Clay Balls

Image-Jems

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn’t look like much, but they intrigued the man so he took the bag out of the cave with him.

As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could. He thought little about it until he dropped one of the balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone.

Excited the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure.

He found millions of rupees worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of millions of rupees in treasure, he could have taken home tens of millions, but he just threw it away.

It’s like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It isn’t always beautiful or sparkling so we discount it. We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person by God.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.

May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

Inner Peace: How to achieve it?

Inner Peace

We live in a convulsive society that forces us to have very restless lives in which we do not stop for a second. If we neglect, we are dragged by a whirlwind of tasks, most of them insignificant, but they do not leave us a minute free. In fact, we are so imbued with this rhythm that sometimes, when we have a little time for ourselves, we feel guilty.

However, there is a time when it is necessary to say “enough!”. It suffices to the senseless preoccupations and the overwhelming rhythm of life. It suffices social pressures and the desire to do everything perfectly.

Rediscovering inner peace is fundamental. Therefore, from time to time it is imperative to relax a bit, take a break and give a new order to our priorities.

What is inner peace?

The inner peace is a subjective feeling of well-being, it is impalpable but very real since it fills us with a deep tranquillity. It is a state in which we are freed from the main concerns, fears, stress and suffering.

However, inner peace involves more than freeing ourselves from negative emotions and feelings, it also means being aware of the wonders of life and feeling fully connected with the universe and with ourselves.

Inner peace is a feeling of calmness in which we stop struggling against negative and disturbing thoughts and emotions, although that does not mean that they do not exist but that they stop dominating us and causing us harm. It is a state in which we mentally and emotionally separate ourselves from everyday problems and conflicts, stopping at the verminousness of the daily routine.

Can inner peace be achieved?

Many people think that it is impossible to achieve a state of inner peace. They say that everyday life is so uncertain and sometimes so capricious, that it is not possible to find serenity. And it is true, at least for these people. When we have a locus of external control and any situation has the power to negatively affect us and make us lose our calm, it is impossible to find inner peace. These people are like leaves moved by the wind.

However, this does not imply that it is impossible to achieve inner peace. When we have an internal locus of control we can decide which wars are worth fighting for. Once we take the reins of our life, we can aspire to inner peace.

Therefore, inner peace is not something that is along the way, it is a personal decision, it is something that we can construct by consciously assuming those behaviors that can give us serenity.

Seven keys to achieving that state of inner peace:

1. Give time for reflection. Spend less hours on newspapers and newscasts and more time exploring your interior. Once you allow your mind to absorb the negativity transmitted by most media, it is very difficult to clean it. So, schedule your day so that you have time to be alone with yourself and reflect. It is not that you turn your problems around but that you practice meditation, that you try to rediscover in yourself the peace and serenity that you need. It is about that every day, you are accountable to yourself.

2. Simplify your life. Sometimes you do not want the day to have more than 24 hours? We cannot extend the day at our whim but we can simplify our life, so that we take better advantage every hour. From time to time, it is convenient to stop and ask if we are doing what we like or if we are wasting time uselessly. At this point we should think about how to simplify our life so that we can focus on the important things, which give us satisfaction.

3. Avoid criticism, practice acceptance. We tend to compare, draw conclusions and then criticize. However, negative criticism is the worst enemy of inner peace. When we criticize we place ourselves in the position of fighting against someone, when we should empathize and try to understand. Criticism not only hurts those who are criticized but also the one who issues that judgment of value. Criticism is often an expression of mental rigidity and rejection. However, inner peace cannot be achieved by closing oneself to the world but by finding harmony with it.

4. Accept negative thoughts and emotions. Finding inner peace means, above all, balance. Therefore, you will not be able to find serenity if you continue to struggle against “negative” thoughts and emotions or if you intend to hide them in the most hidden part of your mind. To attain inner peace, you need to accept these thoughts and emotions, in fact, experiencing them, will lose their influence on you and you will get rid of their burden.

5. Learn to let go. Throughout our life we ​​accumulate a lot of resentment and resentment, these feelings end up hurting us and prevent us from achieving that inner peace that we so long for. That is why it is fundamental that we learn to let go of those feelings that affect us and keep us tied to the past. The visualization technique ” the leaves of the river ” will help you to achieve it.

6. Practice gratitude. Do not let a single day go by without feeling grateful for something. There is always something for which to give thanks, you just must learn to value the things that we take for granted, as the simple fact of living or having at our side people who love us and those we love. When we begin to feel grateful for what we have, instead of complaining about what we do not have, we find a new internal balance.

7. Give without expecting to receive change. Selfishness has settled in our culture, people give hope of receiving something in return, in a kind of tacit Mafioso agreement. However, to achieve inner peace, we must shed selfishness and rediscover the pleasure of giving by the simple act of helping. The act of giving itself must be satisfactory, that is the goal, not to expect something in return.

It is important to remember that in a balanced state of mind a human being can measure emotions and take appropriate action in a conscious way.

The Importance of Routine

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It is common that society – especially in the present day, when new technologies and social networks are the day to day – see the routine expression with some fear. Routine, for most people, refers to something monotonous, annoying, tiresome, that does not give pleasure. When they want to do something new, people often say that they “get out of the rut”, that’s worth it, it’s fun and exciting.

It is worth mentioning, however, that routine is something that is paramount for anyone who wants to plan goals in life. Without it, it is possible that our society had not evolved to the current parameters. The establishment of our species in certain places, as well as the development of agriculture, sought a less unstable reality for survival. Without that, we would still be wandering in search of food.

Fundamental issues in our lives, such as keeping a schedule at work, having a bedtime, eating, or exercising are nothing more than routine. In college, post-graduate, MBA, or any type of qualification, there it is again: the routine of lessons, tests, work, without which we would probably not experience new knowledge.

This does not mean, of course, that our lives should be a timed sequence of routines for every action we take. It is important that we have time to know new things that are not in our daily lives. However, when we complain about the routine, we hardly know that it is precisely the organization that will allow us more leisure time.

The organization of the routine is therefore not an enemy to be fought, but a path that can enable us to plan for our dreams and goals, while at the same time it can create more time for the leisure activities we want, such as trips and family outings. Just as sound is only possible because of silence, to escape the routine, it is necessary to have at least a bit of routine in life.

The Lesser Known Indian Tribes

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India is a country full of fascinating cultural diversity, it has more to offer than one can experience in one lifetime. There are numerous tribes following and preserving their distinct culture and traditions, that has been practiced by their ancestors since time immemorial. Below is the list of seven lesser known tribes of India and a few lines about them.

  1. Bnei Menashe

They claim to be the descendants of the lost Israeli tribes who came to Manipur after being exiled from their motherland when it was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 772 BC. In the 19th century they were converted to Christianity, but in the late 20th century, their claims of being descendants of the Israel’s exiled tribes were finally confirmed by a rabbi from Israel. They then converted back to their original religion.

  1. Sentinelese

This is one of the most elusive tribe in the world. They have no desire of mixing with the rest of the world, and become extremely hostile when an outsider tries to break into their sanctity of elusiveness. Several attempts to establish contacts with them have been made, which were responded by arrows and javelin causing injuries and deaths. Today, the indigenous tribe of Andaman, enjoys complete autonomy with the occasional patrols from the Indian government.

  1. Chenchus

This tribe lives in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Odisha. They are still dependent on forests and do not cultivate land but hunt for a living. Non-tribe people living among them rent land from the them and pay them a portion of the harvest. These allow a man or a woman to marry without any parental pressure. Widow remarriage is also not a very big deal for them.

  1. Bishnoi

This tribe of Rajasthan were the original environmental conversationalists of India. In the year 1730, 363 Bishnoi men and women sacrificed their lives to save trees from being cut down by the king of Jodhpur. The Bishnoi community have dug up wells, cultivated vegetation and made the land liveable with their bare hands, where they lead a peaceful and simple life.

  1. Siddi

This tribe is scattered all over India and Pakistan and owes its origin to Southeast Africa. They came to India around 700 A.D as slaves of Arab and Portuguese merchants. Goma, a dance and music form of the African Bantu tribe is still practised by the Siddi tribe in parts of Gujarat where it’s called Dhamaal.

  1. Muria

The Muria tribe is from Chhattisgarh. Traditionally they are economically homogenous and strive to work as a collective. They have mixed-sex dormitories where adolescents are sent to practice premarital sex, sometimes with a single partner and sometimes serially. They have an omnivorous diet, with liquor playing a key role in their society.

  1. Drokpa

They live in Ladakh and are believed to be the descendants of the soldiers of Alexander who came down to India in 327 BC. Drokpas do not marry out of their community to preserve their ethnicity. Dressed magnificently in luscious fur coats and flower pots that sets them apart from the rest of the tribes in the region. They are open about pre-marital sex, polygamy, polyandry and public display of affection are also known to consider wife swapping as a part of their culture and tradition.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga

Today being international yoga day, I felt it only necessary to write a couple of lines about yoga and its benefits.

What is yoga?

Yoga is a way of living that aims towards ‘a healthy mind residing in a healthy body’. Contrary to the belief, it is not a religion. Which means that even if you hate Hinduism you can still safely practice yoga. Although just like everything that has originated in this country and been there since millenniums, yoga has its roots in the Hindu culture.

What is the use of yoga?

The benefits of yoga mostly depend on the lifestyle one follows and the kind of asanas one practices. But even after regularly practicing yoga for just a few weeks, here are some of the benefits one may experience:

  1. Improved flexibility
  2. Muscle strength
  3. Better posture
  4. Better blood circulation
  5. Lower stress levels
  6. Relaxed body and mind
  7. Better focus

What are the advantages of yoga?

The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. The various poses and deep breaths help the heart do its job, increasing blood flow throughout the body, and improving the entire circulatory system. Yoga is also known to relieve stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation. It also sharpens attention and concentration.

Can yoga get you in shape?

While yoga is not an intense workout as running or aerobics would be, but you can still get in shape if you stick to a regular workout schedule.

What is the ultimate purpose of yoga?

The goal of yoga is to help the individual transcend the self and attain enlightenment.

यदा विनियतं चित्तमात्मन्येवावतिष्ठते |

नि:स्पृह: सर्वकामेभ्यो युक्त इत्युच्यते तदा ||

Which means, when a perfectly disciplined mind gets freedom from all desires and becomes absorbed in the self alone, a person is said to have achieved yoga.

But this is easier said than done and takes years of devotion, practice, dietary restrictions and control over senses to reach such a state. As for the ordinary person, it improves circulation, posture, flexibility, muscle strength, helps relax the body and the mind, brings down stress levels and helps sleep better.

In 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested United Nations to celebrate June 21 as the International Yoga Day as it is the summer solstice; the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. This tradition is 5000 years old. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in wellbeing. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.” — Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly, September 2014.

If you still haven’t welcomed yoga into your life, it’s never too late.

The Rest is Just Sand

Dunes

A philosophy professor stood before his class with a few items on the table in front of him. He picked up a large glass jar and started to fill it with rocks.

The professor then asked his students. “Is the jar full?”

The students nodded their heads and agreed that the jar was full.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again. “Is the jar full?”

The students again nodded their heads and agreed that the jar was full.

The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.

He then asked once more. “Is the jar full?”

The students this time responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now” said the professor. “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.

“If you put the sand into the jar first” he continued. “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”

Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.