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“From the gladness and the fullness of grace and the faithfulness of God, there is born and flows forth the third rill in this same unity of the spirit. This rill, like a fire, kindles the will, and swallows up and consumes everything into unity. And if fills to the brim and flows through all the powers of the soul, with rich gifts and with a singular nobility: and it calls forth in the will a tender spiritual love without effort. …

“Go ye out to practice in conformity with these gifts and with this coming. … By the third rill, which is an in-pouring heat, the supreme will has been rekindled in tranquil love, and has been endowed with great riches. Thus has the man become spiritually enlightened.” ~John of Ruysbroeck

Rill of Fire

Unity is almost always a good thing. This is especially true of spiritual unity. Ruysbroeck says this “flows forth” from the “third rill”. Rill being an old word for a brook or small river, is a reasonable word to use to describe this energy flow, especially in a time when the idea of energy waves was unknown.

This rill of fire, which Ruysbroeck call the third rill, may not truly be different from the other two, but just a different aspect or angle of it. These rills are all flows of grace or spiritual energy. This rill burns up egotism and false beliefs. It prepares us to know the truth. You can’t know truth and firmly believe in falsehood at the same time. Those false beliefs are walls and roadblocks against reality.


Ruysbroeck advises us to practice in accordance with our spiritual gifts. According to what is posted on social media these days, most would interpret that as meaning you should become a fortune-teller predicting things about a person physical life. Or that you should claim to be a healer and offer to heal anyone who asks. All of that is dealing with the psychic, not the spiritual. There is nothing wrong with that—up to a point. But we need to move past the psychic to what is truly spiritual.

Spiritual practice is all about the soul. Not the body or the mind the soul. So spiritual practices include:

  • Teaching other how to awaken their soul,
  • Helping interpret spiritual dreams,
  • Helping other learn how to develop their spiritual side,
  • Taking in spiritual energy, then sending it out to others full of positive thoughts of peace and love.

In our modern world, there are many ways to do these things. We can write books, make videos, or blog. Or we can talk to people directly. Don’t be surprised, however, when most of your friends and relatives are not interested. You can’t teach someone spiritual growth techniques until they are ready. Just move on to someone who is ready.


Enlightened is a difficult word. Like awakening, there are many ideas of what it means. Some say that enlightenment is a process and even those who have taken but the first step on the path can be considered enlightened. Other say that only those who have reached the final destination on that quest of spiritual growth can be considered enlightened. Other are at various points between those two options.

Ruysbroeck seems to be leaning toward the final destination version of enlightenment. Only one who has experienced this third rill of fire is, in his opinion, enlightened. Only when that fire (energy) has helped us realize and experience our oneness with all can we be called enlightened. I think Ruysbroeck has it correct.

So turn to the spiritual sun, the primary source of that spiritual energy on Earth, and seek your own eventual enlightenment with the rill of fire.


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