Awakened Living Study Program: Lesson 2: MODERATION
Dear brothers and sisters: Good morning and thank you for attending our weekly Awakened Living Study Program. My name is Alaye Soteme and I will be your host. Our topic for today’s Study is MODERATION. May we focus our full attention on this study for the lessons of life because knowledge is POWER, knowledge is SUCCESS, knowledge is FORGIVENESS, knowledge is WISDOM, knowledge is ENLIGHTENMENT and knowledge is AWAKENED LIVING.
All quotes relating to GOD are interpreted in a Universal sense; in other words our use of the word GOD does not refer to any religion, cultural Gods, saviors, or created Gods. GOD is the underlying ESSENCE of the Universe. GOD has no chosen people, GOD has no Sacred Text and GOD has no Sacred Place! The Universe is the Sacred Text, the Universe is the Sacred Place and all creatures are Testaments of GOD!
Further you are here to look at life from a different angle. You are not here to follow what others have put in place be it their religion, their Gods, their sacred texts, their beliefs or their way of thinking. You are here to share your LIGHT with the world. The beliefs of our ancestors are our liabilities. Our challenge is to look at life in ways that promote interdependence and destroy all forms of discrimination including racism, tribalism, nationalism, nepotism, fundamentalism, fanaticism, favoritism, exclusivism, chosen people and racial superiority.
Lastly, none of the quotes here is absolute or written in blood. They are all human thoughts and ideas based on their experiences and according to their levels of consciousness. The Awakened Living Study Program is a platform to study what others have said and improve on them. Do not for any reason use the quotes as mantra for life because you are the LIGHT!
You may offer an appropriate prayer before reading, discussing and reflecting on the famous quotes and the Sacred Texts verses. You may use the following prayer:
O LOVE who pervades the universe, we thank you for this opportunity to learn. We pray for LOVE to manifest amongst us to guide our readings, discussions and reflections. We specially pray for peace of mind and save us from all distractions and concerns of mind and body so that we may learn the lessons of life for our guidance and the transformation of our lives. In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen.
The Study Leader may make announcements at this time. Welcome new members, recognize birthdays or anniversaries; make an award or recognize a contribution; announce Circle of Life successes. This is also an opportunity for anyone to share an experience, give thanks or make a request for special prayers.
The leader or an appointed person will stand and read the opening thoughts. The opening thoughts explain the topic of discussion. You may use the information below or explain it in your own words.
Moderation is the avoidance of extremes in behavior. Temperance, mildness, discipline and reasonableness are related words for moderation. Moderation is a rule of life in many cultures. For instance in India the Buddha discovered the “Middle Path” after trying out both extremes in his life. He was raised in affluence with a lot of pleasure and when he started his spiritual quest he tried the most rigorous practices in meditation and asceticism. In Greece the temple of Apollo among other writings was the inscription, 'Nothing in excess'. In the case of the Buddha, following the “Middle Path” led him to enlightenment. Thus there is merit to living life in moderation. Apart from ensuring our health moderation could also help our spiritual journey.
Take turns to read the famous quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote. Please give credit to the author of the quote and as an assignment for presentations each person may choose an author and find out more about the author to share with the group during the next session.
1 Throw moderation to the winds and the greatest pleasures bring the greatest pains. Democritus
2 Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. Benjamin Franklin
3 To live long, it is necessary to live slowly. Cicero
4 He will always be a slave who does not know how to live upon a little. Horace
5 Keep a mid course between two extremes." Ovid Ovid
6 The choicest pleasures of life lie within the ring of moderation. Martin Tupper
7 A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice. Thomas Paine
8 Moderation has been called a virtue to limit the ambition of great men, and to console undistinguished people for their want of fortune and their lack of merit. Benjamin Disraeli
9 The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom. Plato
10 Everything in moderation, including moderation. Julia Child
Sacred Texts Quotes
Take turns to read all the sacred text quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote. In your discussion compare and contrast the quotes. What did you learn from the similarities and differences? What quote inspires you? What life lessons did you learn from the quote? Please give credit to the sacred text during your reading by mentioning the name of the text and where the quote could be found.
1 Good is the control of the body, and good is the control of words; good is the control of the mind, and good is the control of our whole inner life. When a monk has achieved perfect self-control, he leaves all sorrows behind. Buddhism: Dhammapada 361
2 Do thy work in the peace of Yoga and free from selfish desires, be not moved in success or failure. Yoga is evenness of mind- a peace that is ever the same. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 2:48
3 Be not overly righteous, and be not overly wise; why should you bring desolation upon yourself? Be not overly wicked, and be not a fool; why should you die before your time? Judaism: The Tanakh: Ecclesiastes 7.16-17
4 People differ, some lead, others follow; some are ardent, others are formal; some are strong, others weak; some succeed, others fail. Therefore the wise man practices moderation; he abandons pleasure, extravagance and indulgence. Taoism: Tao Te Ching 29
5 Yoga is a harmony. Not for him who eats too much, or for him who eats too little; not for him who sleeps too little, or for him who sleeps too much. A harmony in eating and resting, in sleeping and keeping awake: a perfection in whatever one does. This is the Yoga that gives peace from all pain. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 6:16-17
6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. Christianity: New Testament 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
7 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous. Christianity: New Testament 1 Timothy 3:2-3
8 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Christianity: New Testament 1 Corinthians 6:12
9 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Christianity: New Testament Philippians 4:5
10 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Christianity: New Testament Colossians 4:6
The teaching story is a story, a parable or thoughts related to the topic of discussion. An appointed person will read each story and the group will take turns and discuss. What does the story mean to you? What did you learn from the story? Did the story add anything new to the topic of discussion? How has this study enriched your life?
Our teaching story is The Middle Way: Parable of the Zither
Once upon a time Sona was a young disciple of the Buddha. Born in an affluent family, he was diligent, astute, and cheerful.
Ever since renouncing his secular life, he was highly motivated and more assiduous in his meditation practice. As the days went by, he found himself mired in melancholy which gave way to frustration, befuddlement, and agony. Before long, he became so emaciated and haggard-looking.
Exasperated over his lack of spiritual progress, he went to the Buddha to seek guidance.
The Buddha said: “Tell me Sona, in earlier days, were you not skilled in playing the stringed music of the zither?”
“Yes Lord,” replied Sona.”And, tell me, Sona, when the strings on the lute were too taut, was then your zither tuneful and easily playable?”
“Certainly not, O Lord.”
“And when the strings on the zither were too loose, was then your lute tuneful and easily playable?”
“Certainly not, O Lord.”
“But when, Sona, the strings of your lute were neither too taut nor too loose, and adjusted to an even pitch, did your zither have a wonderful sound, and then was it easily playable?”
“Certainly, O Lord.”
“Similarly, Sona, in the practice of the Way, if energy is applied too strongly, it will lead to strain and restlessness; if energy is too lax, it will lead to lassitude. Therefore, Sona, keep your energy in balance and you will then be able to focus your attention on the spiritual cultivation.”
The closing meditation presents the highlights of the Study. The highlights should include among others what you have learned and what aspects of the study are worth noting. The leader or an appointed person may share the closing meditation. You may use the thoughts and information provided below but I encourage you to use the contributions of the participants and current relevant information.
A life of moderation is often recommended in spiritual pursuits as well as in our physical lives. We have learned that the Buddha achieved enlightenment only after he practiced a life of moderation. On the physical level eating too much makes us sick and puts more weight on our bodies; drinking too much intoxicates us and destroys our liver; and driving too fast could end our lives. The question is how do we live a life of moderation with so much food, drink and fast cars? Here are a few thoughts on how to live a life of moderation?
- Knowledge: Knowledge of the world around you will go a long way in helping you to live a life of moderation. Alcohol for instance intoxicates when you go over your level of tolerance and you could make wrong choices under the influence of alcohol. Sometimes those choices could be life changing if not fatal.
- Self Control: Learn to control yourself in situations that call for judgment. As far as food goes all you need is the moderate quantity to keep life in your body; not too much and not too little. Do not over eat. Dolly Parton once said during an interview that she eats little at a time but eats as many times as she needed.
- Meditation: Daily meditation is always a good thing to sort out the issues that you are facing in life. Consider the root cause of your cravings during your meditations and if you are unable to help yourself please seek help.
You may accept gifts and donations at this time for the work you are doing. It takes effort, time and money to put the Study Program together so I encourage attendants to give. An appointed person may now pass the donation bag. The leader may bless the gifts after the donations.
Always close your Study Program with a prayer or an affirmation. Pray for guidance and direction during the week. Pray for everyone present. The leader or an appointed person may offer the closing prayer. You may use the sample prayer if needed.
A Prayer by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Father in heaven,
We thank thee.
In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen
You may serve refreshments after the Study. This is a time to relax and socialize. Get to know the people in the Program with you and I mean really know them well. One of the secrets of success is connection so I encourage you to know the people around you. The host may decide what to serve or he or she may ask the attendants what they want for refreshments before each Study Program.
You may now entertain the group with your talent in music, songs, dance and poetry including playing musical instruments. This is also a good time to share some Awakened Living tips for the benefit of the group.
Circle of Life
The Circle of Life depicts different aspects of your life. You are at the center and the different aspects radiate outwards to form a circle as long as they are in harmony. You can pinpoint an aspect of your life at any given time and find out if you are in harmony with the rest of the circle. If an aspect needs improvement you may have an uneven circle. Your challenge then is to work on the area that needs improvement in order to keep it in harmony with the rest of the circle.
There are 12 aspects in this version of the Wheel of Life including Health, Spirituality, Family, Relationships, Education, Mission, Finances, Work, Play, Personal Development, Environment, and creativity. Take time to answer the following questions and begin to work on the areas that need improvement.
1. Are you healthy?
2. Do you have any bad habits like drinking, smoking, pornography, fast foods, etc?
1. Are you spiritual?
2. When was the last time you meditated, chanted, affirmed or prayed?
1. Do you have a family?
2. Are you happy with your spouse, children, and parents?
1. Do you have friends?
2. Are you happy with your friends, co-workers, boss?
1. Do you have a degree?
2. When was the last time you read a book?
1. Do you have a mission statement?
2. What is your life mission?
1 Are you financially stable?
2. Do you have any debts?
1. Do you have a job, career?
2. Are you happy with your job, career?
1. Do you play regularly?
2. When was the last time you played with your friends, children, spouse, parents or pet?
1. Do you lose your temper often?
2. When was the last time you took a class on human development?
1 Are you happy with your environment?
2. How are you reducing pollution?
1. Are you sharing your creativity?
2. When was the last time you wrote a poem, painted, sang, danced, or played a musical instrument?