Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 20: GOOD DEEDS

 

Introduction
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 GOOD DEEDS. 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!

Opening Meditation
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 the world so that we may receive the lessons of life for our guidance and the transformation of our lives. Amen.

Announcements
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.

Opening Meditation
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.

Generally we are all inclined to do good things. It is in our nature to do good things and many of us do good only that the media does not always report it. This study will strengthen our nature to do good things. When was the last time you did a good deed? Reflect on the good you did. Reflect on how you felt after the good deed. When was the last time you received a good did. What was the nature of the Good Deed? How did you feel when you received the good deed? Decide to do Good deeds all the days of your life.

 

    Famous Quotes
    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.

    It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. Benjamin Franklin
    2. 
    To be doing good deeds is man's most glorious task. Sophocles
    3. “Every sunrise is an invitation for us to arise and brighten someone's day.” Richelle E. Goodrich
    4. Reward will follow every good deed. Only by doing good deeds can a man know the true joy of living and have a long life.    Confucius
    5.Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds. Buddha 
    6. You don’t need power to gain recognition. You don’t need to be famous to gain fame. Your good deeds that you do to others will make you gain more respect from other people. Anonymous.
    7. Life is like a book. Each day is a new page. May your book be a bestseller with adventures to tell, lessons to learn and tales of good deeds to remember. Anonymous
    8. Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue. Buddha
    9. Our sins are more easily remembered than our good deeds. Democritus
    10. Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you're gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.” Charles de Lint  

    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. As from a large heap of flowers many garlands and wreaths can be made, so by a mortal in this life there is much good work to be done. Buddhism: Dhammapada 53
    2. No one who does good deeds will ever come to a bad end, either here or in the world to come. When such people die, they go to other realms where the righteous live. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 6.40-41
    3. Good deeds annul evil deeds. This is a reminder for the mindful. Islam: Qur'an 11.114
    4. He who overcomes the evil he has done with the good he afterwards does, he sheds a light over the world like that of the moon when free from clouds. Buddhism: Dhammapada 173
    5. Anything evil refrain from doing; all good deeds do! So will you be released forever from the influence of evil stars, and always be encompassed by good guardian angels. Taoism: Tract of the Quiet Way
    6. Do not what is evil. Do what is good. Keep your mind pure. This is the teaching of Buddha. Buddhism: Dhammapada 183
    7. 
    Birth does not lead to greatness; but cultivation of numerous virtues by aman leads him to greatness.  It is a pearl that possesses real greatnessand not the pair of shells in which it is produced. Jainism.  Vajjalagam 6878. Make haste and do what is good; keep your mind away from evil. If a man is slow in doing good his mind finds pleasure in evil. If a man does something wrong, let him not do it again and again. Let him not find pleasure in his sin. Painful is the accumulation of wrong doings. If a man does something good, let him do it again and again. Let him find joy in his good work. Joyful is the accumulation of good work. Buddhism: Dhammapada 9:116-118
    9. 
    Good deeds are the manifestation of a healthy spiritual life. Good deeds create merit, improve one's relationship with God, and are the best way to annul the effects of past evil deeds. Heaven is not attained without good deeds. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Ramkali-ki-Var, M.1, p. 952
    10. 
    For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Christianity: New Testament, Matthew 13.12

    Teaching Story
    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 a True Story about the Rewards of Good Deeds taken from inspiringshortstories.org.

    One stormy night many years ago, an elderly man and his wife entered the lobby of a small hotel in Philadelphia. Trying to get out of the rain, the couple approached the front desk hoping to get some shelter for the night. “Could you possibly give us a room here?” the husband asked. The clerk, a friendly man with a winning smile, looked at the couple and explained that there were three conventions in own. “All of our rooms are taken,” the clerk said. “But I can’t send a nice couple like you out into the rain at one o’clock in the morning. Would you perhaps be willing to sleep in my room? It’s not exactly a suite, but it will be good enough to make you folks comfortable for the night.” When the couple declined, the young man pressed on. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll make out just fine,” the clerk told them. So the couple agreed. As he paid his bill the next morning, the elderly man said to the clerk, “You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I’ll build one for you.” The clerk looked at them and smiled. The three of them had a good laugh. As they drove away, the elderly couple agreed that the helpful clerk was indeed exceptional, as finding people who are both friendly and helpful isn’t easy.

    Two years passed. The clerk had almost forgotten the incident when he received a letter from the old man. It recalled that stormy night and enclosed a round-trip ticket to New York, asking the young man to pay them a visit. The old man met him in New York, and led him to the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. He then pointed to a great new building there, a pale reddish stone, with turrets and watchtowers thrusting up to the sky.

    “That,” said the older man, “is the hotel I have just built for you to manage.” “You must be joking,” the young man said. “I can assure you I am not,” said the older man, a sly smile playing around his mouth. The older man’s name was William Waldorf-Aster, and that magnificent structure was the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The young clerk who became its first manager was George C. Boldt. This young clerk never foresaw the turn of events that would lead him to become the manager of one of the world’s most glamorous hotels.

    Closing Meditation
    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.

    It pays to do good but our attitude is not to expect a reward when we do good but to be content with the opportunity to do good.

    Donations
    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.

    Closing Prayer
    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.

    O LOVE who pervades the Universe and who resides in us
    We thank You for Your presence during our studies and reflections.
    May these studies bear fruits within us for our good and the good of our environment.
    As we go through our day to day activities may You guide us and protect us.
    And bring us here again to continue your work for your glory. Amen

    Refreshments
    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 Awakened Living Study Program.

    Talent Contribution
    You may now entertain the group with your talent in music, songs, dance and poetry including playing musical instruments. This is also a time to share your 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.

    Health
    1. Are you healthy?
    2. Do you have any bad habits like drinking, smoking, pornography, fast foods and doing drugs?

    Spirituality
    1. Are you spiritual?
    2. When was the last time you meditated, chanted, affirmed or prayed?

    Family
    1. Do you have a family?
    2. Are you happy with your spouse, children, and parents?

    Relationships
    1. Do you have friends?
    2. Are you happy with your friends, co-workers, boss?

    Education
    1. Do you have a degree?
    2. When was the last time you read a book?

    Mission
    1. Do you have a mission statement?
    2. What is your life mission?

    Finances
    1 Are you financially stable?
    2. Do you have any debts?

    Work
    1. Do you have a job, career?
    2. Are you happy with your job, career?

    Play
    1. Do you play regularly?
    2. When was the last time you played with your friends, children, spouse, parents or pet?

    Personal Development
    1. Do you lose your temper often?
    2. When was the last time you took a class on human development?

    Environment
    1 Are you happy with your environment?
    2. How are you reducing pollution?

    Creativity
    1. Are you sharing your creativity?
    2. When was the last time you wrote a poem, painted, sang, danced, or played a musical instrument?

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