When people practice focused meditation, they usually attend to a chosen sensory or
mental experience, such as breath, image, sound, word or sentence. By doing this, people can cultivate a special attention state, a state that someone intentionally pay attention to the present moment by moment with a nonjudgmental attitude. This special attention state is considered as the main mechanism of many positive effects of meditation practice. Although lots of researches indicated that years or weeks of meditation practice could improve one’s attention and other cognitive function, few studies pay attention to assess the attention state during one practice session. The present study measured the subjective reported attention stability and awareness of meditation novices during two 18 minutes mindfulness meditation practice using the experience sampling method. Besides, the respiratory rates were also recorded. In addition, Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) was used to stand for the mindfulness meditation trait and the performance of the digit cancellation test was used to stand for the level of sustained and selective attention. To examine validities of the three state indexes of meditation state, correlation analysis and linear regression analysis are conducted. What’s more we also explored whether the validities of indexes are influenced by the sampling probe frequency. Our results showed that 1) there were significantly positive correlations between attention stability and FFMQ when the variables were tested using higher probe frequency (approximately every 2min or 3min once) but not lower frequency (approximately every 4min once); 2) only when the it was tested every 2min, both of the FFMQ and performance of cancellation test can have significantly positive correlations with awareness; 3) The linear regression analysis indicated that only when the awareness and attention were measured every 2min that the indexes can significantly predict performance of the cancellation test which was conducted immediately after the second practice session. Take all the results together we can get a conclusion that when the online test of attention state during one mindfulness meditation practice was tested with a sampling probe appearing approximately every 2 min, the variables can reflect the mindfulness trait of meditation novices and their sustained and selective attention level. More importantly, the practice quality, which is reflected through the subjective report attention stability and awareness, can predict the performance of the attention test that conducted immediately after the practice. The method and corresponding results in the present study provide a possible way to explore changes between different meditation practice sessions and the possible influence of individual difference on meditation process.