I am considerably taken with the idea of self-consciously regarding my life as a spiritual quest - I mean, that this could be the first thing I think about when I wake, and again throughout the day. It could provide a significant impetus and organizing-principle both immediately, and over the long term.
In a world where evil is ruling, triumphant, everywhere; it seems of great value to have an active, positive attitude to life based upon spiritual quest - rather than falling into a defensive siege posture with respect to the world (which seems like the usual for serious Christians - and opponents of the Left, generally - over the past couple of centuries).
This siege-mentality seems to be both unhealthy and weak - because survival is the best it can hope for. There can be no victory, but only not-defeat. We can only lose or not-lose - but nothing better.
Under such conditions, spirituality too easily loses inner-drive and hardens into a mirror image of the prevalent and strongest type of evil - which is, in our case, by adopting the characteristic materialism and dogmatism of the modern bureaucracy.
In sum; because in this physical worldly life there can be no positive triumphs, no joy, no real victories; therefore I find the need consciously to regard (this life) as a spiritual quest. To adopt an approach to spiritual life that goes beyond the business of daily, hourly, survival against the unending attacks of evil; and is instead inner-motivated and strategic.
For me; a spiritual quest must include open-ended elements; in other words, the spiritual quest must also be able to become a spiritual adventure if that is where the quest leads.
This is Not to seek adventure as a goal, which is both paradoxical and a foolish snare.
The quest must be spiritual, and the adventure something that may, or may not, arise in pursuit of the quest. But the adventure should not be shirked but made-the-best-of if it eventuates.
A central element of my spiritual quest is the desire to attain a way of thinking that assumes 'an animistic universe' - a reality consisting of living, conscious, purposive Beings.
This way of experiencing the world is very difficult for me to attain, because I am fighting a life of socialization, character, training and - thus - ingrained habit of regarding the (non-human) reality as 'dead' and truly/ fully-described by the physical sciences.
Included in this quest is a wish to experience the reality of the spirits which throng this world. Past Men (and, to an extent, modern Man when children) would perceive and interact with spirits of the dead, angelic spirits, and the spirits of remote persons. Modern Man has lost this ability in the course of the development of modern consciousness.
I have concluded that it is both wrong and futile to attempt to recapture this ancient, spontaneous, largely unconscious and animistic way of perceiving reality. Thus I cannot (and should not) try simply to Be in the animistic world.
Instead I believe that we should seek to know the spiritual world in our thinking (i.e. in the active heart-thinking of our real-and-divine selves). And this process must and ought to be conscious and purposive - some-thing we deliberately do.
Yet I find there is nothing more paradoxically difficult than trying to think in a 'higher' way! It often seems to happen that such striving leads downwards, rather than upwards. It often amounts to just thinking-about rather than actually thinking: for instance; telling myself - with inner language - that that I should be thinking in such a way - but not actually doing it!).
Thus my quest has reached a difficult obstacle. I am trying to find a way over it by means of deliberate imagination; as a bridge towards the direct (and wordless) intuition I hope-for. Thus, when I 'want to be' animistic; I may create my side of an inner dialogue by which I address the Being with questions or comments - and then (rather than waiting for a wordless impression upon my stream-of-thinking - which is idea but very difficult to do) I imagine a possible response from that Being while trying to hold my mind open to any real such response.
Imagination opening a conduit for intuition, in effect.
This imagined dialogue - which is expressed in mental language but operates below that level, by direct-knowing - is then intuitively tested for validity. Does the imagined-interaction seem like wishful-thinking nonsense, or maybe a product of fear and despair; or does it seem like reality and truth?
Another example: I often/ usually find that I feel spontaneously impelled to read (or re-read) books by or about some particular author.
Often I resist such urges, because I don't want to go back to someone (or some work) that I have read several or many times before, and feel I ought to be exploring something new...
But usually I yield and focus on whatever I feel impelled to read - because I am not really motivated to do anything else. It is a question of yielding to this particular urge to read a particular author; or doing nothing.
Nowadays, I have come to assume that this kind of impulse may be spiritual; may be a form of spiritual interaction with the dead.
It may represent a kind of sub-quest - of some-thing that I am supposed/ intended to do (at the level of thinking, not action) for the dead author.
At any rate, I often reach a point of first understanding what that author was really about at a spiritual level; and then I move eventually to some kind of completion, correction, cross-linkage or extension of this authorial intent.
(It may even be a living author for which this happens - and then this business often feels the same retrospectively).
Such an activity may take multiple reading over many years - during which I am not conscious of any such 'quest' element. It is simply that I am drawn to return again and again to the same author, the same work. And then, I feel that 'my work is done'; and I no longer feel the need to engage...
Only in looking back can I make a story of what it is I have done, spiritually.
During (and in deed after) this prolonged engagement, I may have some kind of relationship with the dead author; and this may extend to dreaming about meeting him - often in some kind of indirect manner.
Dreaming I see as more of a consequence of long-term brooding than a positive contribution; but after a dream of this kind, I may develop a sense of 'really' having known the person - and I now think that feeling may literally be true: I may truly have come to know his living spirit as a result of prolonged sympathetic attention.
In the above I am just giving some personal examples - but there are as many quests as individuals, as many methods as there are personal dispositions.