Feb 27 2014

Paul Williams



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Clarity, Faith, Goodness, Guides, Mindfulness




Life lessons come in as many shapes and sizes as there are people. The opportunity to learn can be in church or at the park watching a young father with his children.  Daddy referees are especially inventive.  An argument over a toy settled quickly by a clever comment.  “I don’t want you fighting over the ball and I really don’t want you getting on those swings”. Classic reverse psychology, which leads, of course, to both toddlers heading for the swings.  Yes, exactly what Pops wanted in the first place.

Recently, Tracey and her husband Glenn had a few friends over for dinner and I was included.  There’s always an interesting selection of folk at their gatherings.  After dinner the conversation turned to coffee. One of the guests was in the business and brought beans for all from somewhere in South America I think.

Tee’s a coffee snob.  There, I said it.  My eyes glazed over a bit as the conversation turned to roasting techniques, available home roasting appliances and how to choose a well-balanced bean.  Fascinating.  In what was probably a passive aggressive moment I confessed to being happy with instant.  I added I could enjoy it made with hot tap water.  Were they stunned? No, but that was probably the effect I was looking for.  Not me at my best.

As the talk turned to countries of origin for el beano perfecto I jumped in with the additional comment that “I don’t like the dark roast coffee’s that Tracey drinks.  They taste bitter to me.”   Her guest responded with something remarkable.

It seems the bitterness is a defensive element in the beans DNA.  Insects devour the beans at lower altitudes and some marvelous cosmic architect made the plants that way to protect them from the invasive little critters.   We were informed that at higher altitudes, where there are no insects, the coffee grows without that defensive ingredient.   Therefore the taste is smoother and easier on the palate.

And there, for me, was the life lesson.   At the very least it was a metaphor that I could learn from and use again and again.  Emmet Fox, an important spiritual leader of new thought, wrote about the biblical use of “A Higher Place” many times.   He quoted a passage from the 91st Psalm as an example.


“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”


The secret place of the most High is your consciousness, not some place in the sky. God is only to be contacted within. Jesus emphasized this truth again and again. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God,” he said. When asked where the kingdom of God could be found; he said, “When you pray, enter into the closet and shut the door,” meaning to return in thought to your consciousness.


                                                                                                                                                            Emmet Fox


And there it was.  A lovely way to illustrate the gift of an elevated consciousness. A spiritual lesson in a cup of smoother coffee.   It hasn’t changed my caffeine carelessness in the least but it has allowed me to once again appreciate the brilliance of the Cosmic Planner that put this whole deal together.  When they asked Einstein if he believed in God he said, and I’m paraphrasing, “I’ve spent my entire life studying plans.  There is none more elaborate than the universe and there had to be a planner.”

I offer this short essay as a thank you note to Glenn and Tracey for a lovely evening, and as an apology to their kind and generous friend.

This is what I learned. There’s more than a physical pick me up in the gift of that little bean.  There’s a reminder that we should always seek that higher plane if we’re going to live our lives in safer surroundings, wide-awake and always, always in gratitude and trust.




Paul Williams

Paul Williams is a singer, songwriter, actor, recovery advocate and has been a fixture on the American cultural scene since the seventies. His book Gratitude and Trust is now available.