The practice we often call meditation is also sometimes translated from the Tibetan (sgom, pronounced "gome") as familiarization, cultivation, practice, or training. It is one of the three foundational practices of Buddhism, along with studying or Listening to teachings, and Reflecting critically on their meaning.
Simply put, Meditation is a sustained intention to explore, for ourselves, the true nature of our mind. Various techniques may be used to bring our awareness to a direct experience of the mind's dynamics. These techniques include Shamatha (Calm Abiding) and Vipassana (Clear Seeing) practices, in which we sit quietly in order to actively observe the arising and passing sensations of our moment-to-moment experience.
Further practices such as tonglen invite us to expand the scope of our observation to include our experience of the world around us, and to extend our care and concern to the beings and phenomena in it. Tonglen is a step-by-step practice for cultivating love and compassion by embracing, rather than rejecting, the unwanted and painful aspects of experience.
By making use of such tools, we begin to create space for the natural stability, compassion and clarity of our mind to arise more effortlessly in our daily interactions and activities, and in the general course of our life.