My mind/body coordination in the context of Aikido is revealing itself to be both increasingly complex and subtle as I delve deeper into my study. I was taught that my mind leads my body. Seems simple enough on the surface, my mind says "go there" and my body goes there. No problem, my mind leads my body.
There is a problem though. As soon as I enter into an interaction with my partner my mind ceases to issue orders. There is no "go there" or "do this" or "watch out for that" or "ah ha, yokomen, how about executing a shihonage?" or anything else. My conscious mind simply goes silent. The everyday mind/body duality vanishes and my coordinated mind/body meets and interacts with my partner according to the dictates of the situation. When my mind and body are coordinated there's no need for conscious thought before action; it's as though my consciousness becomes distributed throughout my body at a cellular level, like the group mind of the Borg from Star Trek only limited to just me. My body simultaneously initiates movement as it reacts to the movement of my partner without any conscious guidance or directives. The short version of this state is called correct feeling.
How I go about coordinating mind and body has to do with the differing natures of both. My physical body is always in the moment, at now. My awareness of the state and location of my body is always slightly behind the actuality of both due to the time required for the processing of sensory input. My mind therefore must always slightly lag my body when it comes to their relationships to now. To coordinate mind and body it is necessary for my consciousness to approach now as closely as possible and shrink the lag between sensory input and action. Training, therefore, is a process of honing my skill at approaching now. Coordinating mind and body when seen this way isn't an either you have it or you don't proposition. It becomes obvious that there are degrees of mind/body coordination and that the degree of coordination is dependent upon the speed which I am able to process sensory input. That speed is, in turn, a function of how close to now my consciousness is able to get. The closer my consciousness approaches now, the more I contract my conscious frame of reference and consequently the greater my awareness grows. As my frame of reference contracts I am subjected to less information requiring processing; and since my awareness has been magnified, this information is processed more quickly. Aikido study provides me with a complete syllabus for the development of correct feeling within the context of a martial art. Ki exercises, technique and their corresponding intellectual underpinnings are all designed to integrate mind and body and focus my intent on the goal of correct feeling.
Correct feeling is a state of being. To attain correct feeling and strengthen it has become the core of my practice.