The modern merging of eastern and western thought is not actually new.
Many ancient texts and thinkers of the West incorporated a less linear approach to the Natural world, the cosmos, and humankind, including the Gnostic Christians who were wiped out en mass in the early days of the Universal Church. Later, the emergence of Hermetic thought echoed more abstract ideals (claiming lineage from Egypt), and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno were martyred for philosophies that may have rivaled the innovation of Galileo. (Bruno claimed the sun was, in fact, a star, and was one of an infinite number in the Universe).
While I'm not suggesting these thinkers had personal ties to the East, I am asserting that there was more simultaneous and similar thought processes apparent in the West and East throughout history. (Even alchemy can be linked, albeit different in expression, to both China and Europe).
Here's some quotes from some of the more influential and occulted texts of the past centuries in Europe:
"In a sense, the Cosmos is changeless, because its motions are determined by unalterable laws.... Its parts manifest, disappear and are created anew... Even the present does not last, so how can it be said to exist...?" -- the Hermetica
"The All creates in its infinite Mind countless universes... The infinite Mind of The All is the womb of the universe." --the Kybalion
What happened, historically, is that much of the Western thought that did not toe the party line went underground or became protected by secrecy. A good example is alchemy, whereby under exoteric terms it was a science to do with transforming metals, esoterically it was a guideline to transform one's soul into purity. This, to me, is not unlike seeking enlightenment through contemplation and/or physical training.
So the merging of East and West is just like using both sides of the brain. Each contains knowledge of the other, yet expresses it in varied ways.
But the blending is far from a recent phenomenon.