Put simply, we can say that meditation is using the mind to recognise the mind. Or that it is simply resting in the natural state of your present mind.
Another profound way of describing meditation is this: allowing yourself to be simply and clearly present in the face of whatever thoughts, sensations or emotions arise.
So meditation is in essence remarkably simple. However, it requires practice, usually with some resolve – as the mind loves to make excuses to be still! With a little discipline, we do find that the mind eventually becomes more quiet and peaceful – yet never through trying to make this happen; rather by allowing it to, while giving our attention to a constructive focus of awareness.
There is a story that expresses this, attributed to The Buddha: One day, he scooped up muddy water from the river in a glass and said: “this unclear water represents a cloudy mind with confusion or anxiety. If you want the water to be clear, what would you do to it?” The answer of course, is nothing – leave it alone. So too with the mind, if we just let it rest, it will eventually become clear. Just as the mud settles, letting us see through clear water, the mind settles allowing us to enjoy a clear mind.