Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 54: SIBLINGS

Introduction
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 SIBLINGS. 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.

Announcements
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
he 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.

Siblings are children of the same parents meaning that you are brothers and sisters. If you are a boy, a female sibling is your sister and if you are a girl, a male sibling is your brother. If you are two males you are brothers and if you are two females you are sisters. The definition also includes children with only one parent in common. For instance if your mother remarried and gave birth to a boy and a girl; the boy is your half brother and the girl is your half sister if you are a boy. Sometimes siblings experience moments of rivalry but the bond they form often lasts a lifetime.  This presentation is about how to know your siblings and get along with them.

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 don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.” Maya Angelou
2 “Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and can be of service to him. And blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is afar off as when he is by his side, and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face.” St Francis of Assisi
3 “Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply.” Jane Austen
4 “Brothers don’t necessarily have to say anything to each other – they can sit in a room and be together and just be completely comfortable with each other.” Leonardo DiCaprio
5 I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three. IFC
6 “We hang out, we help one another, we tell one another our worst fears and biggest secrets, and then just like real sisters, we listen and don’t judge.” Adriana Trigiani
7 “To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family grief and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” Clara Ortega
8 Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way. - Pamela Dugdale
9 "Your parents leave you too soon and your kids and spouse come along late, but your siblings know you when you are in your most inchoate form." — Jeffrey Kluger
10 "If you want to do really important things in life and big things in life, you can't do anything by yourself. And your best teams are your friends and your siblings." ― Deepak Chopra
11 "We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together." ― Erma Bombeck
12 Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one. Each of our lives will always be a special part of the other." Anonymous
13 There's a special kind of freedom sisters enjoy. Freedom to share innermost thoughts, to ask a favor, to show their true feelings. The freedom to simply be themselves." Anonymous
14 “Think of your family today and every day thereafter, don’t let the busy world of today keep you from showing how much you love and appreciate your family.”  Anonymous

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 A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. Jainism. Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
2 Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence. Confucianism. Mencius VII.A.4
3 Comparing oneself to others in such terms as "Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I," he should neither kill nor cause others to kill. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 705
4 Compassion is a mind that savors only mercy and love for all sentient beings. Buddhism. Nagarjuna, Precious Garland 437
5 Have benevolence towards all living beings, joy at the sight of the virtuous, compassion and sympathy for the afflicted, and tolerance towards the indolent and ill-behaved. Jainism. Tattvarthasutra 7.11
6 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Christianity, New Testament: Hebrews 13:2
7 Of the adage, Only a Good Man knows how to like people, knows how to dislike them, Confucius said, "He whose heart is in the smallest degree set upon Goodness will dislike no one." Confucianism. Analects 4.3-4
8 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. Christianity, New Testament: 1 Peter 4:10
9 All the people of the whole world are equally brothers and sisters. There is no one who is an utter stranger. There is no one who has known the truth of this origin. It is the very cause of the regret of Tsukihi (God). The souls of all people are equal, whether they live on the high mountains or at the bottoms of the valleys. Tenrikyo. Ofudesaki XIII.43-45
10 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Christianity, New Testament: Hebrews 13:16
11 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
12 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Christianity, New Testament: Galatians 5:26

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 concerns the festival of Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi to celebrate the love and duty between brothers and sisters.

Raksha Bandhan is celebrated mostly in many parts of India and Nepal. Presently it is celebrated wherever there are Indians, Pakistanis and Nepalese including the United States and the United Kingdom. The festival takes place during late July and early August and it celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters. But the celebration now includes any brother-sister relationship between men and women who may or may not be biologically related. In this sense neighbors, friends and cousins could partake in the celebrations. In this festival the brother promises to protect his sister from harm while the sister wishes her brother with long and happy life. During the ceremony a sister ties a RAKHI (sacred thread) on her brother’s wrist and prays for his prosperity and happiness. The thread symbolizes the sister’s love. In return the brother gives his sister a token gift and promises to protect her from danger.

When a brother and a sister are in different locations the sister usually sends the rachis to her brother.

Our second teaching Story is “Giving Blood”, a Buddhist story:

Once upon a time, a little girl was ill with a rare blood disorder and was in need of a blood donor but a match could not be found. As a last resort, they checked her 6 year old brother and found a match. At this point the doctor and the mother explained to the boy that his sister needed his blood in order to live and asked if he would save his sister’s life? The boy looked at them and asked if he could think about it? The following day the boy told his mother and the doctor that he would give blood to his sister so that she may live. So they placed the boy next to his sister and began the blood transfusion. The moment the blood of the boy started flowing into the girl her color changed and her life returned. When it was over the boy asked the doctor, How long will it take before I die?”

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 to get along with your siblings.

1 Learn about each other: Quite often people have conflicts because they do not know much about each other. Knowledge is power so observe and find out as much as possible from your siblings. Know their likes and dislikes; know what is important to them; know their interests and also know the things they do not want to talk about like religion or politics.

2 Communication: Misunderstanding is another reason for conflicts between siblings. Open the lines of communication and express yourself. Talk about your likes and dislikes and how you feel inside when something happens. Another element of communication is listening. Give your full attention to the person who is talking and do not unnecessarily interrupt the person. You can learn a lot from a person if you listen to them with full attention.

3 Apologize: Do not delay to show how sorry you are when you hurt your sibling. Even if you think that you did not do anything wrong try to find out something and apologize immediately.

4 Resolve your conflicts: Do not go on and on about how right you are and how wrong your sibling is. Take a deep breath and look for a common ground. If you cannot find any at the moment involve your parents and let them mediate between you.

5 Do things together: Play games, watch movies, exercise, meditate, and pray together. Also participate in the interests of your sibling even if you do not necessarily share the same interests. For instance if your sibling likes dusting the furniture in your home you can join him or her and do it together and it will double the fun.

6 Be Generous to your Sibling: Always do the best for your sibling so that you do not regret it later. The moment you have to do your best for your sibling is now because there might not be a second chance.

Donations
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.

Refreshments
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.

Health
1. Are you healthy?
2. Do you have any bad habits like drinking, smoking, pornography, fast foods, etc?

Spirituality
1. Are you spiritual?
2. When was the last time you meditated, chanted, affirmed or prayed?

Family
1. Do you have a family?
2. Are you happy with your spouse, children, and parents?

Relationships
1. Do you have friends?
2. Are you happy with your friends, co-workers, boss?

Education
1. Do you have a degree?
2. When was the last time you read a book?

Mission
1. Do you have a mission statement?
2. What is your life mission?

Finances
1 Are you financially stable?
2. Do you have any debts?

Work
1. Do you have a job, career?
2. Are you happy with your job, career?

Play
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?

Environment
1 Are you happy with your environment?
2. How are you reducing pollution?

Creativity
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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