Westerners have looked for god externally — suns, volcanos, white robed men in heaven, abstract notions of infinity. But god keeps getting pushed back as more phenomena are explained by the progression of simple laws, and many westerners tend to think god doesn't exist.
Easterners have looked for god internally — awareness of awareness, altered states of mind, deep senses of peace, compassion or connection between all things. But god keeps getting pushed back as more phenomena are explained by the progression of thought patterns, and many easterners tend to think god doesn't exist.
Westerners think that human brains are "in" the external world, and must therefore be explained by the progression of simple laws, and so many westerners would say there is no free will or consciousness, the same as many Easterners would say.
But, Westerners still tend to feel like they have free will, and they get angry at the human in the car cutting them off for exerting their free will unjustly.
Easterners have found a way to feel like there is no free will or consciousness — to recognize at a gut level the mechanical nature of mind — as much as possible.
As far as I can tell, that is what meditation is. And it just involves watching the mind and how it works.
And there's no euphoric payoff. The main payoffs I see are: pain doesn't seem as deep, though nor does joy; and I suspect the brain can more effectively achieve its goals by having a more realistic view of what's going on in itself.