Answers are from my experience. They might or might not coincide with the texts u have read till now on meditation/yoga/dhyan and other intellectual garbage.
The English word meditation is a little confusing. This shows how western civilization has done little work in understanding the nature of mind and observer.
Indians have invented many words around this (dhyan dharana samdahi satori pratyahara)
each depicting a unique experience which happens as we sink deep in ourselves.
Meditation can mean anything to you depending on which stage you are in.
Stage 1 Fighting with your body: Yes meditation is fighting with your body. You are sitting with closed/half closed eyes. Your spine is erect and so is your neck. Your body refuses to sit and comply. (or for that matter any posture you have chosen).You have never given time to yourselves and sitting for you was laid back way of relaxing being a couched potato and so naturally at this stage meditation is backache. In short discomfort.
Stage 2. Fighting with your mind: After you are able to sit you realize that there is more to it. You have to do the worst thing in life. The thing which you have been trying to escape since you gathered social awareness. This thing is dealing with yourself. The whole life you have been putting your attention out, your entertainment, your work ,your life, your everything was directing your awareness to outside world. But now you are facing yourself! The constant thought cloud which you have so long ignored pounces at you and mediation at this stage is, disturbance. It is fighting with something you have for long identified as “you”, that is your mind. If you are intelligent you catch the thread you realize the subtle distance between the thought and the thinker, else you go on with the thoughts trying to control them or just flow with them what we call in Sanskrit kalpna or smriti.
Stage 3 Change in Breathing pattern: If you have persisted so far. You have crossed the real barrier. Now you are in the zone of observing and knowing some deeper secrets about your nature. One of the First things is the change in breathing pattern. Breath becomes shallow and thoughts become few and slow. Stages which follow could be observed simultaneously.
Stage 4 Peace/Silence: Now with reduced thought flow, calmer and deeper breath you have the first experience of stillness or peace or the real silence. This stage could last for a few seconds and then you could fall back to your normal mind state but nevertheless this experience now motivates you to keep going. This if experienced again and again will cause some permanent changes in your body and your whole perception of life.
Stage 5: Experiencing some thing in your body: After some more perseverance you reach this stage where you experience somethings. I don’t want to use words for this creates a vague idea unless you experience and could cause unnecessary confusion. But once you are here the whole system is ready. Now meditation becomes effortless you begin to get idea of what books talk about and interpret them with your new found experiential intelligence. Once here you can slip in this stage easily and stay here.
Stage 6: Living in that experience: Once established you now become a true watcher of that movement which is happening. You become a observer of that experience. That’s all.
Stage 7. Meditation is Life: after stage 6 meditation can be anything it is eating shitting sleeping. your life is meditation
Stage 8. The lesser said the better. :-) Welcome to the club !