If meditation is so good for one's "soul"/mind/whatever and enhances empathy, then why did the civilizations that practiced it were still your run of the mill conglomerate of people? They weren't anything special, aside from cultural and religious aspects.
You are talking about the activities of individuals but using the accomplishments of entire nations to guage the success of these activities. There is no activity more individual or solitary than meditation. This is like studying waves and tides by only looking at sea water on a molecular level.