Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 23: WORK

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 WORK. 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.

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 Thoughts
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.

Simply stated work is what we do to earn a living but for some of us work is what we do. In “This I Believe” Bill Gates tells us that going to work is like tap dancing to work because he does what he loves. You would agree with me that this is someone who has discovered why he is here and it is a perfect fit. Many of us on the other hand need work to pay our bills. This presentation will attempt to share the faces of work and make suggestions to help us to “tap dance” to work

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.

  1. Work is love made visible. And if you can't work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of the people who work with joy. Kahlil Gibran
    Never continue in a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined. Johnny Carson
    There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there. Indira Gandhi
    Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all you heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours. Dale Carnegie
    Don't set compensation as a goal. Find work you like, and the compensation will follow. Harding Lawrence
    The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it. John Ruskin
    Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves. William Patten
    The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career! Earl Nightingale
    When we are doing what we love, we don't care about time. For at least at that moment, time doesn't exist and we are truly free. Marcia Wieder
    Get into a line that you will find to be a deep personal interest, something you really enjoy spending twelve to fifteen hours a day working at, and the rest of the time thinking about. Thomas Jefferson

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. When the prayer is finished, scatter in the land and seek God's bounty, and remember God frequently, that you may prosper. Islam. Qur'an 62.10
    2. Weeping is not the answer to poverty; a lazy man who is hungry has no one to blame but himself. He who wishes to eat the honey which is under the rock should not be unduly worried about the edge of the axe. There is no place where one cannot achieve greatness; only the lazy prospers nowhere. There is no place that does not suit me, O divinity! Orisha: Yoruba Teaching
    3. Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise;
    Which having no chief, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her bread in the summer, and gatherest her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
    'Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep'-- So shall thy poverty come as a runner, and thy want as an armed man. Judaism: Tanakh 6:6-11
    4. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. Christianity: New Testament: 2 Thessalonians 3.9-12
    5. He who shirks action does not attain freedom; no one can gain perfection by abstaining from work. Indeed, there is no one who rests even for an instant; every creature is driven to action by his own nature. Those who abstain from action while allowing the mind to dwell on sensual pleasure cannot be called sincere spiritual aspirants. But they excel who control their senses through the mind, using them for selfless service. Fulfill all your duties; action is better than inaction. Even to maintain your body, Arjuna, you are obliged to act. But it is selfish action that imprisons the world. Act selflessly, without any thought of personal profit. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 3.4-9
    6. He who says, "It is too hot, too cold, too late!" Leaving the waiting work unfinished still,
    Lets pass all opportunities for good. But he who reckons heat and cold as straws
    And like a man does all that's to be done, He never falls away from happiness. Buddhism. Digha Nikaya iii.185, Sigalovada Sutta
    7. One who claims to be a saint,
    And goes about begging--
    Touch not his feet!
    He whose livelihood is earned through work,
    And part given away in charity--
    Such a one, Nanak, truly knows the way to God. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Var Sarang, M.1, p. 1245
    8. In the dark night live those for whom the world without alone is real; in night darker still live those for whom the world within alone is real. The first leads to a life of action, the second to a life of meditation. But those who combine action with meditation cross the sea of death through action and enter into immortality through the practice of meditation. So have we heard from the wise.  Hinduism. Isha Upanishad 9-11
    9. A clansman has wealth acquired by energetic striving, amassed by strength of arm, won by sweat, lawful and lawfully gotten. At the thought, "Wealth is mine acquired by energetic striving, amassed by strength of arm, won by sweat, lawful and lawfully gotten," bliss comes to him, satisfaction comes to him. This is called "the bliss of ownership." A clansman by means of wealth acquired by energetic striving... both enjoys his wealth and does meritorious deeds therewith. At the thought, "By means of wealth acquired... I both enjoy my wealth and do meritorious deeds," bliss comes to him, satisfaction comes to him. This is called "the bliss of wealth." Buddhism. Anguttara Nikaya ii.68
    10. Three merchants set out on their travels, each with his capital; one of them gained there much, the second returned with his capital, and the third merchant came home after having lost his capital. This parable7 is taken from common life; learn (to apply it) to the Law. (14, 15). The capital is human life, the gain is heaven; through the loss of that capital man must be born as a denizen of hell or a brute animal. (16). These are the two courses open to the sinner; they consist in misery, as corporal punishment, etc.; for the slave to his lusts has forfeited human life and divine life. (17). Having once forfeited them, he will have to endure these two states of misery; it will be difficult for him to attain an upward course for a long time to come. (18). Considering what is at stake, one should weigh (the chances of) the sinner and of the virtuous man (in one’s mind). He who brings back his capital, is (to be compared to) one who is born again as a man. (19). Those men who through the exercise of various virtues become pious householders, will be born again as men; for all beings will reap the fruit of their actions. (20). But he who increases his capital, is (to be compared to) one who practises eminent virtues; the virtuous, excellent man cheerfully attains the state of gods. (21) Jainism. Uttaradhyayana Sutra 7.14-21

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 titled  “Unleashing the Power of Creativity and Intelligence” by Bill Gates from “This I Believe”! This was broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered, September 19, 2005

Once upon a time Bill Gates founded Microsoft on the dream of putting a computer in every home and office. He says he built his company on the belief that technology, creativity and intelligence can change the world. Now in his own words: I’ve always been an optimist and I suppose that is rooted in my belief that the power of creativity and intelligence can make the world a better place. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved learning new things and solving problems. So when I sat down at a computer for the first time in seventh grade, I was hooked. It was a clunky old Teletype machine and it could barely do anything compared to the computers we have today. But it changed my life. When my friend Paul Allen and I started Microsoft 30 years ago, we had a vision of “a computer on every desk and in every home,” which probably sounded a little too optimistic at a time when most computers were the size of refrigerators. But we believed that personal computers would change the world. And they have. And after 30 years, I’m still as inspired by computers as I was back in seventh grade. I believe that computers are the most incredible tool we can use to feed our curiosity and inventiveness — to help us solve problems that even the smartest people couldn’t solve on their own.

Computers have transformed how we learn, giving kids everywhere a window into all of the world’s knowledge. They’re helping us build communities around the things we care about and to stay close to the people who are important to us, no matter where they are. Like my friend Warren Buffett, I feel particularly lucky to do something every day that I love to do. He calls it “tap-dancing to work.” My job at Microsoft is as challenging as ever, but what makes me “tap-dance to work” is when we show people something new, like a computer that can recognize your handwriting or your speech, or one that can store a lifetime’s worth of photos, and they say, “I didn’t know you could do that with a PC!”

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.

Closing Meditation

Our closing meditation is on how to develop a good work ethic.

  1. Know that time is money: This means that when you use time properly you make money but when you waste time you lose money. Company time is valuable and if you have this in mind you won’t be late to work, you won’t use work time for personal emailing, sending text messages or playing games.
  2. Love your work. The work may not be exactly what you want at the moment but it is all you’ve got now and it pays the bills! Loving your work means giving 100% of your time to your work, being dependable and going the extra mile.
  3. Be a Team Player: Cooperate with staff and management by doing your part on time and without any flaws.
  4. Strive for Excellence: You can do that by paying attention to details, staying focused and producing the best.

For our conclusion let us learn from Earl Nightingale:

The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!

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

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.

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

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?

Personal Development
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?

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