According to St. John of the Cross, the night of sense, or the purification of the senses, create the following conditions:
The Complete Absence of Pleasure: Things that once provided pleasure may no longer have the same effect. There is no pleasure in objects or material things.
Thought and Memory are Impaired: Our memory, thoughts, and emotions are imbued with a primal yearning for a deeper relationship with our own existence. We seek out deeper meaning, purpose, and presence in life. The absence of these qualities induces spiritual suffering.
The Destruction of Personal Beliefs and Assumptions: The mind (thoughts, concepts, ideas, beliefs, assumptions, identity, desires, etc.) becomes influenced by unknowing. We realize that the rational and logical mind offers no solace or solution, leading to the realization that contemplation is the only possible means to navigate through the dark night.
Gaping Wounds of Loss and Abandonment: There is an unavoidable sensation of being completely lost and abandoned in the world, even while in the midst of our loved ones and friends. That which once gave us meaning and purpose has vanished. We have lost our way, with no hope of going back to what once was.