Anyway, I don't think anything substantial can come out of meditation alone. If you use meditation as a "training ground" for learning discipline, etc. then you may argue those understandings are later useful in practical matters. But then, again, why not train yourself while at those practical matters? Granted, the simplicity of the meditative practice might make it easier to deal with things like what somebody else in this thread calls "negative thought patterns", etc. But I think the whole practice of meditation emerged from an interest of making the "world" to gradually "disappear". Somebody in this thread speaks of the "dissolution of the ego", fasting, etc. Meditative practice appears to have been birthed out of a yearning for...... destruction of details, diversity and complexity. But until when? That doesn't sound right to me. On the other hand, some other people equate meditation with going to a park, or riding the bicycle. That's disconnecting from one "world" and connecting to another; I can see the point of that, it's refreshing, relaxing. And I think it's better, because at least it performs a replacement with something mildly interesting and engaging, rather than... an empty wall (?!). Sitting in front of an empty wall just seems morbid to me.
As for the "feel good" factor, when you're meditating (in front of a wall) you are not contributing much to anything, so it sounds like meditation is a surrogate for "getting high"; or at least some form of really cheap entertainment. Surely there are preferable alternatives – like listening to good music, or reading a good book.
If you're open to it, I'll bet you'd like Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs.
Edit: It looks like a quick read, and it was a best seller. Thanks, I'll give it a try. I am interested in refreshing my understanding of the current "western buddhism" discourse (your contention that I'm not familiar with the Buddhist doctrine at all was incorrect).
I used to do exactly that (I read books on meditation for years before I finally started sitting in earnest). Somewhere on kuro5hin.org are some similar comments from my 11-years-younger self. :)
Seriously, on my Android device I have an app called Routinely which is one of probably dozens of apps focused on supporting the formation of positive habits. I've set up both a morning meditation activity and an evening meditation activity on it on a daily basis. It does regular scheduled notifications & it does the Seinfeld chain thing when you tick off a completed activity.
I'm following the Natural Stress Relief approach to meditation which is a form of mantra meditation not unrelated to Transcendental or Vedic Meditation. Each session is 18 minutes in length.
I'm not long into my practice, but I find that as a night owl, it helps me sleep more soundly if I do an evening meditation and that the morning meditation dispels the grogginess I usually have on waking. After meditation, I generally find myself refreshed, relaxed, alert and calm and there is a real delta in my state compared with before the session.
Link for Natural Stress Relief
Or the tl;dr: Promise to yourself to do no more than sit somewhere quiet at a regular time (e.g., as soon as you wake) for one minute. If you sit at least a minute, give yourself a guilt-free reward (e.g., a bit of chocolate).
You'll essentially be using operant conditioning to train yourself until the intrinsic rewards kick in, which can take a few weeks.
P.S. I'm the founder.