Russell Brand is an unconventional spiritual commentator, but I think he is right about the nature of consciousness and mysticism, and how these can change the world.
I suggest that Joseph Smith's earliest direct encounters with God happened in mystical experience, or what is also known as altered states of consciousness.
Pope Francis (birth name Jorge Mario Bergoglio) is the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He has served as pope since 2013. In an interview a few months after his election to pope he briefly discussed mystics, mysticism, and mystical experience.
There are many benefits to meditation: spiritual, religious, practical, psychological, emotional, etc. Psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman talks through some of them in this video.