The intent for growth is the most important driving factor behind spiritual evolution. One must keep choosing to move forward every day, every hour, every moment until this choice permeates every aspects of one's life. Spiritual growth is a choice and one must stay conscious of what they are choosing. When one loses sight of one's intent, the light fades and one begins to slip into unconsciousness.
There isn't a single moment in the day when one doesn't benefit from being as conscious as they are able of what's going on. There's certain times of the day when one feels more connected into Spirit, but the times when one feels least connected are the moments one has the greatest potential for advancement. It's easy to fall into a routine and have the day's events obscure our larger goal. If the goal is to become more connected to Spirit, it's the times when one feels disconnected that need to really be looked at. One must find what makes them lose that connection (I'll give you a hint, it's called attachment).
There's times in people's lives when even the least spiritually evolved will start looking for real answers about Life. Often this happens when one is faced with death, either their own or someone close to them. It's the times when people feel vulnerable and afraid that they notice an emptiness within themselves that they desperately want to fill. The search for Truth doesn't always begin so dramatically, but it often takes something big to jolt people out of their complacency.
There's a very large pitfall here. If it's the suffering that drives one to spirituality, what happens when one isn't suffering? Well, then spirituality is often tossed out the window. The habits that originally led the person into a place of suffering reappear, and a repetitive cycle begins to emerge. Many Lightworkers are stuck here, feeling happy for a few days, the depressed, then happy, then depressed. People feel like they're just going in circles (which the are), and this leads to spiritual frustration. Many then pretty much ignore their spiritual development and just seek distractions. This works until their suffering builds to the point the distractions don't work anymore, and then the person turns back to their spiritual side for comfort.
An intent for growth and an understanding of one's motives behind the intent are the way past this cycle. If one's motives are simply to avoid suffering, when one isn't suffering, there's no more motive behind the intent. Spiritual growth is forgotten and their temporary happiness leads them right back into suffering. Here's a poem by William Blake that sums this up very nicely.
He who binds himself to a joy
Doth the winged life destroy.
He who kisses the joy as it flies,
Lives in eternity's sunrise.
You can't attach yourself to joy, one only does this in order to avoid suffering. If this is what drives your intent to seek spiritual truth, in the moment you find joy you lose it. There's now nothing behind your intent to progress, and without conscious intention, one's life goes right back to the way it was.
I can see some people taking what I'm saying and using it to reason suffering promotes spiritual growth while joy retards it. This may be the case for most of humanity, but it certainly doesn't have to be that way. One can learn far more from joy than from sorrow. There's a limit to what one can gain from suffering, which humanity is now approaching, while growth from within joy is boundless.
So, how does one kiss joy “as it flies” without binding themselves to it? Simple, feel it, appreciate it, be thankful for it, and let it go! Often when we experience something we enjoy, we want that experience again. Too bad, it's over and done with, no amount of wanting will ever recreate that same experience (though I guarantee you'll have even more amazing experiences). Wanting doesn't give us what we want. A thought of “I want this” is only a statement to the Universe that you want something, and the Universe gives you precisely what you declared, the experience of wanting something. A thought of want only produces want, it doesn't create what you want. This is the same as attachment, need, and desire, and why these things prevent spiritual growth. Want just keeps us running in circles.
Intention is very different than want. Intent can arise from want, but as I explained earlier, and intent driven by want is going to crash and burn. One must find a motivation far less fickle than want to be steady in one's intent. For one to be constant and unwavering in intent, the intent must be driven by Love. A drive for spiritual growth is empty if there isn't a Love of Self behind it. Love of Life leads us to trust Life enough to see that every experience contains the keys to our evolution. Love is what drives us to help our brothers and sisters along their paths.
Look at your intents carefully and understand the motivations behind them. Pay especially close attention to when you lose sight of your intents and seek to understand why. If you need to have desire, let it be what you're currently experiencing. In that you'll always get what you want.