Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 46: FIDELITY

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 FIDELITY. 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.

Anyone in his or her fifties or sixties should be able to talk about fidelity with confidence. So what is fidelity? Fidelity is faithfulness to one’s duty, or obligations or promises but in this presentation it is faithfulness to one’s spouse and family. Talking about fidelity almost sounds like a taboo subject because one never hears about it in the news. We do not hear about it mostly because of the personal nature of the subject. But how do we motivate others to be faithful to their spouses and families if we do not share our experiences? This presentation will look at the faces of fidelity and share how we could all learn to be faithful in our relationships.

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 Nothing is more noble; nothing more venerable than fidelity. Faithfulness and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind. Marcus Tullius Cicero
2 When I talk about the importance of the institution of marriage, I think of the commitment and the significance of standing in front of those closest to you and promising fidelity to your partner 'til death do you part.' Mark Udall
3 True happiness... is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. Helen Keller
4 The moral code of Heaven for both men and women is complete chastity before marriage and full fidelity after marriage. Exra Taft Benson
I don't like to discuss my marriage, but I will tell you something which may sound corny but which happens to be true. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger? Paul Newman
6 Personally, I think fidelity is important. I don't see any point in being together if you're not being honest, having fun together, and respecting one another. Why would you stay in a relationship otherwise? Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
7 No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. Anthony Kennedy
8 Be slow to fall into friendship, but when thou art in, continue firm and constant. Socrates
9 Not observation of a duty but liberty itself is the pledge that assures fidelity. Ellen Key
10 Another of our highly prized virtues is fidelity. We are immensely pleased with ourselves when we are faithful. Ida Ross Wylie

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 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Christianity, New Testament: Hebrews 13:4
 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
3 Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Christianity, New Testament: Luke 16:18
4 Adultery leads to loss of merit, loss of sleep, condemnation and increasing suffering. On this downward course, what pleasure can there be for the frightened lying in the arms of the frightened, both going in fear of punishment? Therefore do not commit adultery. Buddhism, Dhammapada 309-310
5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Christianity, New Testament: Ephesians 5:5
6 The moral man finds the moral law beginning in the relation between man and woman, but ending in the vast reaches of the universe. Confucianism. Doctrine of the Mean 12
7 Do not abuse your wife. Women are sacred. If you make your wife suffer, you will die in a short time. Our grandmother, Earth, is a woman, and in abusing your wife you are abusing her. By thus abusing our grandmother, who takes care of us, by your action you will be practically killing yourself. Native American Religions. A Winnebago Father's Precepts
8 When women are honored, there the gods are pleased; but where they are not honored, no sacred rite yields rewards. When the female relations live in grief, the family soon wholly perishes; but that family where they are not unhappy ever prospers. Hinduism. Laws of Manu 3.56-57
9 A virtuous wife who, after the death of her husband, constantly remains chaste even though she have no son, will reach heaven just as do men living a life of renunciation.... Hinduism. Laws of Manu 5.160
10 When a family declines, ancient traditions are destroyed. With them are lost the spiritual foundations for life, and the family loses its sense of unity. Where there is no sense of unity, the women of the family become corrupt; and with the corruption of its women, society is plunged into chaos. Social chaos is hell for the family and for those who have destroyed the family as well. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 1.40-42

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?

Once upon a time a horse fell to the ground and would not move. The owners knew of Camara Laye’s mother’s miraculous powers and went to her for help. When she arrived at the scene the owners tried again to help the horse to get up but the result was still the same. The horse was just lying down there. When the horse still did not move one of the owners raised his hand to hit it but Camara Laye’s mother stopped him. Then she went to the horse, lifted her hand and said slowly and loudly: “From the day of my birth I had knowledge of no man until the day of my marriage. And from the day of my marriage I have had knowledge of no man other than my husband. If these things are true, then I command you, horse, rise up” And the horse immediately got up and followed the owners quietly.

This story attests to the power of TRUTH. It is really not an African story but a universal story. TRUTH is universal and that is why we have similar stories in other cultures. Here is “The Fish who worked a Miracle”-Buddhist Fables

Once upon a time, the Enlightenment Being was born as a fish in a pond in northern India. There were many kinds of fish, big and small, living in the pond. There came to be a time of severe draught. The rainy season did not come as usual. The crops of men died, and many ponds, lakes and rivers dried up. The fish and turtles dug down and buried themselves in the mud, frantically trying to keep wet and save themselves. The crows were pleased by all this. They stuck their beaks down into the mud, pulled up the frightened little fish, and feasted on them. The suffering of pain and death by the other fish touched the Enlightenment Being with sadness, and filled him with pity and compassion. He realized that he was the only one who could save them. But it would take a miracle. The truth was that he had remained innocent by never taking the life of anyone. He was determined to use the power of this wholesome truth to make rain fall from the sky, and release his relatives from their misery and death. He looked up to the sky, and called on the rain god Pajjunna and exclaimed, "Oh my friend Pajjunna, god of rain, I am suffering for the sake of my relatives. Why do you withhold rain from me, who am perfectly wholesome, and make me suffer in sympathy with all these fish?" "I was born among fish, for whom it is customary to eat other fish - even our own kind, like cannibals! But since I was born, I myself have never eaten any fish, even one as tiny as a rice grain. In fact, I have never taken life from anyone. The truthfulness of this my innocence gives me the right to say to you: Make the rains fall! Relieve the suffering of my relatives!" "Make rain fall from the thunderclouds! Do not allow the crows their hidden treasures! Let the crows feel the sorrow of their unwholesome actions. At the same time release me from my sorrow, who have lived in perfect wholesomeness." After only a short pause, the sky opened up with a heavy downpour of rain, relieving many from the fear of death - fish, turtles and even humans. And when the great fish who had worked this miracle eventually died, he was reborn as he deserved.

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 we could learn to be faithful.

  1. Get married: Marriage seems to supply the ingredient for faithfulness. You come together to be united as one in the presence of the sacred and witnesses. This is a good step for those who think they are not faithful because they are not married. In reality you don’t need to be married to remain faithful but it helps. Faithfulness is a requirement in all human relationships.
  2. Leave your friends at the temple gate: Quite often some people keep friends of the opposite sex even after marriage and in some cases these friends contribute to unfaithfulness. Your old life is over and any old baggage you take to the new life could be a source of problems. Focus completely on the new life!
  3. Decide to be faithful: The marriage ceremony ought to provide everything you need for you to be faithful to your spouse but let us face it you are probably more scared than excited with so many people watching your every move. In this setting you are really not your real self and all the promises made are really not your promises. They are the general promises every person makes when they get married unless you replaced the general promises with your own promises. Even if you supplied your own promises I still recommend a private session for you to decide to be faithful and for both of you to agree to be faithful to each other.
  4. Wear Your Wedding ring always: There may be some exceptions but wearing your wedding ring sends the message that you are no longer available for a possible union.
  5. Always be together in Public: Being together and doing things together helps to cement your relationship.

Mahatma Gandhi considers God as TRUTH and in one of his quotes he actually said that “There is no God higher than truth. Truth not only sets us free IT also has power to change our lives and the lives of our neighbors as we have learned from the two teaching stories. However it is important to note that truth has no religion, no culture and no nation; IT is as clear as night and day to both believers and non believers.

Among the sacred text quotes there is one that says "God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral". I wonder how many people believe in this statement? If people do believe in it why do we have so many infidelity stories? Notice that some of these stories include the illicit activities of the so called functionaries of God. In short the religion of FEAR has failed! Any religion that is based on fear can never improve human consciousness and it is no wonder that many are leaving the religions. They have used fear to control the people for over 2000 years and it is now going down! The people of this generation are not waiting to hear what a cultural God said over 2000 years ago; they want to be connect to the SOURCE of everything! 

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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