Looking at the final 3 Mansions in St. Teresa of Jesus' INTERIOR CASTLE, what is more important for discernment....mystical experiences or growth in love and self-forgetfulness?
When we desire to grow in love and self-forgetfulness, our desire is of and for God. We are not seeking the gifts of God which may include mystical experiences. We are seeking the Giver.
The motives for seeking spiritual direction become very quickly apparent if a directee is seeking only God's gifts.
Purification of motives during passage through the first 3 Mansions will begin when we offer little sacrifices; take extra time in prayer when time is not easily available. There are multiple other acts of self discipline which reveal the interior discomforts brought about by disordered desires. Self-knowledge deepens as humility draws the Holy Spirit to gift His virtues. The gifts that God chooses to shower on the soul on the journey into union with Him may involve gifts. All of God's gifts lead us into self-forgetfulness and deeper love of Him. No matter the shape of the gift, be it one in a package of interior or physical suffering , or a gift that is mystical, it is for Him to fashion but always for the salvation of the soul and for the glory of God. Our journey into holiness in Him will help us to discern how to better serve Him with love through the gifts received.