Meditation is not breath counting—that’s just an aid to mindfulness which is a preliminary thing, and counting is not necessary and if you are counting then you are not meditating.
Mantra can be helpful, but again that’s not meditation but a form, a vibration like a note of music, that is used to trigger a meditative state. It is relatively useless unless you can be the consciousness behind the mantra while understanding the essence of meditation as it relates to love, service, and divination of meaning.
Breath, mantra, posture, and so on are all just forms and all are empty and pointless without the right spirit behind them. Meditation itself relates to the formless, to that which is beyond all forms, thoughts, and ordinary emotions.
Meditation has a closer affinity with the best music, poetry, and love than it does with mantra and breath.