Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 44: FAMILY LIFE

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 FAMILY LIFE. 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.

Family life is the life we live in our families and that life includes the atmosphere in the family home, our relationships with each other, the things we do to enhance the family, how and where we eat, how and where we play, how we support each other, how we resolve conflicts, how we meditate, how we pray and all the things we do to remain a family. Evidently family life is not always happy. There are deaths, there are conflicts, there are accidents, there are misunderstandings, there is helplessness, there is hatred, there is divorce, there are financial issues and there are moments of hopelessness. The challenge is to resolve these issues however difficult they may seen and return back to being a compassionate loving family. This presentation will look at the faces of family life and suggest ways to enhance your family 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.

1 I come from a great family. I've seen family life and I know how wonderful, how nurturing, and how wonderful it can be. Sydney Poitier
2 I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” Harry S. Truman
3 My parents taught me everything and set me up for life. I owe to them all the things I'm passionate about: music, art, the people I love, my career and family life, the fact that I have children and the way that I raise them. Olivia Williams
4 Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short. Anonymous
5 The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other. Mario Puzo
The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family. “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” Mother Theresa
7 “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” Frederick Buechner
8 To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there. Barbara Bush
9 I think togetherness is a very important ingredient to family life. Barbara Bush
10 Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family. Anthony Brandt

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 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Christianity, New Testament: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
2 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Christianity, New Testament: 1 Peter 4:8
3 Remembering me, you shall overcome all difficulties through my grace. But if you will not heed me in your self-will, nothing will avail you.” Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 18:58
4 If you wish to find the true way. Right action will lead you to it directly. But if you do not strive for Buddhahood you will grope in the dark and never find it. Buddhism.  Sutra of Hui Neng 2
5 In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. Lao Tzu
6 Free from self-will aggressiveness, arrogance, anger, and the lust to possess people or things, they are at peace with themselves and others and enter into the unitive state. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 18:53
7 I have heard and realized that bondage and salvation are both within yourself. Jainism.  Acarangasutra 5.36
8 Confucius said, "Set your heart upon the Way, support yourself by its power, lean upon goodness, seek distraction in the arts." Confucianism.  Analects 7.6
9 The Lord dwells in the hearts of all creatures and whirls them around upon the wheel of maya. Run to him for refuge with all your strength, and peace profound will be yours through his grace. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 18:61-62
10 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Christianity, New Testament: Philippians 2:3-4

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 on Dr. Martin Luther King’s early Years. Once upon a time Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born to Alberta Williams King and Martin Luther King Sr. In his own words: My home situation was very congenial. I have a marvelous mother and father. I can hardly remember a time they ever argued or had any falling out. These factors were highly significant in determining my religious attitudes. It is quite easy for me to think of a God of Love mainly because I grew up in a family where love was central and where lovely relationships were ever present. It is quite easy for me to think of the Universe as basically friendly mainly because of my uplifting hereditary and environmental circumstances. It is quite easy for me to lean more toward optimism than pessimism about human nature mainly because of my childhood experiences. In my own life and in the life of a person who is seeking to be strong, you combine in your character antitheses strongly marked. You are both militant and moderate; you are both idealistic and realistic. And I think that my strong determination for justice comes from the very strong, dynamic personality of my father, and I would hope that the gentle aspect comes from a mother who is very gentle and sweet. Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. Edited by Clayborne Carson. P2-3

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 will share how to enhance your family life:

1 Love each other unconditionally. The values of love teach us to care for others and caring for others is the beginning of the development of unity consciousness. The Universe loves you without conditions; do not restrict the flow of resources. Begin with your family!
Have daily prayers and meditations. Prayers and meditations help us to develop peace of mind. Meditation for instance calms us down and helps us to be realistic with our environment. Meditation helps children to divert their attention from the demands of their environment and focus on worthwhile goals.
Have Daily Family Disclosure Meeting. Family disclosure meetings help parents to tune into the life of their children in school and in day care. Children like to talk about their day and do not hesitate to encourage your children to share their day with the family. Ask what happened; what they contributed; what they received; what they gave; who influenced them and what they learned. Find out about the conflicts they had and if anyone got hurt during the day. In this way you could detect potential problems like drug use, smoking, peer pressure and bullies before they materialize.
Have a Family Mission Statement. Since Stephen Covey popularized writing a Family Mission Statement many families now have or talk about having a family mission statement.  If your family does not already have one, this is a good time to begin. Involve all members of your family when writing your family mission statement. Include your Family Values and your Family History.
Lean on your Family Values. The Universal Holy Book tells us that effective Family Values are based on unconditional love, truth, mutual support, individual responsibility, shared vision, respect, kindness, generosity, consistency, compassion and unity. Do you have a written Family Values Statement? Write your Family Values and post it where everyone could see it.
Work and Play together: Cook and clean together. Sing and dance together. Play home games together. Walk together. In short try to do all family unity activities together. They will enhance your relationships.
Be truthful in your interactions. The values of honesty teach us to be straightforward with our environment. When we are straightforward with our environment telling the truth becomes a way of life.
Be Patient with your family. The values of patience teach us to take time in our interactions with our environment. When we take time, we give way to the forces of unity and fulfillment to work in our favor.
Help the children with homework and assignments. The values of work teach us to contribute to the good of society. Work enables us to use our talents for the good of all creatures and at the same time it helps us to take care of our own needs and save us from boredom.
Have one-on-one visits with your family. You could have husband and wife, father and son, Father and daughter, mother and son, mother and daughter, and whole family visits. The visit could be walking, having lunch, window shopping or anything you want to do together that provides an opportunity to find out more about each other.
11. Learn Together: The Awakened Living Study Program is specially written for Friends and Family. Devote a day every week and host the Awakened Living Study Program. It could change your lives!

The importance of a happy family in the development of our children has been noted in many studies. Like Dr King we want our children to say “My home situation was very congenial (suited to one’s needs or nature or supportive). I have a marvelous mother and father”. But in order to deserve these jewels it is our responsibility to love our children without conditions, to provide a supportive environment and above all to be there for our family!

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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