"By a conviction born of experience, I mark the definitive entrance into the Dark Night of the Spirit as the first phase of the unitive life. Here begins the cauterizing, the burning-through to the deepest center of being, which is painful and shattering to all aspects of the self. The deep, deterministic reins of self-control have been taken away and the willpower that glued together this fragile unity has dissolved.
"From here on, the reins of our destiny are in the hands of a greater power, a higher Will, and though we may unconsciously kick against the goad in a painful rebellion, it is all to no avail. The only way out is to be submissive, to accept our helplessness and to recognize that peace of soul – the day it can be found – is our greatest ally. With no place else to go, nowhere else to turn, we have no choice but to go down into the depths of our nothingness where, at rock-bottom, God eventually reveals Himself and discloses to us the rootedness of our existence in Him. Thus having traveled through the bottomless void of our being, we eventually come to rest in a deep union with God – the abiding stillpoint at the center of being."The Path to No-Self, pages 9-10
Phases of the Unitive Life, Phase I