Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 32: THE FAMILY


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 THE FAMILY. 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 GOD 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.                                                 

The FAMILY is a spiritual union. We are bound by an invisible thread that stretches from the beginning of time into eternity. As the thread stretches it connects other families giving each family their unique features which on the surface separates us but in reality teaches us about the different facets of life. Thus we may be separate since we came from different families but in essence we are all connected by the thread of unity. No one may cut this thread because it gives us our identity and assures our unity as a people. Let us love each other in our families and extend the same love to all creatures. You may be the only surviving member of your family but you are still connected to others by the thread of Unity!

Famous Quotes
Please take turns to read the famous quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote.  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 meeting.

  1. Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life! Albert Einstein
    2. Family is not an important thing, it’s everything. Michael J. Fox
    3. To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there. ~Barbara Bush
    4. Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. Jane Howard
    5. Having a place to go — is a home. Having someone to love — is a family. Having both — is a blessing. Donna Hedges
    6. The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you. Kendall Hailey
    7. Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter. Brad Henry
    8. We must take care of our families wherever we find them. Elizabeth Gilbert
    9. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family. Jim Butcher
    10. Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short. Unknown

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. Supporting one's father and mother, cherishing wife and children and a peaceful occupation; this is the greatest blessing. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 262
    2. What are "the things which men consider right"? Kindness on the part of the father, and filial duty on that of the son; gentleness on the part of the elder brother, and obedience on that of the younger; righteousness on the part of the husband, and submission on that of the wife; kindness on the part of elders, and deference on that of juniors; with benevolence on the part of the ruler, and loyalty on that of the minister;--these ten are the things which men consider to be right. Confucianism. Book of Ritual 7.2.19
    3. Natural mildness should be there in the family. Observance of the vows leads to mildness.... Right belief should there be amongst family members. Crookedness and deception cause unhappiness in the family. Straightforwardness and honesty in one's body, speech, and mental activities lead the family to an auspicious path. Purity, reverence, ceaseless pursuit of knowledge, charity, removal of obstacles that threaten equanimity, service to others -- these make the family happy. Jainism. Tattvarthasutra 6.18-24
    4. For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Christianity: New Testament, Matthew 15:4
    5. May in this family discipline overcome indiscipline, peace discord, charity miserliness, devotion arrogance, the truth-spoken word the false spoken word which destroys the holy order. Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 60.5
    6. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. Judaism: Tanakh, Proverbs 1:8
    7. And when immorality prevails, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupted; when women are corrupted, social problems arise. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita1.41
    8. Do not neglect the [sacrificial] works due to the gods and the fathers! Let your mother be to you like unto a god! Let your father be to you like unto a god! Let your teacher be to you like unto a god!" Hinduism. Taittiriyaka Upanishad 1.11.2
    9. As the child, according to its natural disposition, commits thousands of faults,
    The father instructs and slights, but again hugs him to his bosom. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Sorath, M.5
    10. Attend strictly to the commands of your parents and the instructions of your teachers. Serve your leader with diligence; be upright of heart; eschew falsehood; and be diligent in study; that you may conform to the wishes of the heavenly spirit. Shinto. Oracle of Temmangu

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?

The Family that Works
Once upon a time there were two families: the Family that works and the Family that hopes. The Family that Works has a mission statement. Among others their mission statement highlights the role of each member of the family. They wake up at definite times in the morning and go to bed at definite times in the evening. The children do their homework before play. There is respect, love and understanding in the family and they worked together as a team. One day an angel disguised as a beggar visited the Family that Works. The beggar was thirsty, exhausted and hardly spoke. He just fell down by the door of the Family that Works.  Immediately the Father asked the son to give water to the beggar and make him comfortable. The son stopped what he was doing and brought some water to the beggar. The father then asked the daughter to go to the market and buy some food and she stopped what she was doing and drove to the market to buy food. Meanwhile the mother started cutting onions and tomatoes to help her cook the food as soon as the daughter returned from the market. When the father saw that everything was working according to plan he went to help his son to take care of the beggar. Later mother and daughter served dinner and nourished the beggar back to health. In return the angel revealed himself and thanked them for their hospitality and blessed them and disappeared.

The Family that Hopes had no mission statement and no plans for life. The children grew up without any discipline and they did whatever they wanted to do. They woke up late in the morning and went to bed late in the evening. They ignored their homework and played games all the time which reflected in bad grades. But they often took solace in the belief that somehow things will magically change. One day an angel disguised as a beggar visited the Family that Hopes. The beggar was thirsty, exhausted and hardly spoke. He just fell down by the door of the Family that Hopes. Immediately the father asked the son to give water to the beggar and make him comfortable and asked the daughter to get food from the market. The son told the father to wait because he was playing a computer game and the daughter also told him to wait because she was doing her nails. Considering the urgency of the situation the parents could not help but shout at their children but that did not help either. In the midst of their arguing and blaming the angel revealed himself and advised them to learn from the Family that works and he disappeared.

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 about family love, unity and understanding. We learned at the beginning that the family is a spiritual unit that connects us with the rest of creation. But the family is not a magical entity where things just happen. Instead the family needs to work on the things they want to manifest in the family. A mission statement could be a starting point for all families and all it takes is sitting together by the kitchen table and writing down what you want for your family. The Family is a spiritual unit and may our activities demonstrate the ways of the spirit in love, in work and in everything we do. Amen.

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 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 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 good time to share some Awakened Living tips for the benefit of the group.

The most important unit of society,
A spiritual thread that connects us to the world,
A loving haven that has room for all creatures,
Strengthened by Universal Spiritual Values,
Perfected by discipline and unconditional Love,
The crucible in which life is made and nurtured,
Enduring and cannot be broken in any way,
The birthplace of character and humaneness,
Our first Love, our Home and our Support,
Bound by an invincible thread that stretches
From the beginning of time into eternity! Dr. Sonari

The 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?

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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