The war, with its abnormal excitement, physical hardship, and enormous suffering--and especially its loss of privacy--made meditation difficult, unattractive, and, to most people, even impossible. It can be said therefore that the art of meditation was one of the inevitable casualties of the war. Although the tumult, violence, and extroversion of the time made it more needed than ever before, unfortunately the opportunities and conditions for its practice became more difficult than ever before. The general shake-up of wartime broke the even lives of many aspirants. Many, if not most, were forced into entirely new and often uncongenial environments with apparently uncongenial companions. They may have deplored the inability to make any spiritual progress under such conditions, but they were wrong. Progress is not solely a matter of having the time and solitude, the freedom and quietude for study and meditation. Nor is it dependent solely on forming contacts with like-minded people. Other factors are also concerned. Indeed, insofar as it showed them how the unfamiliar so-called materialistic half of the world lived, insofar as it drew them out of complacent attitudes and smug intellectual ruts, insofar as it shattered ignorance of realities--however hard or ugly--that form important parts of human experience but which had previously been fled from, the change was not a useless one.
-- Notebooks Category 11: The Negatives > Chapter 3: Their Presence in The World > # 220