   #16
bkedelen
 
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Re: Spiritual Experience

I was at a bar in Glenwood Springs Colorado and Saotome sensei says to me "punch me in the face". You can guess the rest.
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Old 02-23-2005, 12:31 AM   #17
shino yonei
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Re: Spiritual Experience

Interesting. Various understandings of Spiritual Experience. I'm interested in this.
My favourite dojo strives towards a spiritual type of aikido as possible, so creates opportunities on the mat to really sensitise you to the aspects beyond the physical - feeling the ki dynamics between you and your partner as a mental aspect; then on the spiritual aspect, opening your heart to your partner and loving them, embracing them as they are attacking; emptying yourself to become one with the universe, thereby abolishing any such thing as "other", or "separateness", thus making it impossible to compete, be jealous, fear or hate your partner. As one akidoka described in the discussion, you end up wrorking WITH your partner - your are actually embracing your partner not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.

(I have to state at this point that these are thoughts that are based on what my teacher taught me.)

When you begin with a spiritual focus, I find that aikido becomes a beautiful, flowing energy of love, and you just feel joyful training. The physical movements become incidental, not the focus. The state of your heart becomes the all-important thing - and you are training to open and free your heart. As supports to this, you train to calm and focus your mind, and streamline your physical movements to match.

Then this is how aikido can be part of daily life - all aikido is, is one of many paths or vehicles that people can choose to take in order to become more beautiful, loving spirits.

Of course, the majority of aikidoka would dismiss this point of view as a wishy-washy, idealistic view of what is a "self defence martial art". Different people are at different stages and have to learn different things even while doing the same art, so this is understandable.

To answer the question, I have never had what I would call a spiritual experience on the mat, which I could put down to one event, but I strive towards that at every training opportunity at the dojo in Wellington, as I know several people there that have. Similar to some of the lightening moves described here.

Go spiritual aikido. We need more love in this world of ours, huh?
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:25 AM   #18
ian
 
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Re: Spiritual Experience

I've had 'enlightenment experiences' in the non-hippy sense of the word i.e. things I have been doing for many years without realising, suddenly (over a period of seconds) made a new kind of sense to me. Also, two times I've been thrown were real dazzaling eye-openers; one was by Yamada, and another by a small female shodan who happened to get the timing absolutely perfect.


Is the mat the place to get the spiritual experiences? I usually go into blank mind mode on the mat.

Last edited by ian : 02-23-2005 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 02-23-2005, 10:04 AM   #19
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Re: Spiritual Experience

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
Is the mat the place to get the spiritual experiences? I usually go into blank mind mode on the mat.

It could be said, instead of "blank mind" -beginners mind. Empty mind.
Open mind.
Inclusive mind.
Mindful mind.

If your mind isn't what's moving you, then possibly it is Spirit.In my dojo we call it "It".When I am open to "It" technique flows smoothly, when my mind is prevalent, technique goes all to heck.So to me, every "effortless" technique I can manage is a Spiritual experience.

Q
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Old 02-23-2005, 01:00 PM   #20
Janet Rosen
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Re: Spiritual Experience

Each time I'm able to shed fear, concern about how I look/feel/"perform", anticipation of what will or might happen, and simply be with my training partner in the present, it is a spiritual experience.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 02-23-2005, 11:11 PM   #21
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Spiritual Experience

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
Each time I'm able to shed fear, concern about how I look/feel/"perform", anticipation of what will or might happen, and simply be with my training partner in the present, it is a spiritual experience.
I like this very much. I know so many people associate "spiritual" with something outside themselves or something extraordinary. But the experience of being most yourself comes from just being truely present, accepting yourself, accepting your partner, allowing the technique to "become" what it needs to become... I think that many Aikido students have have this experience at some time or other, maybe more often as they've progressed. This is certainly what I would call a spiritual experience. "Chop wood, carry water" is one of the old Zen sayings to describe this "ordinariness" of the spiritual.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Aikido Eastside
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Old 02-24-2005, 09:33 AM   #22
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Re: Spiritual Experience

IMHO, I once again agree with Sensei Ledyard, your everyday experience is genuinely spiritual, in and out of the Dojo. But don't look too hard or you will miss it.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-12-2005, 06:48 PM   #23
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Spiritual Experience

Quote:
Chad Scott wrote:
I had injured my elbow pretty badly and had to wrap it extensively before each practice. A sensei was giving me pointers on shomen-uchi ikkyo, and he grabbed my wrist and injured elbow and (unknowingly?) transferred some kind of energy during the move and totally healed my elbow. I didn't hear a pop or feel any pain; it must have been his ki force. I didn't feel any pressure either.

I had been going to the therapist for weeks and was making very little progress until then. Amazing!
A couple of months ago my shoulder, which is more or less chronically a problem, was acting up again. I got a massage, tried sleeping differently, etc. but it just wasn't relaxing. After a couple of days, my Sensei (tired of my hunched back?) called me up for ukemi and threw me into a large highfall. Smack! He patted my back and said with a smile, "Feel better?"

I did. And that shoulder hasn't been a problem since.

-LK
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