In reading about these things, and from hearing people talk about it, I see that there is sometimes a confusion about the dark nights.
We may use only three phases – glimpse, detachment from human self, and awakening. So when we hear about the fourth phase – detachment from the absolute – we may lump it in with the second. We don’t differentiate the dark night of the senses (phase two) from the dark night of the soul (phase four).
This is very understandable if we have only experienced the three first phases, and don’t have a sense of something beyond these.
For me and others I have talked with, there was a deep knowing that there was something beyond phase three – that I had to let go to soften and mature beyond it, and that it would be experienced as a terrible fall.
And I also see that knowing this did not take any of the edge off the experience when it happened. I didn’t even make the connection until the tail end of it, as it didn’t look anything like what I had expected. It was much more ordinary and apparently just triggered by random circumstances.