My dilemma is how to get this written and still get to class on time...
Couple of thoughts on your (or my, for that matter) pursuit of mushin.
You talked at one point about mushin being "a deliberate attenuation of reasoning." I guess for me (in fact, plese mentally insert the words "for me" liberally throughout the rest of this...) it's more that when I am "thinking" about what I am doing, I am not as completely immersed in what I am doing as I could be. I very concrete example that I mentioned recently on another forum is the traditional training I do in kenjutsu and iaijutsu with live blades. This focusses the attention remarkably well! (although perhaps someone will now start a thread on my mental state). Nevertheless, my point is that were I to begin thinking things like "am I doing this right" or visualizing cutting someone down while practicing these, I will not be able to complete the movements correctly. With live blades, the feedback is fairly unequivocal...
In the vein of all the book recommendations flying around lately, I want to add the book "Flow" to the list (the author's name is - ready for this - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi). Without saying too much about it [gotta go], it describes some of the "zone" experiences talked about above in very pragmatic, "western" terms.
Lastly, Anthony, I had some fun imagining the look on the face of whomever was asking the questions at your test! I had a mental picture of one of the sometimes inflexible test boards from years past- no offense intented to anyone - the standards these boards upheld brought us to where we are today... but anyway, I had this vision of a bunch of folks sitting in a back room somewhere, looking down a list of "acceptable" reasons for training and saying "nope, it's not on here - what the hell do we do now?"