Re: 6 Directions
I am with Cady and Lee.
From what I've been working on, 6 directions is based on the concept of tensegrity, a structure based upon tension. Bucky balls. The mechanic is resistant to compression or expansion pressure. It also has a natural tendency to distribute percussion through the structure to some extent.
The idea [I think] is to create structural integrity through the imagery/intent of "pulling" your key body points in 6 directions to create tensile pressure. As best as I can tell, in the beginning we use cardinal directions to help the imagery. Advanced imagery does not rely on either axis directions or linear restrictions.
The intent to create a tensile body does not appear to be the same as the consciousness of awareness. I reserve the right to change my opinion. In fact, in the beginning we noticed a distinct lack of awareness when focusing on creating our shapes. We had difficulty feeling if our partner was even pushing, let alone a qualitative sense. This observation indicating that the two are not the same as we could have some level of structure with no awareness, or greater awareness with no structure.
As a point of comment, six directions v. universal presence seems to be one of those "lost in translations" that maybe gave us a bit of mis-direction. I think Chris had a blog/facebook/something on this a while back. From what I remember, six directions is sometimes a reference to a larger imagery... I have several books myself that "being the universe" probably meant , "think six directions" or some such thing. I reserve the right to be wrong. However, given that issue it may not be clear when O Sensei was speaking literally or figuratively, especially if we understand being one with the universe as a comment about zanshin.