It seems that God wants us to strive, while mortals on earth; for higher spiritual states - for greater awareness of God, Jesus Christ, spiritual beings such as angels - and indeed for a greater sense of the aliveness and purpose of God's creation.
This; despite that we cannot (and should not) expect that our efforts will be more than partially and intermittently successful - nonetheless, by them we can know from experience the realities of Heaven.
Strive - yes - but how? At this point, people come forward with Spiritual Methods - such as rituals, symbols, meditation, channeling, drugs - or whatever.
The thing about such methods is that they are usually initially somewhat successful. As a person practices the method, he at first gets better results. But then all methods always fail - they lose their power to evoke spiritual states; or else the end-up by being spiritually misleading.
Rudolf Steiner prescribed detailed spiritual exercises for his followers, and vast programmes of reading and study; which were methods for learning to discipline and direct thinking into more spiritual channels, within Steiner's revealed metaphysical system.
A century of experience has clearly demonstrated that these practices/ methods clearly don't work at 'making people more spiritual'. Anthroposophists aren't spiritual in-themselves - they just talk/write about Steiner's spiritual ideas (and meanwhile get passionate about advocating mainstream leftist causes!).
But the Steiner methods do (unfortunately) seem to have the effect of locking-people into a permanent fixation upon Steiner the man, and every-thing he said and wrote - with a strikingly-obvious conviction of the man's literal infallibility: both as a man, and in all that he said and wrote.
One of Steiner's recent followers was Stanley Messenger; and he described a method by which one would form intense closed-groups who would communally engage in conversations with spiritual beings (e.g. Archangel Michael, the prophet Melchizedek, and Rudolf Steiner himself): not in a trance-medium way, but with a group member imagining the words of the being, and other members engaging in conversation with that member.
This was devised as a conscious, active and creative type of channeling - as an intended development from the unconscious channeling of traditional 'mediums'.
But the results were (to my mind) very mundane and un-spiritual - mostly the kind of psychodrama/ group dynamics/ inter-personal stuff, such as usually happens in New Age circles; from what I can tell, the participants did not show any external evidence of being more spiritual.
Much like the earlier ideas of mediumistic channeling; the 'material' obtained was quasi-objective instruction about the world and predictions about its future, most of which was soon proved to be wrong.
In a nutshell, much as with Steiner's practices, there were some psychological effects which created what looked like dependence on the group, as well as pleasurable interactions; but nothing to suggests that this was a method for becoming more spiritual.
A third example is the book Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. In the first of what became a series of such books, the author describes his 'method' for writing to God then listening for a reply which came to him by written dictation.
Reading through the first volume is an example of what happens with methods in general. At first, the I was surprised to be somewhat impressed; the answers from seem striking and valid; and seemed plausibly divine communications. (You can read this on the free sample from Kindle books.) And for a short while this impression solidified. But only for a short while!
As soon as I got the sense of the author 'trusting the method'; there was a sense of 'God' telling the author just what the author wanted to hear!
From trusting the method, the author transitioned to 'using' the method. All the later part of this book struck me as boilerplate New Age, progressive, lifestyle, self-realization, self-serving stuff - of exactly the kind one would expect from an aspiring professional 'guru' (rather than from our Heavenly Father, the creator of reality).
(I note that the first book led to a series of best sellers, with all the usual business of supplementary material, interviews, lectures etc; and that the author seemingly received divine endorsement for 'open' marriage; and has himself had four - some say five - marriages.)
My point is that there are many methods advocated for spiritual enhancement - and new variations are continually being devised. These usually work at first, but never work for long; and usually end by doing more harm than good as the practitioner learns to trust the method and believe whatever it produces.
This may suggest that the solution is continually to be changing methods - rather like the 'spiritual seekers' who taste and try every religion, spirituality and technique in an endless series; but decades of experience has shown that this does not work either - and indeed carries exactly the same kind of hazards as trusting in method.
So what are the implications? That we should be guided by aims, not methods.
We should pursue our spiritual aims, from our best motivations (of love); and we should never trust the methods by which these aims are pursued; but always retain discernment concerning the effects that 'what we are doing' is actually having upon us.
We should never let the method itself dictate what counts as true, virtuous or beautiful - but need to retain a direct apprehension of these values.
There is an almost inevitable transition between learning to trust the method; to unconsciously using the method to generate what we desire. And these unconscious desires are nearly always self-gratifying and hedonic - which is why manipulative power-games and exploitative sexuality are so often a feature of New Age groups and techniques.
Because methods are false Gods; what may begin well, will end badly.