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Basically, I have tried for some time mindfulness meditation. I have also tried compassion meditation.

In mindfulness meditation, my mind becomes very still, with few thoughts, but outside of meditation the mind remains so. My thoughts outside of meditation are quite abstract, but I am perhaps stunted emotionally and in terms of visual images. I don't feel my mind wanders too much though.

In compassion meditation, I visualize loving-kindness and compassionate images, and I usually end up crying or feeling positive affect in my body. It is nevertheless quite difficult for me to visualize vividly.

How does one decide which type of meditation to engage in? Would both mindfulness (focused attention) and compassion generate some type of meditative concentration?

  • Since choice of meditation is individual, this is really a question you should ask of yourself in terms of how it helps you proceed on the N8FP. I.e., which meditation allows you to relinquish attachments and cravings? Often that meditation won't be the easiest! – OyaMist Mar 8 at 17:49
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To keep it short and simple (This is worth elaborating on):

Metta bhavana is meant for ameliorating dvesha (avsersion towards different people, or yourself).

Vipassana has multiple purposes, one of them you've already mentioned: to develop concentration. There are other purposes as well.

Not sure if it helps, but a different approach is to find a clear understanding of the problem. What type of dukkha/tanha/upadana are you looking to manage? Are you suffering from moha/raga/dvesha? Et c. Exploring these things might guide you in how to practice your meditation.

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My limited knowledge about compassion meditation is that it does/can generate some type of meditative concentration. Here is a little explanation of compassion meditation: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/compassion-meditation

Mindfulness gradually grows awareness(which leads to more tranquilty in a person but only after attaining high enlightenment stages it becomes permanent) and during the path it temporarily generates mind states with high awareness too.

For the first question, I think this part of the video(6:40-7:38) can be helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDDY4gOexVA&feature=youtu.be&t=400

Mindfulness is the only way to gain insight, purify the mind and achieve enlightenment. If you wish you can mix your mindfulness practise with Samatha, compassion meditation or other types of meditation, but at the end only mindfulness leads a person to complete and permanent freedom from suffering.

But ofcourse it is up to the person to decide which path is more suitable for him/her.

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