Well due to time constraints, and then not being able to get into the site yesterday, I'm about 40 posts behind. Most of this looks like so many other discussions I've seen, where no matter what anybody says the answer is "I already do that". And then when people actually meet up with someone it turns out to never be the case. I think most of the ki tests are some variant of "relax", and not keeping undue tension while doing various things, which is level 1 stuff. That's fine, but the degree to which these concepts can be developed is amazing. If you've felt it, you know it's so different that these, "yeah it pretty much sounds familiar" discussions just wouldn't happen. There is no question it's a completely different animal, not just a little bit different. All that can be done is to recommend people to go see that you think are representative of a given level of ability, then you can have a common point of reference.
But, to Mike H., apart from recommending teachers that have a high level of this skill for others to go check out (have you done that? If so I may have skimmed past it) this is a discussion forum, so those who hold out hope that more can be conveyed in writing can keep struggling.
I don't count myself in that group, and due to time constraints and other factors I'm seriously hitting the "don't really care" threshold. But since you titled the thread with that hope, how does one take things to advanced levels, in your view? What specific exercises do you recommend as how-to's to develop a high level of this skill? I know what sorts of exercises Rob and Mike recommend, I know what some other practitioners do. I've never seen anyone who knows this stuff that doesn't have a *very* specific regimen to accomplish the body conditioning to do these things. To Chris, saying "it's natural" presupposes that you are talking about the same "it", so the same question. How specifically does one go from the level 1 stuff of relaxation to the storied Ueshiba levels of seemingly effortless expression of power?