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Aikido was first presented to me as the Way to Union with Ki. With that in mind I'm wondering if a purely physical model of Ki will ever be able to provide a complete picture of that process.
My simplified view, built up over the years, is that I was born into the world fully integrated with the rest of creation and via the process of emergent self awareness and my concurrent socialization as an individual by society, family and friends I was essentially carved out of the whole to assume my role as a distinct person. The emergence of individual forces from a cooling post Big Bang universe is analogous to what I'm attempting to describe. One consequence of my individualization has been the loss of connection with the larger totality of existence that I came into the world with.
O Sensei notes repeatedly (From the Founder's Teachings on AikiWeb):
"…you should let the ki of your thoughts and feelings blend with the Universal."
"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.'"
"…I am the universe."
"You should realize what the universe is and what you are yourself. To know yourself is to know the universe."
My take on the sentiments expressed in the above quotes, and others of Ueshiba I have come across over the years, is that the Way to Union with Ki is the road that will take me back to the connection I had with the universe before I became fully self aware. There is a barrier that isolates me, that endows me with individuality while shutting me off from communion with the larger totality that I can see and ponder but not partake of.
All this leads me to believe that Ki is a complex integrative process that I can partially understand in terms physical theory. But to unite with Ki I am required to experience it on a level that transcends intellectual understanding.