Meditation is an action of the mind whose function is to make the mind peaceful. When our mind is peaceful, we are happy all the time, even if our external conditions are poor. On the other hand, when our mind is not peaceful, we are not happy, even if our external conditions are excellent. Through training in meditation, we can free ourselves permanently from all the sufferings of this life and our countless future lives.
The object of our meditation should be meaningful objects. In the beginning, we can use our breathing as the object of our meditation. We can apply effort to remaining continually peaceful day and night. In this way, we can make ourselves as well our friends and family happy all the time. The New Meditation Handbook explains twenty-one objects of meditation, which are all meaningful objects. Examples of meaningful objects in Buddhist meditation include developing renunciation, universal compassion and wisdom realizing emptiness.
Citation (MLA): Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. What is Meditation? Glen Spey: Tharpa Publications, 2013.