Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 60: SELF CONTROL

 

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 SELF CONTROL. 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.

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
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.

Quite often some of us lose control of the circumstances around us. We hurt our children. We hurt our spouses. We hurt our relations and sometimes we even kill. And the consequence of this is that it changes our lives drastically. We lose custody of our children, we get a divorce, we serve time in prison and sometimes we lose our lives. Considering the consequences is it really worth it to lose control? Are you in control of the circumstances of your life? What areas in your life are out of control? What are they doing to your life? What have you done about them? What areas of your life are in harmony? How do you feel about them? Decide to work on your life to achieve balance. In the name of LOVE, the EARTH and the UNIVERSE! Amen

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. He who reigns within himself, and rules passions, desires, and fears, is more than a king. -John Milton
    2. He who angers you conquers you. -Elizabeth Kenny
    3.  I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self. -Aristotle
    4.  In the midst of movement and chaos keep stillness inside of you. -Deepak Chopra
    5.  The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. -Charles Darwin
    6.  He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty. Lao Tzu
    7.  Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.  Thomas Jefferson
    8.  If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.  Benjamin Franklin
    9.  Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control; these three alone lead one to sovereign power. Alfred Lord Tennyson
    10. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. Brian Tracy

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. With the conquest of my mind, I have conquered the whole world. Sikhism:Adi Granth, Japuji 28, M.1, p. 62. Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. Judaism: Tanakh Proverbs 25:28
3 Though one should conquer a million men on the battlefield, yet he, indeed, is the noblest victor who has conquered himself. Buddhism.  Dhammapada 103
4. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry…... You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Christianity: New Testament: Colossians 3:5-8
5. That man is disciplined and happy who can prevail over the turmoil. That springs from desire and anger, here on earth, before he leaves his body. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 5.23
6.
Attack the evil that is within yourself; do not attack the evil that is in others. Confucianism.  Analects 12.21
7.
He who knows others is intelligent; he who understands himself is enlightened. He who conquers others has force; but he who is able to control himself is mighty. Taoism.  Tao Te Ching 33
8. Know that the Self is the rider, and the body the chariot; that the intellect is the charioteer, and the mind the reins. The senses, say the wise, are the horses; the roads they travel are the mazes of desire...When a man lacks discrimination and his mind is uncontrolled, his senses are unmanageable, like the restive horses of a charioteer.  But when a man has discrimination and his mind is controlled, his senses, like the well-broken horses of a charioteer, lightly obey the rein. Hinduism. Katha Upanishad
9
. In days gone by this mind of mine used to stray wherever selfish desire or lust or pleasure would lead it. Today this mind does not tray and is under the harmony of control, even as a wind elephant is controlled by the trainer. Buddhism: Dhammapada 326
10. Though a man should conquer thousands and thousands of valiant foes, greater will be his victory if he conquers nobody but himself. Fight with yourself; why fight with external foes?  He who conquers himself through himself will obtain happiness....Difficult to conquer is oneself;  but when that is conquered, everything is conquered. Jainism.  Uttaradhyayana Sutra 9.34-36 

 

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 Self Control in a Zen Temple and it was taken from a View on Buddhism. 

One day there was an earthquake that shook the entire Zen temple. Parts of it even collapsed. Many of the monks were terrified. When the earthquake stopped the teacher said, "Now you have had the opportunity to see how a Zen man behaves in a crisis situation. You may have noticed that I did not panic. I was quite aware of what was happening and what to do. I led you all to the kitchen, the strongest part of the temple. It was a good decision, because you see we have all survived without any injuries. However, despite my self-control and composure, I did feel a little bit tense - which you may have deduced from the fact that I drank a large glass of water, something I never do under ordinary circumstances." One of the monks smiled, but didn't say anything. "What are you laughing at?" asked the teacher. "That wasn't water," the monk replied, "it was a large glass of soy sauce." 

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.  

Some of us may not know how to behave in a crises situation like an earthquake but we could all learn to manage our emotions and actions regarding sexual immorality, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language. The whole purpose of life might as well rest on overcoming these emotions because when we do that we truly become mighty!

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. 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

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 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.

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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