Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 25: DISCIPLINE

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 DISCIPLINE. 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.

Discipline is obedience to rules and orders in order to achieve worthy goals. Rules may be those of society like “Do not steal” or rules you set to do or not to do certain things. If you needed to lose some weight for instance you could come up with a game plan like reduce your fast food intake and exercise every morning or evening. Reducing your fast food intake will require some discipline or self-control. You need the discipline of refusing to drive to the fast food restaurant to buy the food. Alternatively you need the discipline of saying “No” when you think about fast foods. The other side of the discipline of losing weight is saying “yes” to exercise. Keeping to a schedule of exercise needs discipline. You need the discipline of avoiding what is pleasurable and doing what is not so pleasurable. The pleasure of eating fast food and sitting or sleeping when you needed to get out makes you to gain weight and eventually makes you sick. But the discipline of waking up early in the morning and doing the things you need to do to enhance your life also adds up to give you a fulfilling life. The choice is always yours and yours alone! There is no laziness and procrastination in a disciplined 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.

Self-respect is the root of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. Abraham J. Heschel
2 Success isn't measured by money or power or social rank. Success is measured by your discipline and inner peace. Mike Ditka
3 Half of life is luck; the other half is discipline - and that’s the important half, for without discipline you wouldn’t know what to do with luck. Carl Zuckmeyer
4 Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. Jim Rohn
First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you. Rob Gilbert
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. Buddha
You never will be the person you can be if pressure, tension ard discipline are taken out of your life. Dr. James G. Bilkey
Discipline is just doing the same thing the right way whether anyone’s watching or not.
Michael J. Fox
9. He who lives without discipline dies without honor. Icelandic Proverb
In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first. Harry S. Truman

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 a man lacks discrimination and his mind is uncontrolled, his senses are unmanageable, like the restive horses of a charioteer.  But when a man has discrimination and his mind is controlled, his senses, like the well-broken horses of a charioteer, lightly obey the rein. Hinduism.  Katha Upanishad 1.3.3-6
2 Formerly this mind went wandering where it liked, as it wished and as it listed.  Today with attentiveness I shall completely hold it in check, as a mahout controls an elephant in must. Buddhism.  Dhammapada 326
3 It is true that the mind is restless and difficult to control.  But it can be conquered, Arjuna, through regular practice and detachment.  Those who lack self-control will find it difficult to progress in meditation; but those who are self-controlled, striving earnestly through the right means, will attain the goal. Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 6.35-36
4 He who knows others is wise; He who knows himself is enlightened. He who conquers others has physical strength; He who conquers himself is strong. Taoism. Tao Te Ching 33
5 That man is disciplined and happy who can prevail over the turmoilThat springs from desire and anger, here on earth, before he leaves his body. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 5.23
6 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. Judaism: The Tanakh, Proverbs 25:28
7 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Christianity: New Testament, Romans 8:13
8.The Master said, "As to being a Divine Sage or even a Good Man, far be it from me to make any such claim.  As for unwearying effort to learn and unflagging patience in teaching others, those are merits that I do not hesitate to claim." Confucianism.  Analects 7.33
9.Though a man should conquer thousands and thousands of valiant foes, greater will be his victory if he conquers nobody but himself. Fight with yourself; why fight with external foes?  He who conquers himself through himself will obtain happiness....Difficult to conquer is oneself;  but when that is conquered, everything is conquered. Jainism.  Uttaradhyayana Sutra 9.34-36
10. Attack the evil that is within yourself; do not attack the evil that is in others. Confucianism.  Analects 12.21 

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 the Earthquake, a Zen Story:

Once upon a time there was an earthquake that shook the entire Zen temple. Parts of it even collapsed. Many of the monks were terrified. When the earthquake stopped the teacher said, "Now you have had the opportunity to see how a Zen man behaves in a crisis situation. You may have noticed that I did not panic. I was quite aware of what was happening and what to do. I led you all to the kitchen, the strongest part of the temple. It was a good decision, because you see we have all survived without any injuries. However, despite my self-control and composure, I did feel a little bit tense - which you may have deduced from the fact that I drank a large glass of water, something I never do under ordinary circumstances." One of the monks smiled, but didn't say anything. "What are you laughing at?" asked the teacher. "That wasn't water," the monk replied, "it was a large glass of soy sauce."

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.

Our closing meditation is on how to develop or build self-discipline. Quite often we hear people say that they can’t help themselves. “That is the way I am”. “I cannot change”. “That is my karma” What they may not know or what they are not telling us is that they have chosen to remain that way because it is pleasurable and doing otherwise would be painful. The good news is that we could all change if we are willing to do so and the first step in extreme cases is to see a professional. However here are a few tips on how to develop or build self discipline. 

  1. Decide to Change: Deciding to take control of your life is the first basic yet crucial step on the road to self-discipline. Taking the case of the overweight person as an example; when you decide you are saying that you want to get back to your normal weight and that will require a lot of sacrifice and pain and you are willing to use whatever it takes to achieve your aim.
  2. Begin a Spiritual Life: Pray often. Meditate regularly. Begin each day with an affirmation and read spiritual books often.
  3. Be Accountable for your actions and inactions. Give a gift to a neighbor whenever you fail to do your daily exercise or walk for an extra hour when you eat fast food.
  4. Set Goals: Set specific, measurable, timely and attainable goals. For instance “I will weigh 120 Pounds after 6 months
  5. Commit to your plan: Do not quit if you fail to meet your goals. Continue until you succeed.

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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