What would you say the spiritual path is all about? What is its intended destination? In the West until recently, apart from within a few esoteric and occult groups, there wasn't much doubt. The purpose of religion was holiness. The saints, who were the religious exemplars, were not enlightened beings whose consciousness had expanded to superhuman levels but figures of purity and sanctity who had given themselves entirely to God. Before I'm reminded that sometimes the saints did indeed experience higher states of consciousness I should point out that this was a by-product. It was not their goal or reason to pursue the spiritual path. Their motive was love of God not self-expansion.
However, over the last hundred years or so a different attitude has crept over the Western mind aspiring to spirituality. The goal of the spiritual path has in many cases become enlightenment. Partly this has arisen because of the influence from Buddhist, Hindu and other Eastern mystical teachings, but it is also because of the more pronounced individualistic strain that Western Man has exhibited since the 19th century. This has its good and its bad side. The good side is greater agency with the potential for creative thought. The bad is egotism and self-concern on a much greater level than before. We say we want to know and experience rather than accept things on authority and this is fine up to a point. We are meant to understand and grow in wisdom. But why do we want to know and experience? Is it to expand our own self (even if that is sought for by negating our own self) or is it because of a deeply felt love for our Creator? This might be expressed as a yearning for truth or aspiration to the highest we can conceive of but it must still be directed to something more than ourself.
As we enter into the period known as the End Times the situation will become more and more black and white. Our choices will narrow though it may not be seen in that way by everyone. Only if you are alert to the situation will you realise this. Neutrality will not be an option. Alternatives that may have existed in the past will disappear. They will break down into being in either one camp or the other. Take, for instance, spirituality and Christianity. I think it has been legitimate for those in the West to explore other forms of religion and mysticism over the last 100 years but I now believe that those who have wandered away from Christ to pursue alternative spiritual options must start to return to him. They may have a wider perspective having departed and now returned than they would have had if they had never left. But they must now return. As things are moving, it is not enough to reject the material and take up the spiritual. The spiritual will be absorbed by the worldly unless it becomes Christian. I am speaking for the West and to those of traditionally Christian cultures. Those in the East will be confronted with their own test but I imagine it will amount to the same examination of the heart.
For well over a century Westerners have turned to the East for spiritual enlightenment. How many have become enlightened in the sense that the Buddha was enlightened? I am going to chance my arm and say none. Many have claimed enlightenment but this usually just amounts to some mystical insight and experience mistaken for more than it was. And the reason that none have become enlightened is that this is not the intended spiritual goal. We are not called to a supreme state of consciousness in this world. We are here to learn self-sacrifice in love, love meaning love of God. We accept suffering as Christ did because we do the Father's will. It is not his will that we suffer but it is his will that we renounce the ego so that the self may be sanctified and become the phoenix that rises from the ashes of the lower self.
Note: I am aware that various forms of gnosticism had something equivalent to enlightenment as their goal but this was generally not regarded as the correct way. The attempt to be spiritual without God is a perennial temptation, one which leans towards the luciferian rather than the Christian using that word to describe the spirit behind it rather than the actual religion.