Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 59: EDUCATION

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 EDUCATION. 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 the world so that we may receive the lessons of life for our guidance and the transformation of our lives. 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.

During my high school days I came across a quote “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. I did some research on the quote later and found that it was attributed to Derek Curtis Borg and Andy McIntyre. Derek Curtis Borg  is a two time president of Harvard University. He is an American Lawyer and Educator.  I will let you find out more about Andy McIntyre. My grandmother understood the importance of education to the extent that she made it her duty to take me to the headmaster to discuss my admission into elementary school and she bought my first school uniform and materials. If my grandmother was able to do that in the 1950s, we should be able to do more for our children now. However my educational journey was not an easy one. Taking away an 8-year old boy from his parents by an uncle to a remote corner of Nigeria for schooling was heart breaking for me. I can still feel the heartache and see the tears but it was worth it! What am I saying? I’m telling you that you cannot go wrong with education even when they take you away from your parents at a very young age in order to give you a good education. This presentation will attempt to share the importance of education and what you could do to help yourself.

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. The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think — rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men. ~Bill Beattie
    2. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
    3. He who opens a school door, closes a prison. ~Victor Hugo
    4. Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. ~Aristotle
    5. Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. ~Robert Frost
    6. Education is the movement from darkness to light. ~Allan Bloom
    7. Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~John Dewey
    The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. ~Sydney J. Harris
    It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense. ~Robert G. Ingersoll
    Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't. ~Pete Seeger

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 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. Judism, the Tanakh Proverbs 4:13
2 No step is lost on this path, and no dangers are found. And even a little progress is freedom from fear. Hinduism, Bhagavad Gita 2:40
3 Those who have high thoughts are ever striving: they are not happy to remain in the same place. Like swans that leave their lake and rise into the air, they leave their home for a higher home. Buddhism, The Dhammapada 7:91
4 The Master said, Little ones, Why is it that none of you study the Songs? For the Songs will help you to incite people’s emotions, to observe their feelings, to keep company, to express your grievances. They may be used at home in the service of one’s father; abroad, in the service of one’s prince. Moreover, they will widen your acquaintance with the names of birds, beasts, plants and trees. Confucianism, The Analects 17:9
5 Confucius said "At home, a young man should be a good son, when outside he should treat others like his brothers, his behavior should be one of trustworthy and proper, and should love the multitude at large and keep himself close to people of benevolence and morality. If after all these activities, he has any energy to spare, he should read widely to stay cultivated. Confucianism, The Analects 1:6
6. A good, all-round education, appreciation of the arts, a highly trained discipline and pleasant speech; this is the highest blessing. Buddhism.  Sutta Nipata 261
7. There is no greater wealth than wisdom; no greater poverty than ignorance; no greater heritage than culture. Islam (Shiite).  Nahjul Balagha, Saying 52
8. As the heat of a fire reduces wood to ashes, the fire of knowledge burns to ashes all karma.  Nothing in this world purifies like spiritual wisdom. It is the perfection achieved in time through the path of yoga, the path which leads to the Self within. Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 4.37-38
9. True learning induces in the mind service of mankind. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Asa, M.1, p. 356
10 He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good. Judaism: Tanakh, Proverbs 19:8

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 comes from the tripod website and it is titled “Killing the Guide as an Offering to Heaven”

Once upon a time there were several merchants who wanted to cross the ocean to sell their merchandise. But to do this, they needed a guide so they all went out to look for one. They finally found the right person and set out on their journey. They came upon a temple in the wilderness where they were required to offer a human being as sacrifice to heaven before they could go on. The merchants discussed the matter among themselves. "We are all relatives and friends, we can not kill any one of us. Only the guide is an outsider, fit for an offering."

They therefore killed the guide and presented him as an offering to Heaven. But after that, they lost their way and knew not which direction to follow. In the end, they all died from hunger and fatigue.

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 intended to help you to get much from your education. These are some  recommendations:

  1. Cultivate the habit of reading. If you really want to make a life for yourself in independence and freedom you must have a hunger for reading.
  2. Read widely. Read books from different parts of the world and on different subjects.
  3. Read a book every week
  4. Write a book review for each book you read
  5. Join a book club and read all their recommended books.
  6. Determine your interests and begin to read more books related to that area.
  7. Share the knowledge.

As Victor Hugo said “He who opens a school door, closes a prison”, let us commit to the proper education of our children at home and in our schools for the good of society now and always.

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 use the sample prayer if needed.

O LOVE who pervades the Universe and who resides in us
We thank You for Your presence during our studies and reflections.
May these studies bear fruits within us for our good and the good of our environment.
As we go through our day to day activities may You guide us and protect us.
And bring us here again to continue your work for your glory. Amen

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 Awakened Living 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 time to share your 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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