The first step is that of purest prayer. From this there comes a warmth of heart, and then a strange, a holy energy, then tears wrung from the heart, God-given. Then peace from thoughts of every kind. From this arises purging of the intellect, and next the vision of heavenly mysteries. Unheard-of light is born from this ineffably, and thence, beyond all telling, the heart’s illumination. Last comes–a step that has no limit, though compassed in a single line–Perfection that is endless….
~Theophanis the Monk
(Excerpt from, The Ladder of Divine Graces)