Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?
I agree that you think certain things to get to feelings and then you don't need to think so much anymore.
What had been happening was that I achieved some degree of hiding my structural weaknesses while giving myself a bit more time to think when the action got more and more intense. I used tricks about positioning myself relative to the attacker(s), and all sorts of tricks to set up the situation where I would have more structure than the attacker(s) due to my movement and technique relative to their attacks.
Now I can focus much more on what I consider the absolute (Dan's calls central equilibrium). I currently still find myself thinking through a long check list of where to set my intentions while I "not think" about anything else (other than why this image for this push as opposed to some of the the other images). Eventually, that feeling will be maintained and become second nature requiring no thought. As long as someone with some structure keeps pushing on me and testing me I should be able to feel pretty accurately.
This approach removes all of the other games I had been playing to buy time to think - and the games I had been playing to de-structure other people. So the approach short circuits a lot of wasted effort.
I don't think there is 1 person in Dan's barn who has been training as long as I have, and they are all pretty much better than me - even the guy who has about 1.5 total years of experience. And I'm not terrible; they are just making very good progress - which seems to prove - to me anyway - that they can "feel accurately" with way less foundation (or I should say they probably have much more foundation just way less time into foundation).
Regardless, "just relax" takes on a new meaning when you have a more concrete idea of what's taking over the job of muscular tension. Maybe the phrase should read "just relax movement muscles and set up whatever level of structure you need to manage your internal forces in harmony by means of mental intention". And to do that maybe the phrase "just feel" should be changed to "just think enough to get to the situation where you can just feel by getting past the need for control and attainment of most goals" - which is somewhat ironic as it is a goal in and of itself.