Tag Archive: Richard Moss


I wonder if many of you, like myself, occasionally allow yourself to revisit in deep feeling the web of seemingly forgotten relationships with those who at one time touched your life, even if ever so briefly?

The brain naturally cleanses unused memories and there are many of us who want to let go of so much of the past, so I am certainly not suggesting that we dwell in the past. Yet, in the deep stillness of meditation there is a value to allowing your psyche, with just the slightest suggestion to do so, to invite back whoever of those forgotten people spontaneously make their appearance in your mind in order to reconnect with them, but specifically to embrace them from a fuller heart.

I often find myself in the quiet of early morning prayer weaving a body of feeling inhabited with the living memory and felt embrace of these souls from the past, some who were friends, others who I wounded or felt wounded by, now welcome parts of my living body of gratitude. And as they spontaneously parade by I hold them with my heart in the certainty that their lives have been fulfilling and that they have known deep love.

In this way, with no effort, a body pulsing with wonderment comes alive in me and I have the strange perspective that I am now experiencing so much more of the gift and contribution of these relationships than I actually remember being able to feel at the time in which they were current.

Is this impression that I was less able to truly appreciate the blessing of those relationships when I was actually living them the natural fading brought about by time? Or perhaps that I had been more self-involved then, more narcissistic, so that they were players in my theater and not actually individual beings in their own right to be appreciated and celebrated. I don’t need an answer to these questions because what I do know is it that in weaving the body of gratitude what comes alive from the past now profoundly enriches how I am open to the present moment and each person I encounter.

It seems to me the past can close the door of our hearts to the present or open it wide. And I wonder is this not an aspect of the wisdom of forgiveness, that in gratitude the past can be re-given to us as a source of healing and a means of vividly living in a re-visioned present?

Whatever the answer to these musings in the work that I offer, healing of the past and living a vivid present is fundamental. It seems to me we must each commit to weaving the body of gratitude so that we can become instruments of healing and wholeness for ourselves, our communities, and our planet. This is not work that we can defer as more and more we see the schism between heart and mind diving us within ourselves and between each other.

I hope you will explore this simple practice and I hope to see you soon because we do need to be decisive about living lives that make a profound difference.

In love and gratitude,

Richard

Photo credit: Jon Tyson

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Published on May 9, 2017

Richard invites you to experience direct awakening and participate in the most empowering and healing spiritual work you can live for yourself, for those you love, and for service to all of life.


Published on Nov 15, 2016

The recent U.S. election has stunned virtually every thoughtful person in the world. In the midst of this intensification of future uncertainty and the insecurity that generates, Richard speaks about how we can honor our reactions to this election by dedicating ourselves through our consciousness practices to embody, to the best of our abilities, the mind and heart of Love.


Richard looks at observations from neuroscience and links them to how we can explore poetic forms of self-expression to come into deep psychophysical balance and open our consciousness to spaciousness.

[BELL TOLLS]

Transcript

You know, what’s really been very interesting to me lately is to read of something of what neuroscience is beginning to tell us about how our brains work. And it’s interesting. It was the old idea that the left brain did one thing. The right brain did another thing– masculine, and feminine, and so forth. But we realize now is that both sides of our brains are trying to create wholeness or representing wholeness to us. The right experiences wholeness just as it is, all at once. The left side creates concepts, and words, and representations, and it puts them together. And it tries to develop wholeness that way.

In fact, by putting together words into beliefs, we don’t necessarily create wholeness at all, but we create systems that often divide us. And what fascinates me is the notion of poetry, of a way to change energy by the use of words, and feeling, and association. For me, I used to be able to bring myself into states of stillness, oneness often through running, or athleticism, and riding my bike. But over the last few years, I’ve been doing a lot of pain. And until recently, back surgery’s really freed me from it.

And I needed to practice. I needed a way to change my energy without being able to run, or jog, or dance, or climb, or hike– the things that would join me to nature. And so I began to explore just writing poetry. I want to share one of the poems that is inspired by my visit here, in England, where my friends have a wonderful farm and garden. And I can go out and pick berries in the morning. So here’s this short inspiration from yesterday.

The miracles of berries growing. I’m squatting to free them from their branches– singly or in bunches– red, purple, pale yellow, blue, and near black. Distinct tastes but all offer that moment of resistance before bursting forth in their mouth watering glory. Not in a box, no plastic lid, no packaging. Straight into the bowl. Surely worth the pricks, and punctures, and torn skin to reach the plump ones through their defenses. And the frantic bird that found its way into the enclosure, to gorge but not know how to escape– I leave the door open, and he finds his way to freedom, taking a part of me with him into the sky.

So one of the things that happens with poetry is that boundaries become blurred. Tastes, images, sounds, and ideas have a way of dancing with each other. And the reason I say this to you is because what’s happening in our world is that we’re building reality. We’re building structures that we think are whole, but we’re building them from representations. We’re building them with words. Words link together into sentences. Sentences link together into ideas and beliefs. And those ideas and beliefs can have nothing whatsoever to do with nature, and wholeness, and the simple balance and rightness of things.

And when you take the time just to let your feeling and your associative processes in your thinking and imagery and sensation join together in a flow of words. You create a balance between a wholeness made of representation and a wholeness that you just simply know. Like I leave the door open and he finds his way to freedom, taking a part of me with him into the sky.

The bird doesn’t leave me. The bird and I travel together. I go into the sky. There’s a sense of everything connected. In those simple moments where words can do that for me change my energy, just as much as meditation, just as much as contemplation, just as much as dancing, just as much as hiking in the mountains.

I really wonder if we will start to understand that what we do with words, what we see happening on the political scene today– this assembling of rationalizations that have nothing to do with sun, or flowers, or plants, or smells, or breezes. These rationalizations that allow us to explore our world– we’re missing the poetry of life. And I invite you explore becoming your own poet.

When I do my retreats during the quiet days, I say to people don’t write in your journal. Don’t use this notion of “I” or “me” and then talk about yourself. Just let words allow you to flow with an energy. And see if you can start to take yourself back to states of wholeness, even though you’re playing with fragments, and representations, and words, and ideas.

Richard Moss

The quality of your experience in each moment is dynamic. The more balanced you are in being focused and spacious, ready and relaxed, the more fully alive and present you are. Little disturbances don’t become big ones. Little fears don’t become the center of your world. This is the great power of awareness: whatever you may focus on or are simply drawn toward (be it an idea, or feelings such as sorrow, fear, or love), there is always a larger space in which those specific thoughts or feelings are experienced. In this sense, who you really are as an aware being is always more than whatever you are aware of; you are always more than your stories.

Certain feelings and thoughts can seem overwhelming when you focus specifically on them. Your ego will immediately identify with them and create stories that intensify the feeling and imprison you in a narrow reality. But if you move your attention into the present and remain expansive, the feeling will not be as overwhelming; in fact, it will often transmute into presence and aliveness.

It is enlightening to realize that you can learn to consciously direct your attention in any way you choose and thereby train your mind to be both focused and spacious. As you do so, you will realize that the ego—what you mean when you think me—does not actually exist. Me itself is only a thought, a story, a very old habit of self-identification—not an actual thing. The moment you return to the Now, there is only awareness (awareness of sensations, feelings, thoughts, presence, being), not a separate me or ego. Who you really are cannot be isolated and defined; it can only be spoken about symbolically using words like self.

As with any spiritual or artistic discipline, presence is a learned skill. Sitting down to meditate or to write poetry doesn’t necessarily mean that your mind will immediately become still, or that the words will flow effortlessly. With any conscious, intentional effort, there is repeated practice and also an element of mystery or grace in how you suddenly settle into a more connected, integrated state of being.

None of us will ever control this grace, but it’s possible to cultivate it. It is about a choice to consciously step away from your thinking mind and bring your awareness fully into your body and into the present. It is about consciously taking charge of the quality of your attention and practicing focused spaciousness. It is about consciously bringing yourself into deep relaxation while becoming as fully alert as possible. It is inviting the timeless present to open to whatever depth it will allow to you each time you make the effort.

In navigating through life, the Now becomes your starting point over and over again. This can also be seen as analogous to the way the first violinist sounds a note to which the rest of an orchestra tunes itself: the Now becomes the note that you attune to and against, as you can feel the contrast of how out of tune you become when you are identified with your stories.


Published on May 31, 2016

Richard gives very helpful guidance for how to approach learning from your dreams and have them help you understand new potentials for your life.

Any story you tell yourself about who you are, any belief you have, any feeling you are aware of, is only an object of your larger consciousness. You, in your essence, are always something that experiences all these and remains more complete than any of them. When you realize that you are inherently larger than any feeling that enters your awareness, this very awareness will change the feeling, and it will release its grip on you.

Similarly, ideas that you have about yourself are relative, not absolute truths. If you simply look at them and do not let them lead you into further thinking, they will give way and leave your mind open and silent. There is always a relationship between who we believe or feel ourselves to be and something else, the Self that is our larger awareness.

In awakening to this Self-me relationship, we begin to be present with our experience in a new way. We learn to consciously hold our thoughts and feelings in our own larger fields of awareness. Then, even if we are troubled and confused, this non-reactive quality of presence to ourselves allows us to restore ourselves to a sense of wholeness. This is the power of awareness.

Sensation and Perception: Our Original Consciousness

The great Indian sage Ramana Maharshi said that if we want to know our true selves, we must “go back by the way that we have come.” Our original state of consciousness in childhood is not one of being a separate entity with our own thoughts and sensations, but rather is a relatively undifferentiated domain of sensation and perception.

Our parents, having already reached the developmental stage of separate-self consciousness, provide the model by which we begin to develop our own sense of the separate self.

But when we take the developmental step into the consciousness of the separate self and leave behind the universe of immediacy and undifferentiated sensations, as a consequence we also become identified with our sensations. Who is happy? Me. Who is angry, tired, frustrated . . . ? Me. Our feelings acquire names, however, and at the same time, we are defined by those feelings.

The same is true with perception: we may not feel that the sunshine on the trees is me, but we cannot identify it without simultaneously existing as a separate me. In psychological and philosophical theory, this level of consciousness is called “subject-object.” It is the level of ego awareness where most human development stops. We are aware as me, we react as me, we defend as me, we desire as me, but we are not aware of the true self. It is the true self that looks at all we think, do, and experience, including our sense of me. In this looking, a relationship is created that has the power to transform our experience of ourselves and our worlds.

Throughout our lives, the moment we bring our awareness fully into the Now, we enter the domain of the true self, and our immediate conscious reality is once again that of sensation and perception. As I sit in the park, the sunlight brightens the leaves and casts shadows on the ground. I have a feeling of contentment. And as long as “I” don’t create stories about what I am seeing or about the fact that I am feeling content, which leads me away from my immediate experience, what I experience remains simply perception and sensation. The same is true for any feeling, any emotion. In the Now, it is just what it is. In the Now, I “go back” to my original awareness “by the way that [I] have come.” When we directly perceive and experience whatever is present in our larger fields of awareness, it is possible to have a relationship with it without becoming lost in it or defined by it.

Exercising the Power of Awareness

We exercise the power of awareness and strengthen our spiritual muscle by bringing ourselves, over and over again, into the immediate present. To do so, we must become present with what we are feeling and thinking. We can turn our attention directly toward what we are experiencing instead of staying enmeshed in a feeling or blindly accepting our beliefs about ourselves.

It makes all the difference in the world whether we are caught in a negative emotion and say, “I am sad, angry, lonely,” and so on, or are able to recognize, at that moment, “Here am I, all wound up in sensations of resentment. Here am I, fuming with anger.” Awareness of our sensations is not the same as identifying with our thoughts or feelings. Every movement back to present-moment awareness grounds us in the body and opens the connection to our larger awareness.

Even the smallest movement toward exercising the power of awareness, instead of collapsing our larger awareness into our thoughts and feelings and thereby becoming identified with them, restores us to a more complete consciousness. It gives us the power to start from a fresh, open, less conditioned relationship to our experience. This doesn’t necessarily mean that our problems disappear. But as we exercise the power of awareness, our reflexive reactivity diminishes. We respond from a state of greater presence. When we collapse into our feelings, we lose this capacity. We default into me, and this limited self seems like the whole of who we are. Then we have no choice but to react because we feel as if we must defend ourselves.

The Fundamental Relationship

What are we actually doing when we bring our awareness fully into the present and realize “Here am I . . . ”? We are moving into a more spacious awareness and thus creating conscious distance from what we are experiencing. At the same time, we are opening toward our immediate experience to see it as it is, to see it fully, to invite it to reveal itself more completely to us. We are seeing as objectively as we can, without reacting or judging. This lets us more completely realize what we are actually feeling or sensing; we do not merely remain in our heads, interpreting and analyzing.

It is important to point out that moving our awareness into the Now and thereby gaining distance from our feelings and thoughts is not dissociation. A frequent mistake people make with Eastern meditation practices is to try to rise above and detach from an experience, especially whenever the experience is considered negative. To exercise the power of awareness, we are required to become more present in our experiences without losing our larger awareness. With this quality of attention, we gain true understanding. We naturally begin to respond to our experiences in the most appropriate and intelligent ways.

This intimate viewing of ourselves by our awareness is the most fundamental of all relationships. We create the possibility of a conscious, empathetic connection between me (or self) and our true selves, or what is alternatively referred to as the Self. The personal self that we experience as ourselves is held, seen, and felt deeply by that, which will never reject me, never turn away, never judge me. It can see us judging, attacking ourselves, creating our own misery; but it does not judge even this. It is simply present with me.

This presence need not be merely neutral or indifferent. We can let it be our trusted friend, like the Persian mystic poets Hafiz and Rumi did when they referred to it as the “Guest” or the “Beloved,” to whom they offered themselves and who always received them.

The key to cultivating the healing potential of the self-Self relationship is the quality of our attention — the steadiness, gentleness, and acceptance of the “gaze” we turn toward ourselves. We must be truly willing to experience our feelings and clearly see our thoughts without reaction, allowing the moment to be exactly as it is without defending ourselves against these feelings and thoughts, without our minds moving away into further thought. Then that which transcends our capacity to name or categorize it in any way, is present to us and has the same accepting quality that we present to ourselves. This is also the essence of meditation and prayer. By keeping our attention in the present moment, we can become transparent to what is transcendent. It is the Self’s profoundly empathetic acceptance of self that ultimately sustains us when we face our deepest fears, including even our egos’ primal terror, nonbeing.

Copyright Richard Moss, MD. Richard Moss is an internationally respected teacher, visionary thinker, and author of five seminal books on transformation, self-healing, and the importance of living consciously. For thirty years he has guided people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines in the use of the power of awareness to realize their intrinsic wholeness and reclaim the wisdom of their true selves. He teaches a practical philosophy of consciousness that models how to integrate spiritual practice and psychological self-inquiry into a concrete and fundamental transformation of people’s lives. Richard lives in Ojai, California, with his wife, Ariel.

 


Published on Feb 27, 2016

Richard describes one of the key ways in which we avoid being present to ourselves and others. With the essential insight shared in this short video, you can change how your relate to everyone in your life.


Published on Jan 17, 2016

Join Richard as he discusses how the process of violent political and religious “radicalization” can be both understood as well as potentially prevented through appreciation of a similar process of disease creation and healing that occurs in our bodies. Learn how the keys to neutralizing the danger of free radical formation, which is a major cause of inflammatory and autoimmune disease as well as cancer, holds important insight for how we can do the same to prevent the violence of radicalization in human society.

Photo credit: Laughing Goat Studio

We are not born, in essence, American, French, Japanese, Christian, Muslim, or Jew. These labels are attached to us according to where on the planet our births happen to take place, or these labels are imposed upon us because they indicate our families’ belief systems.

We are not born with an innate sense of distrust of others. We do not enter life with the belief that God is external to us, watching us, judging us, loving us, or simply being indifferent to our plight. We do not suckle at the breast with shame about our bodies or with racial prejudice already brewing in our hearts. We do not emerge from our mothers’ wombs believing that competition and domination are essential to survival. Nor are we born believing that somehow we must validate whatever our parents consider to be right and true.

How do children come to believe that they are indispensable to their parents’ well-being, and that they therefore must become the champions of their parents’ unfulfilled dreams, fulfilling them by becoming the good daughter or the responsible son? How many people revolt against their parents’ relationships by condemning themselves to lives of cynicism about the possibility for real love? In how many ways will members of one generation after another efface their own true natures in order to be loved, successful, approved of, powerful, and safe, not because of who they are in essence, but because they have adapted themselves to others? And how many will become part of the detritus of the cultural norm, living in poverty, disenfranchisement, or alienation?

We are not born anxious for our survival. How is it, then, that pure ambition and the accumulation of wealth and power are ideals in our culture, when to live for them is all too often a soulless pursuit that condemns one to a path of unending stress, which fails to address or heal the core, unconscious feeling of insufficiency?

All such internalized attitudes and belief systems have been cultivated in us. Others have modeled them for us and trained us in them. This indoctrination takes place both directly and indirectly. In our homes, schools, and religious institutions, we are explicitly told who we are, what life is about, and how we should perform. Indirect indoctrination occurs as we absorb subconsciously whatever is consistently emphasized or demonstrated by our parents and other caregivers when we are very young.

As children we are like fine crystal glasses that vibrate to a singer’s voice. We resonate with the emotional energy that surrounds us, unable to be sure what part is us — our own true feelings and likes or dislikes — and what part is others. We are keen observers of our parents’ and other adults’ behavior toward us and toward each other. We experience how they communicate through their facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, actions, and so on, and we can recognize — though not consciously when we are young — when their expressions and their feelings are congruent or not. We are immediate barometers for emotional hypocrisy. When our parents are saying or doing one thing, but we perceive that they mean something else, it confuses and distresses us. Over time these emotional “disconnects” continue to threaten our developing sense of self, and we begin to devise our own strategies for psychological security in attempts to protect ourselves.

None of this is accompanied by our conscious understanding of what we are doing, but we quickly deduce what our parents value and what evokes their approval or disapproval. We readily learn which of our own behaviors they respond to in ways that make us feel loved or unloved, worthy or unworthy. We begin to adapt ourselves by acquiescence, rebellion, or withdrawal.

As children we do not initially approach our worlds with our parents’ biases and prejudices about what is good or bad. We express our true selves spontaneously and naturally. But early on, this expression begins to collide with what our parents encourage or discourage in our self-expression. All of us become conscious of our earliest sense of self in the context of their fears, hopes, wounds, beliefs, resentments, and control issues and of their ways of nurturing, whether loving, suffocating, or neglecting. This mostly unconscious socializing process is as old as human history. When we are children and our parents view us through the lens of their own adaptations to life, we as unique individuals remain more or less invisible to them. We learn to become whatever helps make us visible to them, to be whatever brings us the most comfort and least discomfort. We adapt and survive as best we can in this emotional climate.

Our strategic response results in the formation of a survival personality that does not express much of our individual essence. We falsify who we are in order to maintain some level of connection to those whom we require in order to meet our needs for attention, nurturance, approval, and security.

Children are marvels of adaptation. They quickly learn that, if acquiescence produces the best response, then being supportive and agreeable provides the best chance for emotional survival. They grow up to be pleasers, excellent providers for the needs of others, and they see their loyalty as a virtue more important than their own needs. If rebellion seems to be the best path to diminishing discomfort while also gaining attention, then they become combative and build their identities by pushing their parents away. Their fight for autonomy may later make them nonconformists unable to accept the authority of others, or they may require conflict in order to feel alive. If withdrawal works best, then children become more introverted and escape into imaginary worlds. Later in life, this survival adaptation may cause them to live so deeply in their own beliefs that they are unable to make space for others to know them or to emotionally touch them.

Because survival is at the root of the false self, fear is its true god. And because in the Now we cannot be in control of our situations, only in relationship with it, the survival personality is poorly suited to the Now. It tries to create the life it believes it should be living and, in so doing, does not fully experience the life it is living. Our survival personalities have identities to maintain that are rooted in the early childhood escape from threat. This threat comes from the disjunction between how we experience ourselves as children and what we learn to be, in response to our parents’ mirroring and expectations.

Infancy and early childhood are governed by two primary drives: The first is the necessity to bond with our mothers or other important caregivers. The second is the drive to explore, to learn about and discover our worlds.

The physical and emotional bond between mother and baby is necessary not only for the child’s survival but also because the mother is the first cultivator of the baby’s sense of self. She cultivates it by how she holds and caresses her baby; by her tone of voice, her gaze, and her anxiety or calmness; and by how she re inforces or squelches her child’s spontaneity. When the overall quality of her attention is loving, calm, supportive, and respectful, the baby knows that it is safe and all right in itself. As the child gets older, more of his or her true self emerges as the mother continues to express approval and set necessary boundaries without shaming or threatening the child. In this way her positive mirroring cultivates the child’s essence and helps her child to trust itself.

In contrast, when a mother is frequently impatient, hurried, distracted, or even resentful of her child, the bonding process is more tentative and the child feels unsafe. When a mother’s tone of voice is cold or harsh, her touch brusque, insensitive, or uncertain; when she is unresponsive to her child’s needs or cries or cannot set aside her own psychology to make enough space for the child’s unique personality, this is interpreted by the child as meaning that something must be wrong with him or her. Even when neglect is unintentional, as when a mother’s own exhaustion prevents her from nurturing as well as she would like to, this unfortunate situation can still cause a child to feel unloved. As a result of any of these actions, children can begin to internalize a sense of their own insufficiency.

Until recently, when many women have become working mothers, fathers have tended to transmit to us our sense of the world beyond the home. We wondered where Daddy was all day. We noticed whether he returned home tired, angry, and depressed or satisfied and enthusiastic. We absorbed his tone of voice as he spoke about his day; we felt the outside world through his energy, his complaints, worries, anger, or enthusiasm. Slowly we internalized his spoken or other representations of the world into which he so frequently disappeared, and all too often this world appeared to be threatening, unfair, “a jungle.” If this impression of potential danger from the outside world combines with an emerging sense of being wrong and insufficient, then the child’s core identity — his or her earliest relationship to the self — becomes one of fearfulness and distrust. As gender roles are changing, both men and working mothers perform aspects of the fathering function for their children, and some men perform aspects of mothering. We could say that in a psychological sense mothering cultivates our earliest sense of self, and how we mother ourselves throughout life strongly influences how we hold ourselves when faced with emotional pain. Fathering, on the other hand, has to do with our vision of the world and how empowered we believe ourselves to be as we implement our own personal visions in the world.

Day by day throughout childhood, we explore our worlds. As we move out into our environment, our parents’ capacity to support our process of discovery and to mirror our attempts in ways that are neither overprotective nor neglectful depends on their own consciousness. Are they proud of us as we are? Or do they reserve their pride for the things we do that fit their image for us or that make them look like good parents? Do they encourage our own assertiveness, or interpret it as disobedience and quell it? When a parent delivers reprimands in a way that shames the child — as so many generations of generally male authorities have recommended doing — a confused and disturbed inner reality is generated in that child. No child can separate the frightful bodily intensity of shame from his or her own sense of self. So the child feels wrong, unlovable, or deficient. Even when parents have the best intentions, they frequently meet their child’s tentative steps into the world with responses that seem anxious, critical, or punitive. More important, those responses are often perceived by the child as implicitly distrustful of who he or she is.

As children we cannot differentiate our parents’ psychological limitations from the effects they cause in us. We cannot protect ourselves by means of self-reflection so that we can arrive at compassion and understanding for them and ourselves, because we do not yet have the awareness to do so. We cannot know that our frustration, insecurity, anger, shame, neediness, and fear are just feelings, not the totality of our beings. Feelings seem simply good or bad to us, and we want more of the former and less of the latter. So gradually, within the context of our early environment, we wake up to our first conscious sense of self as if materializing out of a void, and without understanding the origins of our own confusion and insecurity about ourselves.

Each of us, in a certain sense, develops our earliest understanding of who we are within the emotional and psychological “fields” of our parents, much as iron filings on a sheet of paper become aligned in a pattern determined by a magnet underneath it. Some of our essence remains intact, but much of it has to be forfeited in order to ensure that, as we express ourselves and venture out to discover our worlds, we don’t antagonize our parents and risk the loss of essential bonding. Our childhoods are like the proverbial Procrustean bed. We “lie down” in our parents’ sense of reality, and if we are too “short” — that is, too fearful, too needy, too weak, not smart enough, and so on, by their standards — they “stretch” us. It can happen in a hundred ways. They might order us to stop crying or shame us by telling us to grow up. Alternatively, they might try to encourage us to stop crying by telling us everything is all right and how wonderful we are, which still indirectly suggests that how we are feeling is wrong. Of course, we also “stretch” ourselves — by trying to meet their standards in order to maintain their love and approval. If, on the other hand, we are too “tall” — that is, too assertive, too involved in our own interests, too curious, too boisterous, and so on — they “shorten” us, using much the same tactics: criticism, scolding, shame, or warnings about problems we will have later in life. Even in the most loving families, in which parents have only the best intentions, a child may lose a significant measure of his or her innate spontaneous and authentic nature without either the parent or the child realizing what has happened.

As a result of these circumstances, an environment of angst is unconsciously born within us, and, at the same time, we begin a lifetime of ambivalence about intimacy with others. This ambivalence is an internalized insecurity that can leave us forever dreading both the loss of intimacy that we fear would surely occur if we somehow dared to be authentic, and the suffocating sense of being dispossessed of our innate character and natural self-expression if we were to allow intimacy.

As children we begin to create a submerged reservoir of unacknowledged, nonintegrated feelings that pollute our earliest sense of who we are, feelings like being insufficient, unlovable, or unworthy. To compensate for these, we build up a coping strategy called, in psychoanalytic theory, the idealized self. It is the self we imagine we should be or can be. We soon start to believe we are this idealized self, and we compulsively continue to attempt to be it, while avoiding anything that brings us face to face with the distressing feelings we have buried.

Sooner or later, however, these buried and rejected feelings resurface, usually in the relationships that seem to promise the intimacy we so desperately crave. But while these close relationships initially offer great promise, eventually they also expose our insecurities and fears. Since we all carry the imprint of childhood wounding to some degree, and therefore bring a false, idealized self into the space of our relationships, we are not starting from our true selves. Inevitably, any close relationship we create will begin to unearth and amplify the very feelings that we, as children, managed to bury and temporarily escape.

Our parents’ ability to support and encourage the expression of our true selves depends on how much of their attention comes to us from a place of authentic presence. When parents unconsciously live from their false and idealized senses of self, they cannot recognize that they are projecting their unexamined expectations for themselves onto their children. As a result, they cannot appreciate the spontaneous and authentic nature of a young child and allow it to remain intact. When parents inevitably become uncomfortable with their children because of the parents’ own limitations, they attempt to change their children instead of themselves. Without recognizing what is happening, they provide a reality for their children that is hospitable to the children’s essence only to the extent that the parents have been able to discover a home in themselves for their own essence.

All of the above may help to explain why so many marriages fail and why much that is written about relationships in popular culture is idealized. As long as we protect our idealized selves, we are going to have to keep imagining ideal relationships. I doubt they exist. But what does exist is the possibility to start from whom we really are and to invite mature connections that bring us closer to psychological healing and true wholeness.

Excerpt: The above is an excerpt from the book The Mandala of Being by Richard Moss, MD, Published by New World Library; January 2007;$15.95 VIEW HERE
US; 978-1-57731-572-8

Copyright © 2007 Richard Moss, MD

_______________________

Richard Moss, MD, is an internationally respected teacher, visionary thinker, and author of five seminal books on transformation, self-healing, and the importance of living consciously. For thirty years he has guided people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines in the use of the power of awareness to realize their intrinsic wholeness and reclaim the wisdom of their true selves. He teaches a practical philosophy of consciousness that models how to integrate spiritual practice and psychological self-inquiry into a concrete and fundamental transformation of people’s lives. Richard lives in Ojai , California , with his wife, Ariel.

Source: Of Spirit

1. Redefining Progress

As a student of history what I see in the progress of human cultural evolution is the continuing belief in the illusion of separateness and the simultaneous survival impulse that belief creates. When separateness dominates consciousness, “Me” trumps “You.” “Mine” trumps “Yours.” “Ours” trumps “Theirs.” And the needs of humankind continue to trump the inherent rights and dignity of every other form of life.

In all of human cultural evolution can we actually credit ourselves as conscious beings since belief in the separate self and obedience to self-interest is so instinctual? Even when bolstered by the highest levels of education or when we seemingly prove our intelligence by achieving exceptional success (in consensus terms) should we credit ourselves and such capacities as demonstrating true consciousness? Maybe the best we can say – and it would certainly do our collective human grandiosity that is sucking the life out of the earth a great deal of good – is to acknowledge that such basic human behavior is only conscious within a relatively narrow context.

The consciousness we need today to overcome the illusion of separateness and the consequent unconscious slavery to self-interest begins when we are aware of our survival instinct in all its manifestations: material, intellectual, emotional, psychological, and religious, and can more completely witness the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are based in this illusion. Then we can begin to make choices that ally us with all of life and our own lives become lived primarily as servants to the whole and not as sovereigns over whatever lesser domain we stake out for ourselves.

2. The Greatness of Lincoln
In his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln simply and eloquently stated the consecration for which the Civil War was being fought: “All men are created equal, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth.”

He knew that constitutional self-government belonged not just to the United States, but needed to continue to stand as example for all humanity for millennia to come. It could not be forfeit to economic self-interest and especially not to such self-interest built on the back of slavery. He spoke to the souls of those who were willing to live and die for a profound principle.

We must each discover the profound principle – beyond self-interest – to which our lives are consecrated. Only then are we spiritually born. – Richard Moss

3.Buddha and Jesus
Buddha and Jesus have some historical reality, but even their historical reality is highly controversial, or more to the point, their existence is presumed and essential invented based on the interpretation given to whatever historical textual evidence still remains. The key point for me is that who or what Jesus or Buddha may be is completely imagined/invented by each and every person. So you (meaning everyone) create your imagined Buddha or Jesus and give those creations meaning… and in so doing you create yourself. That is you create what matters to you, what gives you meaning, what you want to follow of consecrate your life too, etc.

It is of no matter to me spending any time on intellectual clarifications about whether they “live on within us,” or are “dead and buried”; these are just intellectual imaginings – personal creations of one, or two (or innumerable) intellects arguing (or let’s be more polite – discussing or positing) their own imaginings. Why then do so few people admit that it is only their imaginings, their thinking, and nothing whatsoever can be known about Buddha or Buddhism, or Jesus or Christianity that isn’t the creation of the thinker? And if you take scripture as truth or God’s word, that too is just what you imagine to be true. And that imagining creates the rigidity or openness that your own interpretation creates or someone else’s interpretation that you might follow creates.

So feel free to imagine anything you want about Jesus or Buddha, because how you imagine them is how you create you – your values, your behaviors, your adherences, etc. The “dharma” is a creation of many people who have done their own imagining and thereby influenced the imagining of others. I do not mean to trivialize the richness and wisdom with which some people have thought/imagined the depths of figures like Buddha and Jesus and the richness with which they have imagined the teachings they associate(d) with their names. The dharma you follow is the dharma you believe in and thus the dharma that creates/influences you. To be a follower trying to get the teaching right or the interpretation of the meaning of Buddha or Jesus right based upon someone else’s past imaginings, is to be a person either limited in imagination, or who is afraid to acknowledge that he or she is truly the creator of his own reality. Too much responsibility for most people; too scary to realize that you are the beginning, middle, and end and nothing that you believe is anything more than what you believe. Of course belief is powerful (and unavoidable) because its truth is not something that can ever be proved, but instead resides in how you feel and how you behave because of what you believe. Plus if you can find a community that thinks that way you do or to which you are willing (usually it is a matter of need) to adhere your thinking, then you have the important social support of a community, very essential to our hypothalamic level of consciousness. Unfortunately, these communities usually find some way to imagine themselves as distinct and generally superior to other communities, so we are back into the security of identity ratified by numbers and the resulting conflicts that then ensue.

Just for the record, I imagine that Buddha and Jesus realized that they were the creations of whatever they created and therefore lost all (or most) identification with any mental object. Therefore they lived in their bodies, but those bodies were not aroused by thinking and therefore we inseparable from the whole of their environment: inner and outer a single one. And imagine this because gradually it is where I live most of the time.

As for the Holy Spirit, feel free to imagine its existence and significance in any way you want. These quasi-historical beings and all the symbolism developed around them have profound importance in that they generally invite a deeper contemplation than say dwelling on smudges on the refrigerator. But then, Walt Whitman dwelled on grass and very, very few have been more profound or eloquent. And as Jesus is purported to have said in the Gospel of Thomas – “Pick up a stone and you will find me there”- this seems to suggest that go deep enough into anything and will bring you to the “all and everything.”

As to why Buddhism is more popular or attractive than Christianity today in the West and especially for younger people, for me that answer is that Buddhism teaches through experience; look for example at your experience of the retreat you describe. Their methodology is to create the experiences or the awareness or the states, whatever way we want to describe a shift of consciousness that invite a new way of organizing information, new insight, new sense of self, etc. They don’t waste too much energy on symbols and intellectual pronouncements, especially Zen. It is the way that I teach: the philosophy is unimportant; what you do with the experiences I invite people into is what potentially opens them to new levels of consciousness and invites them to be their own teachers.

Once you are teaching yourself in everyday life, with what is emerging/lived moment by moment, there is no longer any reason to seek out any teaching. The present is all that is. If you are your own teacher you know you are inventing/imagining the meaning of your experience and that is what every other person has done so you can pay more attention to your own imaginings and not be so distracted or enticed by others. You are free, though where others have gone in their imaginings can be very stimulating. But I suppose, the fear of standing in one’s own light is always hiding there deep down and until we learn to be very inventive with fear, we will imagine that there is a way to follow something that will liberate us from fear, or just plain liberate us. We become the prisoners of the very paths we choses to follow until we know that there is not path, there is only the step we are taking. – Richard Moss


Published on Dec 22, 2015

Richard sends a message of hope and optimism for celebrating this holiday season. Despite the emphasis on conflict and violence so prevalent in the media, there is a steady and inevitable self-transcending aspect to our consciousness that is steadily, albeit gradually, overcoming our old survival based psychology.


Richard Moss is an internationally respected leader in the field of inner transformation, subtle body-mind dynamics, and living a path of conscious relationships.

In 1977 Richard was a practicing medical doctor when he experienced a spontaneous spiritual illumination that awakened him to the multi-dimensional nature of human consciousness. This realization profoundly transformed his understanding of the roots of emotional suffering, and inspired him to explore the almost limitless human potential for growth and healing.

Impelled by this opening, he released the practice of medicine to devote his life to mentoring individuals and couples whose lives have brought them to the point where they hunger to explore the mystery of their being. Whether called to his work by their soul’s yearning to awaken and grow, or impelled by a health, career, or relationship crisis, his comprehensive and evolutionary approach to healing and forging loving relationships has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of people.

He is particularly renowned for the innovative, experiential nature of his workshops and longer retreats that offer individuals direct experience of life-changing states of consciousness and provide them with very effective models and practices for on-going personal growth.

He guides seminars and retreats in North and South America, Europe, and Australia, and is available for private mentoring for individuals at his home in Colorado.

He has published 7 seminal books on his visionary approach to human evolution which have been translated into 6 languages.

Website: http://richardmoss.com

Books: Inside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence The Mandala of Being: Discovering the Power of Awareness The Black Butterfly: An Invitation to Radical Aliveness The I That Is We: Awakening to Higher Energies Through Unconditional Love The Second Miracle: Intimacy, Spirituality, and Conscious Relationships Metaphysics: Who Will Cure a Sick World?

Interview recorded 12/5/2015

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