To test your progress in meditation and for scientific research into the effects of meditation, consider checking against these physical indicators:
1. Warmth. Heat and energetic pulsations felt in the body. Most easily felt in the palms and fingertips. The heat spreads to the rest of the body and makes the body softer and more comfortable.
2. Warmth and energetic pulsations reach the top of the head. Usually begins from the generator of this heat, the dantian (丹田), up the spine, the neck and finally the scalp.
Depending on your size, the dantian is two or three fingers below the navel and two or three fingers in, deeper into the stomach.
3. The gap between inhalation and exhalation becomes relatively long. Breathing stops for an extended period of time.
4. Pulse stops. The heart does not beat for an extended period of time.
5. Inner breathing begins. It feels like a circular wheel that turns in the cavity behind the dantian (丹田) and tucked close against the lower back.
6. Thoughts (even the most subtle at the said rate of approximately 999 thoughts per second) stop.
7. Insecurity about unable to reach this meditative state again dissipates.
These are physical indicators experienced during the early stages of meditation, compared to the long journey to awakening, that is. Training in developing mastery over physical and mental energy means that you may direct the energy, possibly toward physical healing. Perhaps science will someday prove whether there is any direct link between this type of meditative training and physical restoration.