Acquiring Torah 42: Ramchal: Derech Eitz Hachaim VIII
Yet supposing that the impulse is so overpowering that he cannot contend with what is too strong for him? It was exactly such an eventuality that frightened the holy Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai so much that he shrieked like a crane: “Woe to mankind that the Holy One, Blessed is He, is a captive with them in exile. ‘He turned here and there and found that there was nobody there,’ for they were all attending to their own affairs and following their own paths (Tikkunei haZohar 10).” Briefly, it is extremely difficult for the man who does not reflect on these things to attain perfection, but for him who does, it is very near.
Sages who think of them constantly and with growing intensity and never avert their minds from them, succeed in all their actions; but even a man with little free time should at least fix a daily, whether short or long, for reflection, for then he will succeed in his ways and acquire insight. (Ramchal; Derech Eitz Hachaim VIII)
The factors which detract from Watchfulness and withdraw one from it, are three: the first is worldly occupation and involvement, the second, laughter and levity, and the third, evil companionship.
When a man is involved in worldly affairs, his thoughts are bound by the chains of the burden that weighs upon them and it is impossible for them to become concerned with his deeds. The Sages, may peace be upon them, said, in their awareness of this fact, “Minimize your occupations and occupy yourself with Torah (Avot 4:10).” (Ramchal; The Path of the Just, Chapter 5: Concerning the factors which detract from Watchfulness)