What is “Spiritual Development?” It is the main focus of Aikido training; that is the development of Ki. Ki has five dimensions which will be discussed later. Outside of these five dimensions of Ki, there is no such thing as internal power. Learning proper mechanics of Aiki movement is only effective once the whole body connectivity of Ki has been realized.
This opens up the deepest dimensions of our sub-conscious mind and leads to personal growth and transformation. When there is no longer any division between yourself and “the world out there,” the wisdom of enlightenment shines through you. Regardless of how this is achieved, spiritual development can only occur by opening up and strengthening the five dimensions of consciousness.
In the words of the late Kisshomaru Ueshiba, “When you have reached a certain level in Aikido, you have already been psychologically transformed.” This doesn’t happen merely by the repetition of kata or basic technique. Kata contains the wisdom of the masters who created it, yet it will not reveal itself to you without great patience and diligent research.
Furthermore, even developing your ki to a high level is not a guarantee of becoming a better person. Everyone starts from a different place and the power of ki can be misused. It is for this reason that the masters of old refused to teach a student until his, or her, character had been observed and proven over a period of time.
Assuming that your intentions are correct and you pursue this path of development, you will encounter continuous difficulty. You will be distracted and the goal will often seem insurmountable. The things that you understand today will be shown to be inferior tomorrow, yet in this way, you will grow daily experiencing both breakthroughs and plateaus.
In the end, the real level of your Aikido will be shown through you clear vision, character, and leadership. Many people become strong through repetition, yet they will never enjoy the fruits of spiritual achievement until they throw this power away and seek out the real meaning of ki in daily life as well as on the mat.