It seems to me that the way things currently are going any spiritual awakening is unlikely unless people are brought low by suffering. We are just too comfortable and too set in our materialistic ways to change course unless something dramatic, which forces us to change, takes place. I believe the powers that be have sought to avoid a scenario of suffering for some time but, spiritually speaking, humanity has just gone from bad to worse and is currently as far away from God as it has been for a long, long time. Our culture and our politics are all corrupt, our religion, such as it is, is ineffective and when we do turn to some idea of spirituality in the modern spiritual but not religious way, it is usually on our own terms and with no real sense of the Creator. Hence any spirituality of this sort is directed towards personal growth and does not include the metanoia that is essential for any genuine awakening.
We need to change and we need to do so at the roots of our being. Change in the spiritual sense cannot simply be an external thing. It is not just swapping one set of beliefs for another, supposedly more enlightened. Even if the new beliefs are truer, more spiritually correct, that is nowhere near good enough. Real change requires substantially more than just changing one's thoughts or even one's behaviour or way of life. It requires deep penitence, something that goes right down to the very core of what we feel ourselves to be and leaves our old self lying shattered and in pieces on the ground. Do you remember how Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader turned into a dragon? Perhaps that dragon was just the materialised form of what he really was like inside. He became in body what he already was in soul, and it was only when he experienced a radical restructuring of the soul that he was able to be liberated by Aslan from that terrible dragon exterior. What if we too appeared outwardly as we are in our souls? Is that a challenge you would wish to take up?
We have to remind ourselves that before Jesus could carry out his mission, the way had to be prepared by someone of a much rougher disposition. Someone who called out evil for what it was and who actually ended up paying with his life for this. He did not accommodate himself to the world or to the authority of the day. When he condemned sin, he did not pull his punches. He simply spoke the truth. John the Baptist had the mission of calling the people to repentance. Jesus could not have spoken to these people unless they had first been awoken to their sinful state by John. Once they had started to see themselves as they were then Jesus could direct them towards understanding how they should be. But there could be no spirituality without prior repentance. The ground of the soul had to be ploughed and tilled before the seed could be sown. A hard ground could not have taken the seed.
At the moment, the ground of the human soul is very hard. What can soften it up so that the seeds of renewal can be sown? Heavy rainfall is probably what is needed. Nobody can look forward to suffering but we have brought this upon ourselves by our arrogance and vanity, by our rebelliousness and cold-heartedness. (By the way, a sentimental age such as ours usually is cold-hearted, the sentimentality replacing true feeling.) If we will not turn to the truth of our own accord that will create a reaction in the fabric of being. We are not being punished. We will just experience the consequences of our anti-life behaviour
There is no moving forward without repentance. And this is a matter of the will for real spirituality is not so much about overcoming ignorance, as in many Eastern approaches to spiritual truth (even though that is important), as about reorientation of the will. It is in our wills that we are bent and it is that we must address if we are to awaken from our spiritual sleep. Maybe it will not require suffering, let us hope so, but realistically how long can we continue as we are now?