How Meditation Works
The mind is like a spoiled child. It wants to do what it wants, moving in whatever direction appeals to it. But you cannot understand the nature of mind if you cannot slow it down to look at it, to work with it. So your job is to be the parent, and tame it.
Now, you cannot do anything with the mind if your method of taming is to control it - to tell it to 'stop thinking' - because a) this directive in itself is a thought, and b) you will find that the mind is like mercury; you can't grab it. As soon as you try to capture it, it slips through your trap and sets off thinking of something else.
Focus and equanimity are the starting points for meditation. Instead of forcing yourself in any way, practice accepting what comes up in your mind, while learning how to bring your concentration back from its usual wanderings.
Eventually you will be able to hold your concentration on a single thought and to have the discipline to stay on that thought for as long as you want. Once you start to establish a calmness of mind - once you are able to focus - you can start to thoroughly explore and comprehend, through meditation, the realities that lie at the root of the Buddha's realization - impermanence, selflessness, and emptiness. The ultimate discovery in meditation is the experience of pure mind - clear, luminous and free from fear.