I started meditating a few years ago. Not regularly, I'm not great at committing to habits, but that's okay. Here and there I get myself to stop; to stop wasting time on the internet, to stop watching television, to stop stressing about little stupid things, and just go somewhere quiet and breathe and try my best to clear my head.
I try to escape from all those constant distractions, the flood of frenzied thoughts that persist. But meditation does not shut the brain off. Or at least, not that I'm aware of. A better way to view the mind with and then without meditation might be the following : a) Let's say the non-meditative mind is akin to living in a house. The house sits comfortably next to a powerful flowing river. The river symbolizing our thoughts. day after day the river erodes the banks that the house sits upon as each worry and responsibility, grief and dread, boredom and melancholy, along with whatever else all flow past. As this continues the shore and foundation grow smaller and smaller until little bits of the house drift into the river and float away. And we wake up to board up the holes and gaps in the floors and walls where the rushing water gets in. Becoming a refugee in our own minds.
b) Let's say on the other hand that the meditative mind is akin to walking outside of that house, and wading into the middle of the river. There, in the river, you just breathe and let it all flow around you. Its inhale and exhale, feeling the flow of those thoughts and the world outside yourself. Breathing in, letting the thoughts and the world mesh together. Then breathing out. Its knowing that you're safe in the river, you won't drown and the house won't get carried away. And mostly its sitting and breathing. In and out. In. Pause for half a beat. And let it all out.