Finding beauty in beans– Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 17

There was a book, popular many years ago, called Chop wood, carry water. It was about finding (or seeing, or allowing), the mundane tasks of life to become teachers to your inner-self. When you notice the life-essence within everything that surrounds you, when you feel that essence as you and you as that essence, even the smallest, most tedious tasks show you Life in all its fullness.


Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for

Guiding Thought

Life is beautiful. There is nothing other than Life. Life is within you; Life pours out from you. Everything everywhere is Life. Life is Being. You are Life. Offer all that you are in praise and thanks to all of Life.


In a few months I’ll be doing a Journey that I have never done before: Journey of Beauty. As with all the Journeys, I’m doing that Journey to learn and to evolve. Last year, I realized that I have scant understanding of beauty: I don’t think I get it. I have never thought I have an aesthetic sense, I don’t know “what looks good”, etc. I’m a little nervous about that Journey, for that reason.

Yet, when I approached the Journey today, Life is Beautiful, I thought I might have a better understanding than I think I do.

You see, this morning, I was in the kitchen putting dinner, Kaali daal, together in the slow-cooker. The beans I use are whole urad daal. Each and every bean looks exactly the same:


Part of the preparation is to go through all the beans and pick out any small stones that may have found their way into the bunch of beans. Most of the time, I find this a tedious process, spreading out a bunch of beans, then looking over them, each and every one, to find the things that are “not like the others” (the stones).

But this morning, I thought about the unique nature of each and every bean. Like snowflakes that look like flimsy white clumps as they come down, but unique and beautiful crystalline structures when looked at closely, the same is true of each bean. To a superficial eye, the beans all look the same, but in fact, each one is unique and beautiful.

I started paying attention to the details of each bean, trying to notice and appreciate the uniqueness of each one. Then I realized each bean is also a seed of life. wow. When I added that to my thinking, I became almost reverent toward each and every bean.

Then I realized that this process of noticing and appreciating was a form of Love; I was loving each bean! What’s more, every little bit of love poured into each bean will then be ingested when I eat them for dinner, which will then energize me and allow me to love even more! It’s like the cycle of today’s Guiding Thought wrapped up in the chore of cleaning beans.

I suddenly started “seeing” how important it is to pay attention to every detail, every nuance, every bit of Life. Each and every little bit is the beauty of Life. We just have to notice, pay attention, see it, and allow ourselves to be in it fully, for it is already fully in us.


Every Effort Matters. A Journey of Fulfillment: Day 13

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for

Your Self wills to create. Your Fulfillment is Creation.

Your Self wills to share. Your Joy is Sharing.

Your Self wills to extend itself. Your Peace is extension.



I try to think on this. I feel distracted. These affirmations that allude to Oneness and One Will feel distant, out of reach.

My mind is orbiting the earth, while I am trying to think about the guiding thought.

I think, “How can anything good come of this?” “How can I say anything meaningful about this?” “Being pre-occupied is not being a good role model.”

But, being real is being a good role model. Being “where I am”, where ever that is, on this Journey is why I am here, laid bare and honest about the struggle to connect with the Truth of my Self.

Sometimes I’m not ready for this, but I work on it and keep going. Lots of times I don’t understand, but I keep going.

Deep down, I know it’s OK. I know that if I struggle with distractions and preoccupation, other people do too. That’s why it’s up to me to keep going and figure it out.

When I recognize some hindrance, then share what I do about it, my hope is that if you come up against your own blocks you might be able to approach them in a new way, and not get as bogged down as you might have otherwise.

Here is what I am doing about it:

  1. First [defining the problem to the best of my ability]: I feel disconnected from the Truth of my Self. I could try to figure out how I got here—what did I do or not do that created this feeling of separation? But: that would not be very productive. What I want is the remedy. I want to solve the problem.

2(a). What solves the problem? That’s easy: Love. And, in a way, this also answers the question, “how did I get here?” I thought-or-did-or-willed something unloving. As I look back over my day, I can confirm: there was one situation that I kept thinking about angrily, feeling used, abused, and disrespected.

2(b). Since it’s not always easy to just shift into the solution (love), I’m taking a moment to forgive myself for feeling angry, used, abused, and disrespected, and also take a moment to forgive the person/people/situation that brought about those feelings. I may need to do this several times until I am clear. In the meantime, I can move on…

3. Be open to the solution, and be willing to accept it. The concept of the solution is easy, “just love”. But actually doing it? Why is that hard? Sometimes it is for me, anyway. Sometimes I think, “I don’t know what love is.” Sometimes I feel, “how does love feel in this situation?”

I don’t want to feel what I think I am supposed to feel; I want to feel what’s real…and I don’t always know what that is.

Most of the time I don’t get there; I don’t get to a place of certainty about Love…and certainly not when I am trying. Most of the time I am just waiting, trying to be open to Truth and True Love. Anger and frustration get in the way, and I don’t like it.

I am reminded of and encouraged by these sentiments, written by Simone Weil, the French philosopher:

Never…is a genuine effort of attention wasted. It always has its effect on the spiritual plane and in consequence on the lower one of the intelligence, for all spiritual light lightens the mind…

But it is certain that this effort will bear its fruit in prayer…Certainties of this kind are experimental. But if we do not believe in them before experiencing them, if at least we do not behave as though we believed in them, we shall never have the experience which leads to such certainties. There is a kind of contradiction here. Above a given level this is the case with all useful knowledge concerning spiritual progress. If we do not regulate our conduct by it before having proved it, if we do not hold on to it for a long time only by faith, a faith at first stormy and without light, we shall never transform it into certainty. (Weil, Simone. Waiting on God. Translated by Emma Craufurd. Collins-Fontana Books, 1973. P. 67-68)

In other words, every effort I make on a “higher level” bears fruit on the lower level. But, I need to act in accordance with my intention, even if I am not seeing results, or if I am not experiencing things the way I think I should. When I do (act in accordance with my intention) the effort will strengthen my faith in the “higher level” and vice versa—the ensuing faith will strengthen my effort.

Keeping on!