Here is a question which expresses a common or even a persistent problem, but one that really comes from looking at things the wrong way round. What I mean by that should become clearer further on.
Q. I have been a seeker of enlightenment for nearly forty years now. When I first started out on this path I was full of enthusiasm and hope, and genuinely thought that the goal was attainable in this life. I mastered meditation to the extent that I could enter into deep states of peace, and had several profound spiritual experiences. However after a while my spiritual life seemed to stagnate. I stopped progressing and my attainments seemed to dry up. Now as I approach my seventh decade I feel I am no nearer to the goal than when I started out. What do you think your Masters would advise in my case?
A. To start off with I must make clear that I no longer have any outer contact with the Masters and have not done so since 1999. So I can't say what they would advise. However, based on things they said to me, as well as my own understanding, I would make the following points.
First of all, I would ask you a question. What has been your motive in following the spiritual path? What were you hoping to gain from it? That's a rhetorical question because the answer is clear from your own words. You were hoping to gain enlightenment. So I would now ask you, why? Why do you seek enlightenment? That may seem a strange thing to ask. After all, assuming enlightenment exists, why would anyone not seek it? But that's the problem. We have been told that if we seek we will find, but we might equally well have been told that if we seek we will not find. It all depends on why we seek because in the spiritual world motive is all, and the only proper motive on the spiritual path is love. That is why Jesus said that we should love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind. This is the most important commandment but it is one often forgotten by the modern mystic or contemporary seeker who only looks inside himself for truth. But without this love you will never find what you are looking for because it, and it alone, provides the true self-forgetfulness that takes you beyond egotistical searching. No knowledge or insight can replace it or make up for it if it is not present. The fact is that enlightenment will never be found by one who seeks it. This is the well-known paradox, but the solution is not not to seek it (if you don't seek, you certainly won't find), nor is it to assume that it is already there and you only have to realise it. That will just lead to self-deception with intellectual enlightenment the best you can hope for. The solution is to seek but to seek from love rather than desire. If you ask me how to kindle this love if it doesn't already exist I can only suggest that you try to forget yourself and your goals, and concentrate instead on the good, the beautiful and the true. God is transcendent as well as immanent and will only be found by those who recognise that and all that it implies. Open yourself up to the vertical.
Having said that, I would now suggest that you put aside ideas about enlightenment altogether. I have often used the word both here and elsewhere but I'm not convinced that the concept is in any way helpful, not in the sense of a spiritually perfected completion. It really only exists in Buddhism, and with the many contemporary false claimants to enlightenment the whole idea has become trivialised and spiritually polluted anyway. Far better just to meditate, pray and work to cleanse yourself of all psychic and psychological impurities and habits formed from faulty identification with the external sheaths of your being, and then let the divine power that rules the universe do the rest in the time that it thinks good not that you do. Otherwise put, simply serve God and do his will as you think it may apply to you at the point you are now. That is a much wiser course than to chase after enlightenment. Spiritual growth will come when you least expect it and in ways you may not anticipate. So don't project yourself into an unknown future but be faithful to and serve your divine source here and now without expectation of reward. This may seem unexciting but it is the best way to make the progress you currently desire.
It's very common to seem to make rapid strides initially but then find that everything, as you put it, dries up. This is partly because of action and reaction. Perhaps you over-reacted to the spiritual highs and so had to suffer the corresponding lows, but it's also a test of your resolve. You were given openings into the higher life but then thrown back into this world and your everyday mind to see what you make of that. To see if you can integrate your spiritual awareness into the fabric of your being. To become it, in fact, and not have it dependent on, let's be honest, spiritual pleasures and rewards.
The long and short of this is that enlightenment is not the goal of the spiritual life. As I was taught by the Masters the purpose of the spiritual path is to develop love of God and his creation, including mankind, intuitive awareness of 'what is' and self-forgetfulness. It is, furthermore, to become a co-creator with God through service to his will in manifesting the higher realities in this world. In essence, it is to become a pure channel for the light but for the sake of the light not for your own sake. Of course, this brings its own rewards and its own joy because by following such a course you are fulfilling your own true nature and purpose, but that is not a personal thing.
I've already written something about this here and you might wish to read that post in conjunction with this one.