The Universe

One of the things I find fascinating about O’ Sensei’s quotes is the consistent theme of the universe. What was O’Sensei’s preoccupation with the universe? How does this impact the philosophy of Aikido? Below are a few of O’Sensei’s quotes for consideration:

“The secret of aikido is to make yourself become one with the universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this secret holds the universe in him/herself and can say, ‘I am the universe'”

“Aikido is a manifestation of a way to reorder the world of humanity as though everyone were of one family. It’s purpose is to build a paradise right here on earth.”

“You should realize what the universe is and what you are yourself. To know yourself is to know the universe.”

“If anyone tries to fight me, it means that she/he is going to break harmony with the universe, because I am the universe.”

What exactly is O’Sensei referring to as the “Universe”? For arguments sake, let’s say that the universe represents all that there is that we know and everything we don’t know.

Let’s look at the word “Aikido”. The kanji used for “Aikido” seems to assistant us in this understanding. The Kanji “Ai” is translated as joining or merger. Two distinct things merging to become one. The Kanji “Ki” is translated as energy. The kanji is a composite character that join the character for raw rice with other strokes that represent steam rising off the grain as it cooks. The final kanji “Do” is translated as a road or path. Specifically, a way to develop the self or the true self. Toyoda sensei used to refer to this as the original mind.

In the universe, everything is changing. Everything is moving, changing and pure. We have an opportunity merge with this universe not only on the mat but in our daily life. However, as long as we spend more than half our time worrying about our(self), we will find it difficult to merge with someone or something else. To truly experience this vast and limitless universe we must continuingly set aside ourselves and train. To be fully committed to anything in todays society is a rarity. But to BE FULLY committed means to be present to what’s happening now. What’s happening on the mat. What’s happening with your partner and what’s happening inside of ourselves. This is not an easy task by any means. But if you’re serious about Aikido and you’re serious about the philosophy of Aikido beyond the books that stack your nightstand that show that there is more than meets the eye, then be fully present and committed. Do zazen fully. Do your techniques fully. Do seminars fully. Do everything fully and you will experience this merger.

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