After reading The Mind Illuminated I have more tools to describe my practice. I am at the stage that I can experience several minutes (like 10) of focused attention on the meditation object while maintaining peripheral awareness. I have glimpses of not-self, my responses are of higher quality, and my physiological measurements have shown improvements. My mind is easily distracted by subtle distractions and I can get back to the meditation object (breath) quickly. A couple days ago I had a great afternoon session and within 30 seconds was in a calm state. Halfway through, I intentionally changed my focus to my son who was in the next room and had a conversation with him about what he was doing:
When returning to the breath, the mind slipped very quickly back into a calm, focused attention state. I believe this is what the book describes as the ability to expand awareness to something in peripheral awareness and bring it back to the meditation object. My muse measurement showed this interaction very clearly:
My practice needs to continue until there is focused attention for at least an hour before the next stage is available. If I do my practice all is coming (my yoga teacher used to say that all the time).
Eric is a traveller, hacker, and experimenter who is currently researching how to become a happier, calmer, and more compassionate human being.