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    • Richard Holdsworth
    • I was born in Yorkshire, England and live near Philadelphia, USA. I am a former merchant mariner; professional writer and community college teacher; I retired from a career in juvenile justice. I have been involved in numerous social causes and explored various religions, sects and cults.

      My spiritual growth began with a dramatic conversion to Christianity in 1963, and subsequent old-style evangelism before I questioned restrictive dogma. I have written a collection of meditations, prayers and contemporary canticles that have been used for innovative worship services.

      In my writing I use modern language, psychologically sound principles and contemporary concepts to express and develop well-established themes. I attempt to make ancient wise precepts relevant for contemporary living. Although I use new perspectives, wisdom does not change.

Wisdom Does Not Change: Sages, Saints and Science Share the Way – Part 6

Part 6 of a 6-Part Series - Prioritize, Don’t Pursue

In an online course entitled, “A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment”, Week 1 Video 10: Prioritize but d not pursue Happiness, Rajagopal Raghunathan recommends that for greater fulfillment we should prioritize goals, rather than pursue them. He demonstrates what this means by using sleep as an example. To prioritize sleep we should do what brings a restful night—exercise, good diet and no arguing before bedtime! We cannot find good sleep by simply going to bed and willfully pursuing it; that will likely keep us awake! And this principle can be applied to other dilemmas; Overeaters Anonymous, for example advises members not to pursue weight loss but to prioritize abstinence and working their Twelve Step program. All healing platforms affirm: illumination by any name is a reward for doing what enables it.

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Wisdom Does Not Change: Sages, Saints and Science Share the Way – Part 5

Part 5 of 6-Part Series: Like Drinking Poison

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” (Carrie Fisher). Although the other person won’t die, resentment does poison Good. Yet we guard our resentments against a touch of forgiveness as if our lives depended upon it! In a state of resentment all forgiveness retreats to a mental blank spot. But forgiving is the only way to fully recover from the effects of toxic resentment. Through doctrines and teachings all major faiths advocate for forgiveness as essential for faith fulfillment. In secular life too forgiveness is recognized as necessary for well-being. But forgiveness has not always meant what it does today.

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Wisdom Does Not Change: Sages, Saints and Science Share the Way – Part 4

Part 4 of a 6-Part Series: The Intellect is not Boss

In every waking moment we make choices: mostly with sensible decisions based on coherent information with due consideration for consequences. But intellect alone does not control thinking. Neuroscientists point out that our actual ‘brainpower’ lies in signals between 86 billion unique neurons. Their intricate networks communicate, relay, and integrate signals within and between regions of the brain. These regions function with changing strengths and different information for various purposes. Their electrochemical impulses act and react with a barrage of rational, emotional, social, cultural, environmental, and physiological influences. Galaxies of neural forces evaluate risks and benefits in every choice.

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Wisdom Does Not Change: Sages, Saints and Science Share the Way – Part 3

Part 3 of 6-Part Series: Tapping the Quiet Mind

Tapping the Quiet Mind might be as simple as stepping back from a situation to take a few deep breaths, just zoning out, or the practice of meditation. But one way or another we all need to escape from demands, distractions and disturbances. A Quiet Mind lets us pause to enjoy some peace and quiet. In quietude we become detached from outward thinking to be ‘here’, and relinquish the past and future in favor of ‘now’.

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Wisdom Does Not Change: Sages, Saints and Science Share the Way – Part 2

Part 2 of 6-Part Series: Conscious effort alone does not fulfill us

Our conscious thoughts seek to make sense of life, analyze problems and reach decisions. And they affect how we act: we transfer what we think to those around us. Angry thoughts, for example produce angry interactions. Peaceful minds, however develop peaceful attitudes; and these bring greater fulfillment. But peace cannot be achieved by its conscious pursuit; it is found in a Quiet Mind. Unlike conscious, intellectual thinking that asserts self-interest, the Quiet Mind is a source of ‘Not Self’. Not Self really means Not as Selfish; to think less of yourself and about yourself. And this can bring us fulfillment in ways that transcend intellectualization.

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Wisdom Does Not Change: Sages, Saints and Science Share the Way – Part 1

Part 1 of a 6-Part Series: We are not as in control of our lives as we assume

We experience the sun differently each day; but its heat does not change. In the same way, we experience busy thoughts each day, but wisdom does not change. We use those thoughts to make sense of our various outlooks, but we need our quietude to find wisdom.

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Good Day

Our Good is born in purity
As we awaken, each short day
This Good survives through struggles,
Tackles fears
Faces tests
Within the loud affray

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Greetings for Peace

A responsive reading

Spirit of mercy

Be my guide


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A Serenity Prayer

Source of Good;
grant me the serenity
to accept
that I cannot change other people;

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In Sacred Places

Faith is the doctrine for happiness
Love, a scripture of life;
Service, our processional
Peace, the eternal rite

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Oh, Yes…

For Roi Barnard in memory of Joe

Can this mind be at peace with the moon and the stars

In my nights?

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Source of physical being; help me to hear you in my body. Teach me to tend to my physical needs and be aware of my bodily conditions.

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Goodness Uplifts Wisdom

1 The roots of decency spread deep in the earth of Goodness, and no turmoil can disturb them.
2 In the eyes of the selfish, the upright appear to be unhinged; their humility is seen as weakness,

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Enter my hearing, Oh, silence
Soften my sight with love
Rid my thoughts of harshness
Open my search for good

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Fears of Faith

Some leaves in winter dangle on
Though wrinkled, fragile, old

Stubborn leaves that flinch on empty trees
Through cruel storms in damning cold

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Jealous Gods

But it is not only God that is recurrently jealous and punishing. Other monolithic entities can also be jealous: your nation, the military, employers, and political causes all demand unswerving loyalty. They chastise members who refuse to obey or ‘worship false Gods’ by colluding with enemies, conspiring with political, professional or commercial rivals. And God help those who whistle-blow, aaaagggghhh snitch!

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Where Are You?

Where are you, my Comfort?
In fears, apprehensions
Disruptions, grief, delays

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Along the Way

The professor and mountaineer Ernest Gellner told of how he once became lost. No matter how he tried to follow his map, he could not find his way down the mountain. Then he realized that his map was of the wrong mountain.

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Gaining Peace

I grow
Faith in forgiveness
When willing

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For Fullness

Open my heart,
Pure Healing Power
To remove emotional pain;
Open this heart
Pure Healing Power
Again, again, again

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What went wrong?

What went wrong? Oh, what went wrong?

I sought to be humble
But boasted

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For Hope

My agitation cannot rest, my busy mind is not attentive; hope evades me. Gloom fills darkness and dawn does not dispel my plight.

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A Creed for Healing Transformation

I believe in a mysterious impulse, where the essence of peace restores what is good
I believe in healing love that grows through faith to create joy

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Menu of Blessings

Whatever our beliefs may be or holiday meals that we celebrate, I hope that these “transfaith” blessings may help to nurture focus and gratitude.

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What’s God?

When she was six, my daughter Hannah asked, “What’s God?” I am not sure what I replied, but I certainly assured her that it varies for different people and whatever she thought about it was OK: God is not trapped in one religion. We all have “gods”, for we all hold faith in things unseen— principles, affections, opinions and other intangible sources of conviction, inspiration and direction.

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Thanksgivings Inspired by the Sermon on the Mount

Oh, Source of All Gratitude, help us to be Thankful when we are tested to our limits

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Reality Check

Although our denials, evasions and minimizations sometimes delude us, we are basically rational, mostly moral and often reasonable; and we remain lovable, capable and forgivable. We seek to improve, and strive for what is right. But it bodes us well to acknowledge that our limited minds are too partial to supply objective views about ourselves, others or situations. Our self-justifications, personalized preferences and subjective notions can always benefit from a candid reality check.

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For Serenity

Faith in goodness leads to serenity, where peace with quiet flows. With faith I can cease being a hostage in the jail of fear and grief, and escape the prison of what went wrong.

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The Earth Is Yours

With optional responses

Oh, nurturing God we thank you for the seeds
The source is yours and all in it

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Prayer for Stillness

Especially when I feel stressed, may stillness help me to become calm, so that I can wait for silent consolation.

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Early Christians too brought great historical stories to their new convictions: stories that had preceded Jesus. Matthew, for example presented Jesus as a revitalized Moses who completed revelations from the Torah. He showed how the new faith emerged with fresh expectations and a novel sense of liberation. But he also showed how it consistently remained within established Jewish law and practices.

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One Breath, V.2

One breath; one breath at time.
A breath-on-breath is all we get,
and you cannot take it with you

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Guiding the Way

Motto of Buoy Tender USCGC William Tate

Oh, Guide of the Way,
My safety in trust
Determine my path

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Along the Way

The Right Moral Way has not changed over time and remains psychologically sound. In a “Psychology Today” article entitled ‘The (Only) Seven Spiritual Principles We Need to Succeed’, Karl Albrecht reveals traditional key values for moral living that are still crucial in contemporary times.

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Wage Peace!

Wage peace!
to acknowledge faith
declare love
confess failure
expose injustice
admit mistakes

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Sing a New Love Song

Sing a new love song; for in every moment, compassion does marvelous things: its power dissipates hate and revenge. Compassion creates contagious miracles

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