There are many misconceptions about the world of meditation - indeed many misconceptions about the world of self discovery as a whole. Concepts as simple and straightforward as introspection are sometimes viewed with suspicion and wariness, as though they are the realm of those with too much time on their hands or uber-liberal outlooks. Well before the more interesting and esoteric aspects of self discovery, people begin to shy away from what they think of as a mystical and somewhat flimsy field.
Fortunately for those of us who have explored some of this world and discovered for ourselves that there is nothing overly hocus-pocus or vague about the practice of meditation, there is much academic research being conducted on the effects of meditation. These studies show irrefutable and amazing results, with many intellectual and wellness faculties such as concentration, awareness, relaxation and more recently longevity being shown to benefit from regular meditation. Find some of the more interesting and compelling studies here.
With benefits such as these, the scope of those that would benefit from meditation is obviously enormous. We could all benefit from being more relaxed, focused, able to concentrate for longer and remember more, right? Being so simple, the practice of meditation and mindfulness rules virtually no-one out from the potential benefits that stand to be gained. While it is true that the history of meditation and similar practices in the west have been the preserve of those generally seen as 'unconventional', it would be decidedly illogical to let this interfere with our pursuit of self discovery and improvement!
Check out some exercises here and begin your journey!