The first way in which the souls is united with God is through salvation, solely by His grace.
This is followed by a period in which a saved souls comes to know God through a series of experiences, some of which bring the souls into closer union with Him and some take it further away. The soul learns which activities bring God’s presence nearer and remains in His presence by practicing those activities.
The most intimate union with God is the actual presence of God. Although this relationship with God is totally spiritual, it is quite dynamic, because the soul is not asleep; rather, it is powerfully excited. In this state, the soul is livelier than fire and brighter than the unclouded sun, yet, at the same time, it is tender and devout.
The union is not simple expression of the heart, like saying, “Lord, I love You with all my heart,” or other similar words. Rather, it is an inexpressible state of the soul–gentle, peaceful, respectful, humble, loving, and very simple–that urges the person to love God, to adore Him, and to embrace Him with both tenderness and joy.
Everyone who is striving for divine union must realize that, just because something is agreeable and delightful to the will, this does not mean that it will bring one closer to God. Sometimes it is helpful to disengage the sentiments of the will from the world, in order to focus entirely on God. If the will is able in some manner to comprehend Him, this can be only by love., And that love, which has its end in God, will be hindered by the things of this world.