Ok, first of all, this is my point of view, not gospel.
This post in based on my view that Relaxation and Meditation are NOT the same thing. Relaxation is, just, relaxation. A wonderful thing it is too. To me, meditation is where you go FROM relaxation, being much more focused, proactive and dynamic. Meditation is Work.
I learned Deep Relaxation in ORDER to learn Meditation. This is a brief description of this practice ~
I use a relaxation CD to do this. The music is neutral, so that it doesn't call my attention. It's other purpose is to blend away any household noises which may startle me out of my practice.
I use the same incense every time, so that I associate the aroma with the state. I believe this helps the process.
In a comfortable position, I begin to focus on my breathing. Not trying to change it, just simply being aware of it. I fall into it. Over practice, awareness of breathing can reach the stage where we can 'become' our breath. This way, we cease to pay attention to our thoughts, without actually trying to do that. (Thinking about not thinking is a bit of a trap, I find).
So, comfortable in awareness breathing, I practice a few Yogic breaths. That is, closing the throat in the place where we 'clear' it, and pushing the breath through it to a slow count of 4. 3-5 breaths like this are very powerful. I do a group of these 4-5 times during a relaxation.
After about 30 minutes of a combination of Awareness breaths and yogic breaths, the pestering thoughts are gone. I focus on FEELING, I feel the waves of my chi. Feeling is a great way to escape thinking. If thoughts do come, allow them to pass and carry on. I have never had success on 'stopping' thinking, ~ with feeling and breathing it just happens anyway.
So, now I am in a state to begin actual meditation. My mind is clear and rested, and I actually feel mentally energised. What you might do in your meditation is up to you, you might seek deities, perform protection or healing meditations, or focus on global peace. You may explore your astral world.
My point is, that meditation is what you do after relaxation, not relaxation in itself. Relaxation is like tidying your house so that you can do something in it, as well as being intrinsicly rewarding.