My teacher tells me the first stage of meditation should be "Samatha Meditation" which from my understanding means to quiet and calm my mind. A single minded concentration on single points were the exercises I was given to work on this. For a year and a half I had a small light shaped like an incense stick I would just sit in the classic cross legged position and focus on it and then try to think of nothing else. In the beginning this was uncomfortable and while I still have a fairly anxious over active mind I would say it is much better. I am realizing more and more that all the thoughts, things, places and people which I feel have to be contemplated on right now are really just the restless energy of my mind. I think to myself that in the end the most important thing is the state and strength of my own mind; Samatha meditation I am told helps. Ultimately what's in my mind and heart, and having loving kindness for all beings is the fuel for my own spiritual growth.
Last year I received another exercise which was to do deep breathing and focus on my lower Dantian which is another form of the Samantha Meditation and also helps build up my chi as well.
I believe after a few more years of these types of meditations I will be ready for the next type of meditation which is Vipassanā or to examine yourself, but without a properly trained and calm mind I am told this 2nd level of meditation will not have the intended effect.
PS: I would like to hear what your experiences with meditation are too!