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Curiously, even though I am of the universe rather than in it, I can, on a conscious level remove myself from the universe and ponder its nature and my relationship to it. I think that this is what gives rise to the notion that I am a part of the universe but not necessarily fully integrated within its fabric. I don't remember the awakening of my consciousness, that point at which my individuality asserted itself and began the process of differentiating me from everything else. Perhaps this is because it occurred as a gradual process rather than a sudden explosion of realization.
My earliest recollections of individual awareness go back to when I was 3. Memory, it seems, is the marker for awareness. Prior to that point I have no awareness of my self as myself.
Since I am of the universe, I am it which, in turn, can look out upon what I have created with my minds eye and see itself for what it is. So I am both of and not of the universe; it's a matter of perspective.
Aikido training allows me to home in on my connection to the universe via the practice of technique. The most pervasive characteristic of the universe is motion and Aikido is the study of motion. Aikido technique when executed properly enables me to feel my relation to the larger existence from which I have been cast. The coordination of mind, body and spirit I experience when practicing integrates me with the universe in a way I last experienced when I wasn't aware that I am me. In essence, my study of Aikido has taken me full circle; from connected to separated back to connected. Interesting.