With clarity of thought and realism, Rev. Ross Cribb sets out to provide an alternative vocabulary with which to describe significant events, human nature and spirituality, with the goal to empower individuals to have happier and more meaningful lives. His highly readable combination of Zen, philosophy, psychology and science makes a compelling case for his view of spirituality. Explaining that we often refer to different parts of ourselves as independent, he takes this a step further by invoking the New Age concept of Energy Bodies (specifically the Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual Bodies). With these he explains Enlightenment, Being in the Moment and Energy Healingan effective method for releasing blockages that take us out of the moment.
|Publisher:||Hunt, John Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Rev. Ross Cribb is an Energy Healer and an ordained minister for the Inner Focus Church. He currently lives in Japan with his wife and son.
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Live in the Moment, Including Zen and the Art of Healing
By Ross Cribb
John Hunt Publishing Ltd.Copyright © 2014 Ross Cribb
All rights reserved.
Sunday, August 19
As I look out from the veranda, the lake is as smooth as glass. In the pale light of early morning, it faintly reflects the distant hills and cloudy skies. In spite of the quiet feeling of pre-dawn, the intermittent buzzing of insects and chirping of birds are surprisingly intrusive. I also feel a sense of urgency because I have seen one person enter the main lodge, and I'm sure more will be coming soon. My chance for solitude is passing; the day will soon begin.
I have already spent thirty minutes struggling to find the magical serenity of a quiet mind, but it has been a restless thirty minutes. In preparation for the big event, AlixSandra had instructed us to take time this morning to reflect, but for me, the only reflection is on the lake. When at home, my morning meditations usually come easily and are generally pleasurable, but when away from the familiarity of home I find meditating a challenge. My resolve is fading fast, and the heavy feeling in my eyes tells me sleep will come quickly if I go back to bed.
I notice another worker approaching the lodge, signaling the impending hum of the morning's activities. I surrender; it is time to go back to my room. My accommodation is a room shared with another conference participant (I have financial constraints). This morning there will be no profound insights, no intense release of emotion and no experience of God's light to prepare me for today. Instead, a couple more hours of sleep will be my preparation for the day.
A few hours later I am walking on the path through the grassy courtyard to the main hall. I feel alert and buoyant, yet there's no denying a sense of uncertainty. As I walk, the inspiration of nature surrounds me. Looking at the trees, I can see more than their appearance; I can intuit their aliveness. And not only are they alive, but they are talking to me. I don't mean literally talking to me, but the vibrancy of their aliveness is a message for me to feel alive too. They have a certain power and a connection to the earth that is real and tangible to me. Trees have no doubts, no fears, no conflicting emotions — they are an expression of Nature, and their existence communicates a message of purity and harmony.
This is my experience as I walk toward my new life, yet I thought I would be more emotional. I often feel a connection with Nature, so that doesn't feel unusual, though today it is more acute. My heightened state of awareness is contrasted by my desire for clarity — to be free of doubts. On some level I know I am doing the right thing and that I must move forward, but I don't feel ready yet. I'm just a regular guy trying to make sense of my life, just as everyone else is likely doing. I want the security of knowing with my whole being that the step I am about to take is the right one.
Much of the drama I am expecting from today has already happened in bits and pieces. The intense emotion that accompanies such a deep commitment has been occurring over the last few months — today is just a moment to mark a transition. It is vital to mark it, because the rational mind likes external reference points to measure how things have changed. However, the real changes happen internally — not externally — and that process is less defined.
It is an overcast day, so I don't get the bright sunshine I wanted to highlight the occasion. Nature just is. I am at an Energy Healing Conference in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, USA. The location is a small college campus that operates as a resort and conference center during the summer. It is a beautiful spot, and the conference has been fun, but today is the culmination of the event. Today is the day when the Inner Focus Church takes center stage. More importantly, it is the day when a few of us will be recognized for a new level of commitment to serve humanity. We are all servants, but not everyone is so willing to formally acknowledge that responsibility. Today is Ordination Day.
As I approach the veranda I see Russ and his wife Kim. Russ is a man who is on a similar journey to me. We met a few years ago while we were both enrolled in the Inner Focus Healing School. We soon became friends, and when we started doing our homework sessions together, our bond was cemented. In those sessions we revealed some of our innermost fears and secrets. I am glad we will be ordained together. Like me, Russ is uncertain as to how he will fulfill his commitment to the Divine. We each wrote a thesis outlining a vision for our respective ministries, but those are just words — action is very different.
In my thesis I talk about inspiring people to embark on a healing journey, and in so doing they can gain greater peace and joy. Part of my mission is to offer a rational explanation of the healing process. I am a firm believer that the rational mind can be incorporated into spiritual experiences. In fact, I want to appeal to the rational minds of conventional people and explain that energy healing is for them; it is not just for those "out there" people. In my thesis I mention that one way I hope to share my message is by writing a book — a dream I've had for a long time. However, not being a writer, I don't know if it is a realistic goal. As I attempt to start my book I am finding it much harder than I expected, but at least I have the theory outlined in my thesis as a starting point.
Another component of my ministry is to make Zen accessible and practical to those seeking self-improvement. I've often referred to the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as my bible. Unfortunately, the author, Robert Pirsig, didn't do a great job of explaining Zen. I had to read the book three times before I had a clear sense of his explanation. I know it need not be that difficult.
When I step onto the veranda, Russ and I hug, and I am wondering if he is feeling any more certainty than I am. As we stand outside the hall waiting for the proceedings to begin, few words are exchanged — there isn't anything that needs to be said. His presence provides the encouragement I want, but I am also lost in my own thoughts — thoughts about how I arrived at this point in my life.
Given my personal history, this is a situation full of ironies and inevitabilities. My early life was marked by a keen interest in how the world works. Once I started school I learned to believe in science, and later used it to support my anti-religion views. During my insolent teenage years, I remember saying I was a devout atheist. How I used to love arguing with those I thought were misguided religious fools! However, while at university, I became disillusioned with science, and for several years wandered aimlessly through the academic landscape. In the end I graduated with a BA in Philosophy. In spite of it not being very practical in the real world, it seemed the only field of study that suited my quest for meaning.
My mind's search for answers also led me to explore an assortment of spiritual practices, such as yoga, tai chi and meditation. One of the more intense explorations was a seven-day Zen retreat. Fifteen years later I am still coming to terms with that experience.
The next phase in my journey was joining the Inner Focus Healing School, not with the intent of becoming a healing practitioner, but to further my personal healing process. It was during this phase that my life changed the most dramatically, and I started to get a sense of purpose in my life. And now, in an hour or so, I will be ordained as a Minister for the Inner Focus Church, which should give me a new sense of purpose.
There is a sense of destiny too; both my grandfathers were ministers (although they died many years before I was born), and my great-grandfather had the gift of healing, though it is rarely talked about in my family. Plus, I remember taking an aptitude test during my university days — the results suggested that my ideal profession was a religious leader first, a teacher second and a social worker third. Even though my father was a teacher and my mother was a social worker, I thought the results were strange because at that time I had no interest in religion.
And, oddly enough, I would still say I have little interest in religion. I am spiritual, not religious. I think people need to search inside to find the answers to life. Great prophets like Jesus and Buddha offered wisdom, but it needs to be internalized to be practical. A seeker is to contemplate that wisdom and create their own vision of a divine life in accordance with their heart's guidance. And I think Zen has much to offer in regards to accessing that inner wisdom.
I let these thoughts go as Russ and I enter the hall.
Soon, the ceremony begins. As a preliminary activity, AlixSandra, who is the founder of the church, asks previously ordained ministers to say a few words about the courage involved in their decision to become ministers. Listening to them and being familiar with a few of their personal stories, I know they are not doing justice to the courage involved in their decisions. Similarly, however, I would have little to say about the courage of my decision either; it just seems to have happened. In truth, all along I have been waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder and say, "Sorry, you're not qualified for this. We've just been playing a little joke on you." But, in a matter of minutes, it will be too late; I will have gotten away with it. I will have fooled them into thinking I am a person capable of a spiritual mission. But I know I am capable — my doubts come from not knowing how I will do it.
The actual ordination proceedings begin. Russ and I, along with seven others, are assembled at the front of the hall. AlixSandra reads some scriptures from the Bible, words emphasizing her theme for the day: courage. I am feeling calm, and my lack of emotion allows me to notice the details of my surroundings. One of my fellow honorees is a florist, and he has brought dozens of flowers. The beauty of the lilies, irises, and roses, along with an assortment of enormous crystals and colorful banners, create an uplifting atmosphere in the hall. As I scan the audience, I briefly hold my gaze to acknowledge some of the familiar faces — people I have known since my early days at the Inner Focus Healing School.
AlixSandra's vision for the Inner Focus Church, and the school, is based on the premise that healing was one of Jesus' greatest gifts to the world, and something he taught others to do. In following Jesus' example, AlixSandra teaches healing, and in doing so helps to heal the heart of humanity. I now accept this as my path too: to teach and promote healing. The reality is that I know little of Jesus, and even less of the Bible. I acknowledge Jesus' life, but I am not intent on promoting him, just his mission of healing and his message of love.
The ceremony concludes, and I have a fleeting thought: "I've gotten away with it!" Next are the congratulations and hugs. A few group photos are taken, and I request one of Russ and me. As the celebration goes on, I am aware of several questions lurking in the back of my mind. Am I different now? Should I act differently now? What is my ministry going to look like? I don't have the answers, and I am content to leave these questions in the back of my mind. I know that, in time, I will find the answers I need.
Soon, things start winding down and people begin leaving the conference, returning to their homes and personal lives. I say my goodbyes as they leave, but I stay to help dismantle the conference paraphernalia. I'm in no hurry to leave because I fly out tomorrow; that's the cheapest flight I could get.
It is a pleasant last night at the resort. Somehow it seems appropriate to be alone on the first night of my new life — my life as an ordained minister. I have been alone for much of my adult life. Not that I'm a loner, but I don't readily make deep connections with others. I've had some involved, romantic relationships, but I've had longer periods without a lover. I don't currently have a girlfriend, and the people with whom I have a close connection live in other parts of North America, like Russ, who lives in the state of Arkansas.
As I lie in bed later, I think, "Am I any different today than I was yesterday?" I don't feel any different. Yes, I am happy with the day's proceedings, and I have some pride in that I am now ordained, but at a deeper level I still feel like the same flawed, doubtful person. I think what I was looking for was a sense of magic, and either it didn't happen or I let it slip by. There have been special moments in my life when things seemed perfect and I was at peace with the universe, occasions like scoring a crucial goal while playing a hockey game, or laughing so hard with friends that my stomach hurt or being moved to tears by the awe of nature while camping. Today was an exciting day, but it wasn't one of the magical ones. My mind was still distracted by my doubts.
I guess the key is to become so involved in the moment that I stop thinking about it. There is nothing for doubts or questions to hold onto when one is not thinking because questioning and doubting are activities of the mind. During these moments, one also loses track of time. I am coming to realize that the magic happens when one transcends the moment, and during those timeless moments life is truly enriched. My understanding comes from that same Zen retreat, where I had a moment of true insight. We all have had glimpses of timeless moments, but Zen training teaches us how to expand those momentary glimpses into prolonged looks, and it teaches us that every moment has that potential. Zen often seems contradictory and befuddling, but its aim is to train us to experience the magic of the moment, and the longer we can experience its timelessness, the richer our lives become. Time is a stumbling block in the way of living a joyous and profound life.
Though I don't yet fully understand this, and have even less of a sense as to how to explain it, I know timelessness is one message I want to convey with my book and my ministry. I want to rationally and methodically explain how to transcend time, and thus be in the moment. Towards this end, I know meditation and healing are practices that will help bring this into reality. Meditation conditions us to be in the moment, and a Zen attitude helps us apply this perspective to all aspects of life. Healing helps because it clears our minds of issues that take us out of the moment. The importance of meditation is a gift from Buddha, the power of healing is gift from Jesus and the art of living in the moment is the magic of Zen (Zen has no prophet). These two masters didn't invent these techniques, but they tried to show us how to use them — and now I want to continue this mission. I want to rationally explain how these practices can benefit us. These are not the only tools available, but I think they are the most effective and practical ones. The goal for my ministry and my book is to bring the light of rational thought to what are considered esoteric practices. Furthermore, I think scientific theory can support this position. Science and spirituality are working toward the same end.
As I entertain these thoughts I start to get overwhelmed with the challenge, and this is a great reminder for me to not get caught up in the imaginings of the future. I need to focus on my next step and have faith that things will fall into place. Thoughts about the big picture are OK, but it is crucial not to dwell on them. Life is in the Now, and not the future, so the more parts of myself — the emotional, the mental and the spiritual — that are in the present moment, the happier and more fulfilling my life will be.
And for this present moment I need to let this "stuff" go, or I will never get to sleep. If my mind has something to ruminate about, it will just keep spinning and spinning.
In the morning I have to catch a bus to Chicago and then fly to Ottawa, Canada where I will spend a few more days with my aunt and uncle (I spent a week there prior to coming to the conference). After a few days in Ottawa, I will return to my home in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada (a town of 30,000 about five hours driving east of Vancouver).
Excerpted from Live in the Moment, Including Zen and the Art of Healing by Ross Cribb. Copyright © 2014 Ross Cribb. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Author's Notes 1
Chapter 1 Ordination-Sunday, August 19 5
Chapter 2 Dad and Elvis-Sunday, August 26 14
Chapter 3 Small Town Music-Saturday, September 1 22
Chapter 4 One of My Pleasures-Bike Riding-Monday, October 1 29
Chapter 5 Understanding My Fear-Wednesday, October 10 37
Chapter 6 Hiking in Bryce Canyon-Wednesday, October 17 46
Chapter 7 A Job Interview-Tuesday, October 30 55
Chapter 8 Don't Sweat Change; Moving-Thursday, November 8 64
Chapter 9 A Sign of Things to Come; Another Interview-Tuesday, December 4 72
Chapter 10 A Party of One-Monday, December 31 80
Chapter 11 My Men's Group-Thursday, January 17 91
Chapter 12 A Slice of Paradise; House Sitting-Wednesday, March 12 99
Chapter 13 Revelation; Meeting a Thai Monk-Monday, March 24 108
Chapter 14 Things are "Heating-up" in Japan-Wednesday, April 9 115
Chapter 15 Life Begins Anew; ESL Teaching-Saturday, April 19 124
Chapter 16 Learning the Ropes of Japanese Society-Saturday, May 10 132
Chapter 17 More Fear and a Hangover-Friday, May 23 142
Chapter 18 Waiting for a Reply-Tuesday, May 27 148
Chapter 19 With Friends at a Music Festival-Saturday, June 7 153
Chapter 20 Celebrating Canada Day-Tuesday, July 1 160
Chapter 21 Individuals, Groups and Zen-Monday, July 21 167
Chapter 22 Camping on Niijima Island-Friday, August 8 178
Chapter 23 Reading Energy; a Training Seminar-Wednesday, August 27 187
Chapter 24 Watching Sumo-Monday, September 22 200
Chapter 25 Meeting Friends and Strangers-Saturday, October 4 210
Chapter 26 Struggles In and Out of the Home-Tuesday, November 4 220
Chapter 27 Trouble in Paradise-Back Pain-Thursday, December 4 227
Chapter 28 "Back" to Normal; Seeing Terra-Friday, January 2 235
Chapter 29 Returning to Japan-Sunday, January 4 241
Chapter 30 Searching for Spirituality with Yoga-Thursday, January 29 247
Chapter 31 Reflections of Japan; Feeling Dis-ease-Friday, February 20 255
Chapter 32 Riding the Seawall and Meeting a Friend-Monday, March 2 266
Chapter 33 Feeling Disliked and Having Insights-Tuesday, March 24 275
Chapter 34 Crisis Point; Time to Go Within-Sunday, March 29 284
Chapter 35 Preparing to Leave-Sunday, April 12 292
Chapter 36 Quiet Endings-Thursday, April 23 301
Closing Comments 306
About Healing 308
Life Timeline for John Alexander 310
Zen and the Art of Healing
Chapter I Energy Bodies and Universal Energy-Chapters 2, 4 and 5
Chapter II Zen and Enlightenment-Chapters 7 and 8
Chapter III Consciousness, Mind and Personality-Chapters 9, 10 and 11
Chapter IV Time and the Energy Bodies-Chapters 12, 13, 14 and 15
Chapter V The Soul-Chapters 16 and 18
Chapter VI Energy Blockages-Chapters 20, 21 and 23
Chapter VII Healing and Vulnerability-Chapters 24, 25 and 26
Chapter VIII Initiations-Chapter 29
Chapter IX Intimacy-Chapters 30 and 31
Chapter X Living in the Moment-Chapters 32, 33 and 35