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CMF thats exactly how I usually refer to meditation: it's the practice of directing and sustaining attention on something.
What happens if you keep attention in one place, is that it starts straying less to others (something with the brain activity slowing down on those unfocused areas). Thats why you gain peace of mind: all other areas are unfocused on and die down, giving you control of your attention, less distractions or undeliberate switching of attention and instead it goes where you want and you gain control and clarity (the clarity mainly from removing the clutter)
Once you can direct your attention and are aware when it shifts, you bring it back.. the more you keep you attention on where you want it, the less it shifts to where you don't intend it to go. This makes it easier to sustain it in one place, sustain = one place and not often switching to another.
In short, learning to focus attention where you want, makes clutter die down by unfocusing from it, that way you gain even more control (less undeliberate attention switching) and you can sustain attention = relevant to trance