Called “one of the most important teachers of transformational knowledge” by Marianne Williamson, in 1977 Richard Moss was a practicing physician when he experienced a spontaneous state of illumination that irreversibly changed his life and profoundly transformed his understanding of human consciousness and behavior. With this opening came a new level of sensibility including “a heightened intuition, subtle insight into mystical and spiritual teachings, and the ability to sense human body-energy fields.”
Impelled by this opening and its intensity which required virtually continuous self-examination, he took a sabbatical from his medical practice and began a period of withdrawal from his usual activities for nearly a year. During this time he spontaneously meditated for hours each day and read extensively in spiritual and psychoanalytic literature, as well as poetry, and mythology. Above all, he made a careful observation of the new quality of energy moving in his body, and how his thoughts instantly generated emotions and sensations.
From this introspective period grew his understanding that the root cause of most unnecessary human suffering and conflict comes from two basic forms of ignorance: Unquestioned identification with thinking, especially our judgments and beliefs, and secondly, the general inability in most people to engage threatening feeling in an aware, vulnerable, and creative way. He also began to recognize the presence of the inner teacher, especially through dreams. He realized that he was being guided through this unknown territory by his dreams. Thus began his study and contemplation of dreams, which is a central part of his teaching, and his immense respect for the wisdom that dwells in each of us.
Richard never returned to medicine, but he had been a loved physician and eventually a few of his former patients looked him up and began consulting with him at his home. He would sit with them, holding hands in silence for long periods, and then begin to see what spontaneously emerged in their discussions. When a local psychotherapist noticed profound changes in two of her clients who had come to meditate with Richard, she organized a seminar for herself and her colleagues in order for Richard to share what he was discovering. So began his work with individuals and groups which he has pursued and developed for 35 years.
While there have been many important influences in his life, his work evolved independent of any specific spiritual or religious traditions. His teaching is a path of transformation and conscious living that is accessible to anyone. What you will receive when you join him in his workshops or retreats does not depend on taking on any new belief system or joining any organization; there is no pressure whatsoever for you to change yourself until you do so naturally out of your own insight. His work is about catalyzing you to live as fully and creatively as you were born to live. It is an invitation to what he calls “radical aliveness” – a vitality and intelligence that comes from our deepest being.
Richard’s teaching draws from a broad range of approaches to human understanding both Western and Eastern, and he has the special gift of being able to communicate the foundational insights of these diverse traditions in a contemporary and ever-fresh way. No two talks or workshops offered by Richard are the same even when they address similar themes. Each one brings the teaching forward in an original and living way. He has the rare capacity to induct his audience into the state of consciousness from which he is speaking. His words emerge from such a timeless and universal place that people report feeling as if he is reading their minds and speaking directly to their immediate needs and issues.
Richard offers his teaching through his talks, through 3 – 5 “Deep Work” intensive seminars, and through his 10-day “Radical Aliveness Retreats”. His teaching style can be very direct, but is always respectful. Between sessions he is easily approachable and enjoys sharing meals with participants. In all of his programs, he guides participants into a profound connection to their essential selves. His goal is that you don’t just follow his or anyone’s work, but that you learn to become your own teacher. He is renowned for the experiential richness of his programs. Participants learn directly to experience their multi-dimensional consciousness and how to recognize and free themselves from limiting beliefs. He teaches an awareness approach to threatening feelings, particularly fear in all its guises, so that you learn to meet these darker spaces in creative, liberating ways.
All of the tools and practices you will learn are designed to be flexible and pragmatic and easily adaptable to your life upon your return home. This is a work that addresses your whole being: body, mind, feelings, energy, and the ineffable mystery of your essence, in order to effect essential and lasting change.
In all the longer retreats Richard is supported by a team of experienced former students so that participants receive skillful individual attention. Many of the people who have worked with Richard over the years are among his closest friends, and the community of individuals who have experienced his work is worldwide. While some of his programs are specifically for individuals who have worked previously with him, there is no hierarchy between beginner and advanced students. There are only degrees of familiarity with his work and friendships that have evolved organically over time.
Richard’s longer retreats and many of the shorter Deep Work intensive seminars take place in carefully selected venues exceptional for their access to nature. Richard knows that natural environments have the uncanny ability to unexpectedly mirror moments of insight – perhaps via the call of a bird – and that nature is the best mirror for the wholeness and beauty of every person’s true self.
The I That Is We: Awakening to Higher Energies Through Unconditional Love.(1981)
How Shall I Live: Transforming Any Health Crisis Into Greater Aliveness, (1985)
The Black Butterfly: An Invitation to Radical Aliveness (1987)
The Second Miracle: Intimacy, Spirituality, and Conscious Relationships (1995)
Words That Shine Both Ways (1998)
The Mandala of Being: Discovering the Power of Awareness (2007)
Inside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence. (2011)
Two interviews with Richard Moss:
A good example of Richard’s teachings can be found in his article How We Become Who We Are Not, found online here:
Some further quotes from Richard:
“The greatest gift we give each other is the quality of our attention. I feel spiritual maturity is our capacity for intimacy. Not our capacity for altered states, not our capacity for clairvoyance, not our capacity for entering into or breaking through into other dimensions of consciousness, but our capacity to meet each other. I don’t mean in “relationship” the way we traditionally use the word: that special thing we have with one person. But rather, the capacity to be in relationship to our feelings, to our bodies, to our thoughts, to the mystery — that which is beyond thought — whatever you want to call it: the Tao, God.”
“When our minds are unconsciously in the future, the present disappears; it is simply not available to us. We substitute heading toward our lives for actually living.”
“The Now is not an ultimate state to be realized but rather a continuum to be lived.”
“The psychic component of the healing process, which in many situations is the most important component, is not well-addressed by modern medicine. When you walk into a physician’s office, you walk into a relationship with a human being, who by a touch, smile or nod of the head can uplift you quite profoundly. Whether or not that happens depends upon what that physician has lived in himself or herself.”
“Fear is a break in the relationship to myself, a loss of connection, as if somehow I have been cut off from the core of myself. Fear is, part of time, the loss of the future I imagined, and from people to share it with. Fear is a contraction away from relationship in the present. To heal fear, paradoxically, is not to fight against it, but to enter a relationship with it.”
“The first step toward forgiveness begins by recognizing that you are much larger than just your wounded persona, that you have the power to stop giving yourself away to emotional contraction the sinking or exploding feeling, the tightening in the body, collapsing into anger or worthlessness. When you contract, and then react like this, you are already the victim. But when you begin to take conscious responsibility for your own suffering instead of contracting and reacting you meet this suffering consciously, instead of blaming anyone else and this conscious suffering gradually leads you to disengage from the whole structure of victim and woundedness. You can try to make yourself forgive through an act of will. But when forgiveness starts as an idea, it may seem noble and wise, but it is still a defense against the painful feelings. And forgiveness is not a defense; it is a kind of enlightenment. When something is truly forgiven, there is no longer a trace inside your psyche that hooks you back into the pain and reaction. When that happens, those around you heal, too. In all relationships, but especially strong in families, energetic patterns link us to one another. When a pattern no longer has any place inside me, it ceases to have energy in others, and they begin to change.”
“Trust life to lead us and live us.”
“For me, spiritual practice is the ultimate expression of sanity. Can there be healing without sanity? And sanity is relationship. Spiritual practice brings us into relationship with ourselves, and this cannot help but bring us closer to each other. And this growing intimacy is aliveness, is energy, is spirit. Energy is trapped in ignorance, in repetitive patterns of self-protection. This unconscious repression of our aliveness weakens us physically and psychologically. It makes us see our world as though it were outside and other. That’s when the “enemy” is born and so much pain, so much destructiveness and suffering. Spiritual traditions give us finely honed tools and the invaluable understanding of those great ones who have come before us. But authentic spiritual practice is also always original. You live originally, and you are healthy regardless of the condition of your body.”
“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.”
“I define enlightenment very simply. It’s not a question of whether you are in a state of unitive consciousness or satori, or subject collapses into object, or you’ve had a kundalini opening. Any of that may be part and parcel of a process, but as an epi-phenomenon of something else. If you want to find someone who’s enlightened, look for a person who has a deep understanding of human nature. The paradox of it is that the ones who claim to be absolutely enlightened create some of the most psychologically crippling relationships, which to me is a sure sign that, while they may have experienced an extraordinary phenomenon, it hasn’t deepened into real profound humility or acceptance of the human condition. I made myself miserable when I said that I was enlightened, enough to know that I’m not enlightened, or that enlightenment is a process — an ongoing, forever process.”
“Just like we are discovering the secrets of the atom and of the gene, we are discovering the secrets of the self. And to discover the secrets of the self, we need each other. We need the mirror that each of us is for that. We need to do this work with one another where we don’t presume I’m better than you or you’re worse than me — I’m the healer, you’re the healee. In fact, we’re healer and healee to each other. Just change the context and then the person who is in need becomes the source who helps someone else. You might be a great healer, but if you’re lost in New York, go find a taxi driver. And while that’s a simple image, we’re so busy making some people special and making ourselves not, and that’s not the healthiest way for us to come together. The more we romanticize the mystery, the more we cloak it in metaphysical stuff, the further and further we get from really vulnerably living what we need to learn to live with each other. As a healer myself, I was teaching people about energy and reaching states of consciousness where I would hug someone and they would pass out on the spot. Or my handprints would be left on their body after doing a laying on of hands. I finally realized that that doesn’t mean anything. No one can go home and live it. And it didn’t help me in my marriage. And it certainly didn’t help me with my kids. So don’t throw that away — it’s neat. Great. But don’t cower behind the cloak of the mystic, and don’t put on the safe identity of the healer.”
“For some people Mother Teresa is a spiritual hero. But on what basis? I think it’s harder to live with a spouse than it is to take care of the sick of the world. We’re seducing ourselves into thinking that certain types of archetypically good behaviors are really what people should be living. Maybe we have to say, “She is truly authentic to her own nature.” And there’s no way on earth for you to know that. The only person that needs to be concerned with that is Mother Teresa. What is a life well lived? Who’s a spiritual hero? Who are we going to look to? These are really deep questions. I know of a woman who had 16 pregnancies and raised 13 kids. I met four of her children — each one of them is an extraordinary human being. And I thought to myself, “No one is ever going to sing your story. You’re not going to be up there on a throne enrobed with your rich female insights.” And yet I don’t know that what she did isn’t as great as anything that’s been done by any spiritual master. A family of healthy human beings — that’s a pretty extraordinary thing.”
“I’m quite an optimist, because what I’ve seen over and over again is that you take people from all different walks of life and all different levels of development and when you put them together you see the revelation of intelligence that is greater than any single intelligence. And they see it in each other and they become disciples of it. I think there’s a lot of places where there’s so much fear inside of us that we want to become special and we get seduced by metaphysical glamour. It’s a stage we pass through and we see that it didn’t really help us live any closer to our spouses or our friends and it didn’t really make us more able to love or to receive love. Let’s get undressed. Let’s find out why we’re so afraid. The ego is a disciple of fear. I think there is a responsibility not to be seduced by fear. Our responsibility is to keep our connection to ourselves, and to live from that connection.”
“It’s really important to be grounded in our bodies. You don’t build spirituality and consciousness on good ideas — you build it on a cellular sense of well-being in the body. It’s pretty hard to have it without learning how to really be touched. I think most of the work is to get us to a place where it feels wonderful to be in a body. For instance, very few people are doing zazen with other people. We sit and we do our meditation with our soft eyes looking down at the floor, or we face the wall with closed eyes. And then, the minute we’re with a person, we forget virtually everything and we put back on our psychical clothing: the need to be understood and to understand, the need to be safe, the need to be recognized. We’re so quickly dressed, and very little energy moves between us. We do these exercises where we teach ourselves how to be available to the deeper energy, and we walk back home and we put back on the old clothes again. After twenty years of teaching people about energy, I find that most people then hide in that energy: “I know how to do it, and now I can give it to you, and you receive it from me.” We have hundreds of thousands of years of people working with energy, so how come if we’ve experienced so much we’ve learned so little? Because we build another identity out of all of this. The ego can co-opt anything. We go into a place which shows us new dimensions of consciousness and we construct new identities right there — we rest our heads once again. We’ve got great words for it — shaman, healer, teacher — we’re always hiding. And I guess in reality in our world we need to do it. But what if you yourself didn’t need to? What if you just didn’t care what someone saw in you, because your relationship was already there, deeply imbedded in mystery between you and the infinite?”
“Slow down. Take more time. Don’t be in a rush at all. I think that feeling a simple openness is the healthiest thing. Urgency to fix our planet can produce disciples to fear, instead of the compassionate giving of oneself to play in the adventure of life. The minute that I start to see that I’m cutting myself off from resting, playing, spending time with my children, being with my wife, I say, “Whoops!” When my business overhead got too big, I said, “This isn’t worth it. I’m working too hard and I’m not really celebrating.” I could feel my body beginning to lose that current that’s most always there. Slow down and live in the present moment.”