“The first coming of Christ in the exercise of desire is an inward and sensible thrust of the Holy Ghost, urging and driving us toward all virtues. This coming may be likened to the splendor and the power of the sun, which, from the moment when it rises, enlightens and brightens and warms the whole world. So likewise Christ, the eternal Sun, beams and shines, dwelling above the summit of the spirit. … But that man in whom this should take place must be inwardly seeing, with the eye of the understanding.
“In the higher lands, … the sun shines upon the mountains bringing an early summer there, with good fruits and strong wine. … The same sun gives its splendor to the lower lands. … There the country is colder, and the power of the heat less; nevertheless, there too it produces many good fruits, though little wine.” ~John of Ruysbroeck
Sunrise of Christ
Much like Jacob Boehme, Ruysbroeck had to be careful what he wrote for fear of being charged with blasphemy or worse. So much of what he says here is allegory and you have to know the symbolism.
First, the “coming of Christ” doesn’t make much sense if you interpret it literally. Even if you understand that Christ in an immortal spirit that dwelt for a time in the man Jesus, not the man Jesus, you may not realize that such a spirit is everywhere, always. So I believe that what Ruysbroeck means is not the sudden arrival (or sunrise) of Christ, but of the awakening of our individual souls through the power of Christ found in the Light of the Spiritual Sun.
It is not by coincidence that Ruysbroeck, as with many others, compares this rise of Christ to the rising sun. Great spiritual men and women have always known that there was a connection between Christ and the Sun, though they may not have known exactly what it was.
So Ruysbroeck calls Christ the eternal Sun that shines on us from the words of spirit, or the “summit of spirit”. In other words, Christ Consciousness comes to us from the spiritual worlds through the Spiritual Sun as Divine Light.
Mountains and Valleys
If, like most of us, you live in a valley, or an area far from mountains, you may be disappointed in what Ruysbroeck write about valleys in the quote. Don’t be. This is primarily allegory.
While there is some truth to the belief that going to a mountain top to practice spiritual growth techniques is beneficial, they can be done quite effectively from lower ground. What is really important is that we try to be in our higher Self when we do such practices. The higher self being the spiritual one. The materialistic, egotistic lower self, represented in the allegory by valleys, is less likely to achieve higher states of consciousness, even when exposed to that Eternal Sun.
Fruits and Wine
Here again, Ruysbroeck is making good use of allegory. Fruit is a good thing. It is healthy for the body. Allegorically it represents, therefore, things that benefit primarily the body and mind. While it seems strange to some, wine is often used to represent spiritual “food” that nourished the spirit and soul more than it does the body and mind.
So Ruysbroeck is saying that the Eternal Sun shines on us with the “wine” of eternal wisdom and truth. And it does that best when we are receptive to it by being in a higher state of mind, a peaceful, loving, and open state of mind.