The art of meditation found a favourable climate in which to thrive both in ancient Orient and medieval Europe. Life moved at a much slower pace. Science and industry had not pressed man to give all his attention to the outward activities. The oppressions, hardships, toil, serfdom, and slavery of common people gave them few ways of escape other than the inward one. There, in the solace of religious prayers or the practice of mystical introspection, they might find some of the happiness denied them by worldly society. Moreover, the tropical temperatures of many Oriental lands drove their inhabitants more easily into lassitude, resignation, defeatism, and pessimism while the wars, invasions, tyrannies, and poverties of medieval Europe drove a not inconsiderable number of its inhabitants to wear the friar's garb or enter the monastic house.
-- Notebooks Category 4: Elementary Meditation > Chapter 1: Preparatory > # 100