I agree with you as well as Swami Sivanananda on the impact of one's location and surroundings on meditative effort.
One of the properties of the brain is generating sinusoidal waves (detected using EEG) at all times, 24X7. These are always in what physicists call the ELF (extremely low frequency) range. During meditation, the brain's electrical activity shifts to alpha (8-12 Hz) state and below. When the thoughts are of violent or sensual nature, the frequency goes up to higher range (40Hz and above). Both meditation and thinking are processes of the mind, that is why one can submit that it is the mind that drives the brain.
At the same time, like any other device capable of generating such waves, the brain too can be influenced by interference / resonance with other waves present in ether. So when one is present in a location where the ether is full of vibrations pertaining to thoughts of violence or sensuality or any of the basal senses, then these vibrations can automatically influence the brain's electrical activity to resonate to the corresponding frequencies. This causes the corresponding thoughts to be generated in one's own mind. So the state of the brain drives the brain, too: it is a two-way street between the brain and the mind.
When one is not alert about the flotsam of thoughts passing through the mindscape, it is very easy to go with the flow. To people, therefore, who find it a struggle to control their flotsams, being in a properly-built meditation chamber - such as the one your student constructed - does help.
My two pennies. I have a few of such pennies on my blog here: http://success-nirvana.blogspot.com.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, medit8ionsociety <no_reply@...> wrote:
> I recently had the joy of retouching base with
> one of the students who for many years came to
> our classes at several of the different Adult Education
> programs in the Philly area where we taught. She has
> just moved into a new home and has dedicated a room
> to be used exclusively for meditation. We had often spoke
> of having a proper envirinment in which to sit in
> meditation, but how difficult that was in a moderm
> American big city. But she has now been able to
> create exactly what is appropriate and advantageous.
> She has put beautiful spiritual paintings on the
> walls, flowers in many places, soundproofed the
> room, pipes in soothing sounds, and has placed many
> things that for her are reminders of the divinity within.
> But one thing that occured to me as we spoke was that
> at this point in her spriritual evolution, I feel
> that she is at one and at peace no matter what is
> going on in and around her, and that the whole
> universe is the proper environment for her to
> meditate in. I'm not saying that nothing will ever
> disturb her, and that the room she has built will
> not be an asset, but that the inner room she dwells
> in seems to be all that she will ever need. In any
> event, please make your meditative experience as
> flowing as possible and that is definitly aided by
> as soothing an environment as you can be in. Here are
> some words shared by the great sage Swami Sivananda:
> The Meditation Room
> The meditation room should be regarded as a
> temple of God. Talks of profane nature should
> never be indulged in the room. No vicious
> thoughts of rancorous jealousy, avarice are
> to be entertained there. Admittance should ever
> be sought in it with a pious and reverent mind.
> For, what we do, what we think and what we
> speak of leave their impressions on the ether
> of the room and, if no care is taken to avoid
> them, they will exert their influence on the
> aspirant's mind and, rendering his mind perverse
> and restive, make him incapable of attending to
> the devotion. The words uttered, the thoughts
> cherished, the deeds done are not lost; they are
> always reflected on the subtle layers of ether
> encircling the room where they are done and affect
> the mind invariably. As much as possible effort
> should be made to overcome them. This is to be done
> for a few months only; when the habit is changed,
> everything will be all right.