Before you start your journey to becoming an expert meditator, it's important to consider some practical aspects. You must enter the stage with stable attention, joy, tranquility and effortless equanimity. As you progress from phase three to four, it may take a long time, but the transition from phase four to five is usually faster, and so on. In stage three, you must establish your intention to focus your introspective attention frequently, before you forget to breathe or fall asleep.
Make corrections as soon as you notice distractions or inattention. The more you understand the stages of meditation and why they occur in the order they do, the faster and more enjoyable your path to happiness and freedom will be. You'll use these initial skills throughout the next three stages of meditation to become a truly skilled meditator. You have mastered this stage when the qualities of samatha persist for many hours after you get up from the cushion. Your intention in stages eight to ten is simply to continue practicing, using skills that are now completely easy. When you have mastered the final stage of meditation, the many positive mental qualities you experience during meditation will be very present even between meditation sessions, so your daily life will be imbued with effortless attention, mindfulness, joy, tranquility and equanimity.
Even if you're an advanced meditator, losing a job, the death of a spouse or a health problem can cause you to return to the early stages of meditation. Although the stages of meditation are presented as a linear path of progress, the practice is not actually developed in such a simple way. You must move through the stages in order without skipping any of them. When you reach stage eight and your meditations are completely simple, it will be clear that you have completed the transition from being a skilled meditator to an expert meditator.