Why was this initially so hard? Because, like most Westerners, I live in comfort, surrounded by thousands of distractions, all of which dull the intuitive intellect, since it's all sensory information. To find God, you need to be uncomfortable, and to be in stillness and silence. It's the only way. Most people are going to struggle to give up 'the world' to give God their full attention when a dopamine hit is just a mobile phone click away. Part of what helped me was learning to always choose the difficult and uncomfortable over the opposite.
Does the Western World make a little more sense now? A world that is constantly distracted by mobile phones and devices and twitter and forums cannot ever be still and silent enough to know God. A hypersensitive world that can't bear to mortify their will against even the slightest personal discomfort can also, never know God, because it won't go through the painful process of purification. God won't force anyone against their will, and it takes a level of deep heroism and ability to suffer pain to be able to endure what God will do to you.
Thanks for this. It verbalises something I was suspecting, but hadn't defined. I came across the documentary 'The Social Dillema' last night and it reinforced my research into over-stimulation, dopamine addiction and other diseases of modern Western living. All the signs are saying the same thing.
Thanks also for your nuts and bolts primers on the various stages of faith and other subjects such as consolation/desolation. Its practical guidance that isn't easily accessible elsewhere and its very helpful to understand the more difficult periods of worship (desolation) are entirely natural and necessary for growth.