Meditation means many different things to many different people, what it means to you depends on who you are, what you learn or believe, who your teacher is and in what tradition (if any) you base your practice on. Meditation is an integral part of life in many cultures but the form meditation takes varies widely. As different as the traditions of meditation may be, most have more then one thing in common, The main objective being to learn *not* to think. All meditation techniques use a focusing of attention to one-pointedness so that the thoughts are no longer scattered or undirected to being centered on one thing such as a sound, a visual object or a thought.
The slowing down of thoughts doesn't mean unconsciousness nor is it as easy as it sounds. It isn't easy to stop thinking but focusing on a sound or visual image can help stray thoughts away. When we get upset, angry, stressed, worried or nervous, our thoughts can seem out of control and randomly unproductive rather then calm, focused and steady. Meditation uses tools and techniques to help you concentrate and focus your thoughts. Meditation also provides a brain workout. We work hard all day long at thinking, When we give it a rest each day, it grows stronger, more effective, more efficient and, best of all, more aware.
Meditation helps you feel better when you aren't at your best, but when you are feeling negative, angry or depressed, physical exercise is sometimes a quick fix. Meditation works at its best when you feel positive. To help, you could start with a short walk, run, physical work out or yoga class. Meditation practice started and carried through good times will help you later when times are rougher because you will be able to calm yourself, center and regain balance quicker and you will quickly learn that dealing with problems takes less effort.
Variations on meditations take the slowing down of your thoughts and the quieting of your mind further. Once you master the clearing of your mind, you can introduce new concepts, thoughts, problems or needs into your meditations. The great thing about mastering the clearing of your mind is that the mind clutter is cleared away to be able to hear the answers, insights, new understandings, new meanings and thoughts that you seek for.