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.

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.

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.

How to set goals

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While some tasks are completed within a matter of a few seconds, others take a life time to achieve. But if you want to move through life, you need to set goals – else you will become a driftwood.

  1. Determine your goals: When planning life goals you need to ask yourself a question: where do you want to see yourself after 10 years, or maybe 15? A career life goal might be to become a programmer. A fitness goal might be to become fit.

Examples of specific goals:

  • I want to cut down junk food.
  • I want to learn Spanish.
  • I want to participate in 10K marathon.
  1. Break your goals into smaller constituents: Once you have decided your goals it is time to break it down into smaller goals, this way you will be able to track your progress also. For example, if you want to be fit you need to start eating healthy.
  1. Write short term goals: One you have decided what your main goal is and also divided it into smaller goals, it is time to write it down. This will not only make it harder for you to ignore but make you accountable.
  1. Move towards your larger goals: Use these small goals that you have made for yourself as a stepping stone to achieve your bigger goal.
  1. Adjust goals periodically: There is nothing constant in life, including life itself. Hence one should always be prepared to tweak his/her goals.

Always remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.

Meaningless Goals

running-dog

A farmer had a dog that used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it.

One day a neighbor asked the farmer “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a vehicle?”

The farmer replied “That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he were to ever catch one?”

Many people in life behave like that dog, pursuing meaningless goals.

Reasons why you should travel

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Many people think that we need to wait for our later years of life to explore the world, and that the only places worth visiting are those that have a religious or historical significance. Well, everyone has the right to decide what’s right for them. But there is much more to traveling than just visiting places of religious and historic significance. Here’s my list of 5 reasons why you should travel:

  1. Disconnecting with your regular life: You get the opportunity to forget your problems for at-least a week or so. Sometimes this distancing away from the problem helps you understand it in a different perspective, thus helping you to solve it.
  2. The art of being patient: Traveling involves a lot of waiting, like waiting for your flight, waiting for your meal to be served at the restaurant, waiting to see God (or just the idol). All this teaches you the art of waiting, making you less twitchy and more relaxed.
  3. Making friends isn’t that difficult: Once we reach a certain age we find it difficult to make friends, why? The reason is that we are too busy meeting deadlines. But when traveling, we aren’t chasing any deadlines, and hence we are relaxed. This makes it the perfect opportunity to make friends.
  4. Flexibility: Probably not in the physical sense, unless you are visiting a yoga retreat. While most of the traveling schedule is planned, either by you or your travel agent, but there is always a surprise or two waiting for you. Like the unplanned rains, which makes you wait at a restaurant and sample Parsi cuisine.
  5. Improves social skills: Making small talk with your fellow passengers or having a lively discussion at the local bar, traveling will surely improve you social skills.

Life is a wonderful gift, and there is nothing more wonderful than traveling the world we live, understanding different cultures and most importantly creating beautiful memories that we can share and cherish.