I am finding the holiday spirit quite interesting this year. My personal spirituality is of the universal light. Such a simple statement, yes it is true. How can such a thing as spirituality be described in a simple statement? I question that myself. For one, there is the individual perspective of spirituality. Then, of course, as one has an idea about spirituality, it may happen to be of a particular group perspective. Some beliefs may be of a group that has more followers than others, or less followers than others or there may be non-believers(or antagonists to societal norms). I feel that those that wish to chose what they believe, how they believe, or whether or not to believe is entirely up to the individual.
I have had religion, belief and worship in my life. It started when I was very young and has continued (sporadically) until this day. Along the road I have questioned everything as it has been portrayed to me. This is normal to me and I accept it as so.
Although the practice of Aikido is presented to me in a non-spiritual way, Aikido has ultimately enhanced my spirituality in a way that I am not quite sure how to describe. The practice of Aikido is for me, not a religious venture. From what I read on the internet, there are those that describe their spirituality specifically in relation to their practice of Aikido. That is o.k. to me. Those that can pinpoint the spiritual aspect of themselves by practicing Aikido, I can relate to on a certain level. Aikido may be that venue, albeit, so can Judaism and all of its denominations, Chrisitianity and all of its denominations and Islam and all of its denominations. Or, whatever Eastern religions or beliefs out there that may exist. How can I question what one is to believe to be spiritual?
I sat through a Roman Catholic sermon today. It is not unfamiliar to me, as I attended catholic high school, but I am not catholic. But the priest gave a wonderful speech about humanity. He asked that everyone look at someone nearby or close by, and describe what their faces looked like. He continued, and said that one may see the superficial aspects of the facial attributes and be able to describe those attributes. This, is of course, a description of someone that you don't really know personally. However, if one were to be asked to describe someone in which one had a close or intimate relationship, the description may offer more detail about the individual. Such as: she is really struggling with her relationship with her child, or anything else that can come to mind about that individual, but on a more personal level.
Then the sermon examined, questioned or enlightened(whichever one may view it), about what the face of their worship may actually look like. This particular face, as explained, may look very different from that person that one sits next to, and may actually take on the light of all that is destructive and evil in the world, i.e., abuse and war. That face, as terrible and horrific as it may be, reveals the suffering of those in this world and is as real as the kind gentle face of the neighbor next to you. What does the face of humanity look like? The glory and the pain.
Where does my practice of Aikido fit in to all of this?
I practice Aikido on the mat at our dojo. There are many different types of people that practice with me. We are all friends, old and new. I don't think about who believes in what. We all gather to practice Aikido and have fun. In order for us to connect with one another and perform a technique to a level in which it "feels correct"(a misconception in most cases, for me), the humanity of the individual(s) reveals itself. This, to me, is the true spirit of Aikido and the source of what Ueshiba intended in his creation of this art form.
Let us not seek the path to peace and love, for it is there for us to see in many forms, presently.