Patricia Coleman - chronicles


When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the jar … and the tea.

A qigong master stood before his disciples and had some items in front of him. Wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with small rocks. He then asked the disciples if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the qigong master then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the small rocks. He then asked the disciples again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. 

The qigong master next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The disciples responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The qigong master then poured two cups of tea into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The disciples laughed.

“Now,” said the qigong master, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The small rocks are the important things – learning qigong, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favourite passions/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 and 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 small rocks. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Practice and cultivate qigong daily. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your wife/husband/kids out to dinner. Accumulate De. There’s always time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the small rocks first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the disciples raised her hand and inquired what the tea represented. The qigong master smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of tea with a friend.”


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