Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 35: FRIENDSHIP
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 FRIENDSHIP. 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.
Friendship is a relationship between two or more people in which each cares for the good of the other without conditions. The word “friend” is such a convenient word that most people use it without regard to its real meaning. Some people use the word because they encounter qualities of friendship in the other person and without much thought they could say “a friend told me that……”. However friendship is not a casual acquaintance that appears friendly because you share the same interests or you are members of the same club. Friendship is a relationship in which there is unconditional love, mutual support, mutual respect, trustworthiness, dependability, loyalty, empathy, and complete acceptance of each other.
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 A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same. Elbert Hubbard
2 In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. Albert Schweitzer
3 Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. Oprah Winfrey
4 The only way to have a friend is to be one. Ralph Waldo Emerson
5 “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world. Brandi Snyder
6 Only a life lived for others is worth living. Albert Einstein
7 Plant a seed of friendship; reap a bouquet of happiness. Lois L. Kaufman
8 A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. Douglas Pagels
9 If a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it. Edgar Watson Howe
10 Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait for the answer. Author 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 Offend me and I will question you--this is the medicine for friendship. African Religions. Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)
2 Confucius said, "There are three friendships which are advantageous, and three which are injurious. Friendship with the upright; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the man of much observation:– these are advantageous. Friendship with the man of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and friendship with the glib-tongued:– these are injurious. Confucianism: Analects 16:4
3 It is by dealing with a man that his virtue is to be known, and that too after a long time; not by one who gives it a passing thought or no thought at all; by a wise man, not by a fool. It is by association that a man's integrity is to be known... It is in times of trouble that his fortitude is to be known... It is by conversing with him, that a man's wisdom is to be known, and that too after a long time; not by one who gives it a passing thought or no thought at all; by a wise man, not by a fool. Buddhism. Udana 65-66
4 Those that are good, seek for friends; that will help you to practice virtue with body and soul. Those that are wicked, keep at a distance; it will prevent evil from approaching you. Taoism. Tract of the Quiet Way
5 Sit in the assembly of the honest; join with those that are good and virtuous; nay, seek out a noble enemy where enmity cannot be helped and have nothing to do with the wicked and the unrighteous. Even in bondage you should live with the virtuous, the erudite, and the truthful; but not for a kingdom should you stay with the wicked and the malicious. Hinduism. Garuda Purana 112
6 The friend who always seeks his benefit,
The friend whose words are other than his deeds,
The friend who flatters just to make you pleased,
The friend who keeps you company in wrong,
These four the wise regard as enemies:
Shun them from afar as paths of danger.
The friend who is a helper all the time,
The friend in happiness and sorrow both,
The friend who gives advice that's always good,
The friend who has full sympathy with you,
These four the wise see as good-hearted friends
And with devotion cherish such as these
As does a mother cherish her own child. Buddhism. Digha Nikaya iii.187, Sigalovada Sutta
7 To those who have conquered themselves, the will is a friend. But it is the enemy of those who have not found the Self within them. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 6:6)
8 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. Judaism: Tanakh: Job 2:11
9 And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. Judaism: Tanakh: 2 Kings 2:2
10 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” Judaism, Tanakh: Ruth 1:16-17
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 about the Friendly Beggar. Once upon a time, Tom and Joe met at a park in Portland, Oregon in the United States. They didn’t quite like each other when they first met because each of them saw the other as his competition. This was a time when there were many homeless people in Portland. Meanwhile they begged at different locations of the park but Tom could not remove Joe from his thoughts. His thoughts about Joe were so strong that he decided to approach Joe again and invited him to beg with him at the same place. Joe hesitated but Tom said “two heads are better than one”, and that convinced Joe and that was how their friendship started. From that day on they begged in the same place and shared everything together. One day Joe got a gift of $1000 and showed it to Tom. “This is a lot of money and it could get you a home, Tom reacted. “What is a home to me if you are still in the cold?” Joe said. “What are you saying Joe? Tom asked. Maybe it is time for us to save our money and get a place to live, Joe said. Then Joe gave $500 to Tom to hold and kept the other $500. In time their friendship got noticed by a Portland TV Station with a story on how they met and how they now share everything including their gifts and their dreams of one day getting jobs and living in their own apartments. A humanitarian saw the story on TV and opened a GoFundMe account for both and raised over $50,000. This was how Joe and Tom changed their lives.
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.
There is enough and even more for all of us but the moment we see each other as the competition we lose on the gifts of life. The races of people on earth are not in competition; instead they are here to remind us of the rich diversity in natural creation. Human creations like religions ought to learn from nature and begin to work together for the good of all creatures. We are not in competition because there is enough for everyone!
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 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.
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?
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?