The state of meditation can be loosely described as a shift in awareness from the personal to the cosmic. We hear the chatter in our heads but don't react to, encourage, or disparage it. Thoughts don't necessarily disappear, but they cease to look meaningful and interesting.
As we do this, our sense of self changes. Instead of paying attention to the birds flying through the sky, we notice the sky that contains the birds. Instead of seeing the black squiggles that form words on the page, we notice the open space that holds the words. Instead of sound, we hear the silence that allows it. We start to feel that we are the sky, the space, the silence.
The practice of meditation misses its potential when we see it as an exercise to do in a given period of time. We wake up, go to work, come home, meditate, eat dinner, etc. When meditation is another item on the to-do list, it runs the risk of becoming too compartmentalized. It can become separate from life.
Meditation is a microcosm of life, not one of its compartments. It's supposed to be something we do with total presence, for no reason other than to do it. In other words, it's something we do without the goal of getting somewhere from it. Almost everything we do has that motivation—we want to get something, move forward, improve ourselves.
But if meditation becomes a goal-oriented activity, we've lost sight of its real purpose. Which is that it has no "purpose." The point of sitting is simply to sit. That's what it feels like to be truly in the now.