Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 41: ABSTINENCE

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 ABSTINENCE. 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 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.

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.

Today’s presentation is on abstinence. Yes, you heard it right abstinence. While researching the subject I found that it is a politically charged word. One group thinks that the only way to teach abstinence in schools is abstinence-only and the other group wants a comprehensive sexuality education. Check out the following statements if you could easily spot the basic difference:

The first is from the Oregon Department of Education and it is titled “Abstinence Education: What Works?” This is only one of several statements and it goes like this:

Deliver and consistently reinforce a clear message about abstaining from sexual activity and/or using condoms or other forms of contraception. This appears to be one of the most important characteristics that distinguish effective from ineffective programs.

The second is from the US federal Government. This is also one of the statements and it goes like this:

For the purpose of this section (Section 510), the term "Abstinence Education" means an educational or motivational program which (a) Has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity; (b) teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school age children; (c) teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems;

Now the question is what is the difference between the two approaches? If you were listening you would immediately note that the federal government option does not consider “using condoms or other forms of contraception”. The next question is "What would a parent do?" This presentation will examine the faces of abstinence and recommend ways to help you to make the choices that are compatible with your family.

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 "We've known for some time that abstinence-only is bad science, bad policy, and a blatant violation of medical ethics and basic human rights. And as more people find out what is being taught and what is being censored in these ineffective programs, more and more of these 'stay pure or we don't care about you' programs will be banned from public schools" James Wagoner
2 Sex is so special that it needs a special home; that home is marriage. The ultimate intimacy belongs in the ultimate commitment. Pat Driscoll
3  Abstinence is a window of clarity through which one can better find one's work and one's mate. Lance Morrow
4.  I want a girl who's going to respect me and my values. I don't want a girl who will tease me and try to tempt away my self-control. I'm saving myself for my wife, and I hope she waits, too. I think, to have it with someone else would tend to tarnish the completeness and uniqueness of our totally belonging to each other. I want to learn how to make love with the person I'll spend my life loving. A 17-Year-Old Boy
5 No man is free who is a slave to the flesh. —Seneca
6 Abstinence is a promise you make to yourself. It's important to me to stay true to myself and what I stand for. Dwayne, It's Great to Wait,
7 Living a life of chastity has showed me what true freedom and love actually are. I am able to see my girlfriend for the beautiful woman that she is with dignity and respect. My vision of her isn't clouded with lust but rather magnified with love. college student
8 The only safe sex is in a marriage relationship where a man and a woman are faithful to each other for life. Don't settle for less than the best. Go for the gold. Scott Phelps
9 If you can control yourself sexually, you can control yourself. Period. A. C. Green
10 If it's love, love waits. —Pamphlet on sexuality

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 Desire never rests by enjoyment of lusts, as fire surely increases the more butter is offered to it. Hinduism. Laws of Manu 2.94
They say that woman is an enticement. No, No, she is not so. They say that money is an enticement. No, No, it is not so. They say that landed property is an enticement. No, No, it is not so. The real enticement is the insatiable appetite of the mind, O Lord Guheswara! Hinduism. Allama Prabhu, Vacana 91
3 There is no crime greater than having too many desires. There is no disaster greater than not being content. There is no misfortune greater than being covetous. Hence in being content, one will always have enough. Taoism: Tao Te Ching 46
4 There are three gates to this self-destructive hell: lust, anger and greed. Renounce these three. Those who escape from these three gates of darkness, Arjuna, seek what is best and attain life’s supreme goal. Others disregard the teachings of the scriptures. Driven by selfish desires, they miss the goal of life, miss even happiness and success. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita: 16:21-23
5 A wise man has nothing to do with lust. Lust is nothing but death, and lack of it is serenity. How can one who perceives this indulge in wanton behavior? Jainism. Acarangasutra 2.61
6 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. Christianity, New Testament: 1 Corinthians 7:1-2
7 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Christianity, New Testament: 1 Corinthians 10:13
8 The man who gathers flowers [of sensual pleasure], whose mind is distracted and who is insatiate in desires, the Destroyer brings under his sway.  Buddhism. Dhammapada 48
9 Let those who cannot find a match keep chaste till God give them independence by His grace. Islam. Qur'an 24.33
10 Both learning and the practice of the Teaching are lost to him who is given to sexual intercourse. He employs himself wrongly. That is what is ignoble in him. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 815

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 from A.C. Green’s Game plan. Once upon a time A.C. Green made a decision. In his own words: “I made a decision... I resolved not to be with a woman until I married. My convictions were obvious when I joined the Lakers but not proven, so a few players taunted, teased, tempted, and tried me to see if I’d hold up to my standards to save sex for marriage. ‘Hey wait ‘til you see what’s waiting for you,’ they said… ‘How much do you want to bet A.C. can’t stay away from so and so?’ one said. ‘I’ll bet twenty dollars he can’t,’ said another. Still another piped up with, ‘Count me in for a hundred dollars.’ ‘You won’t last two months in the NBA,’ one of the guys told me. Some even threatened to set me up with women that they knew would pressure me. ‘Let’s see how strong you really are,’ they said. When A.C. Green was in high school, he played basketball at Benson High School in Oregon. While he hoped that he would someday play in the NBA, his hope was just a dream. Upon his graduation from Oregon State University, A.C. was drafted in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers and went on to win three NBA championships with the team. A.C. Green holds the NBA and ABA records for most games played in a row at 1,192 – that’s why they call him the Ironman. He’s known for his commitment to the team and for his endurance. But that’s not all that sets A.C. apart. A.C. attributes much of his success to a decision that he made as a teenager and has kept to this day. According to A.C. Green "Eventually they got tired of the game and started believing in me.”

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 you and your teenagers. Let me divide you into two groups. The first group includes parents who had children before marriage and the second group includes parents who did not have children before marriage.

Parents who had children outside marriage: This group also includes those who had pre-marital sex. If you are in this category you are really in trouble but do not lose hope. You are in trouble because there is a statement that says “like father like son”. In other words momentum is against you which means that you need more energy to bring the running train to stop than a parent where marriage before sexual activity is part of their values and have lived up to those values for several generations.

Parents who did not have children before marriage: This group also includes parents who did not have pre-marital sex. Congratulations! You won one of the battles of life. But there is no break for you because your teenager is born into the same society with temptations and peer pressure.

Parents in both categories need to be there and know exactly what they are teaching their children.

Before making this presentation I asked our son about what he thought about the sexual education he received from school? He said it was great because it covered everything and we agreed after he discussed the topics they covered with us. Actually they called it “Teen Living”. However no amount of information outside the home could help your teen more, than the values you live by.

Finally when you recall our teaching story you would remember the first statement A.C. Green made. It was—  “I made a decision…” Every success in life begins with a decision—a commitment and remember that the decision to abstain till marriage is for your own good! Make the world a better place by being good to yourself!

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 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 good time to share some 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, 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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