Spirituality * Culture * Self-Expression

Month: August 2014

A Grandmother’s Advice



A young woman was having problems with her life and went to her grandmother for some help and advice. “I don’t know if I’m going to make it,” she said. “Life is getting too hard. There’s one problem after another. I’m tired of fighting and struggling; I just want to give up.”

Her grandmother took her into the kitchen and sat her down at the table. She then filled three pots with water and placed each pot on the stove. When the water came to a boil, she put some carrots in the first pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

carrot egg coffee


She let everything sit and boil, without saying a word. After about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She carefully fished the carrots out of the first pot and placed them in a bowl. Then she pulled the eggs out of the second pot and placed them in another bowl. Finally, she ladled the coffee out of the third pot and placed it in a third bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the young woman replied. The grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich flavour. The granddaughter then asked, “What does it mean, grandmother?”

Her grandmother said, “Each of these items have faced the same problem, the same adversity: they’ve all been thrown into boiling water and left to cook. However, each item reacted differently. The carrots went in strong, hard and unrelenting. But, after being subjected to the boiling water, they softened and became weak.

“The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after spending time in the boiling water, its inside became hardened! The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they actually changed the water.”

“Now, which are you?” the grandmother asked the girl. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”



Like the young woman in the story, when we find ourselves in difficult situations, it might be useful to consider the grandmother’s advice. We could ask ourselves: Which am I? After a death, a break up, financial hardship, illness or any of a thousand other problems people face – Which am I?  Am I the carrot? Do I start out strong and sturdy but with pain and adversity do I wilt, become soft and lose my resolve?

Am I the egg? Do I start with a malleable, flexible heart, and fluid spirit but with the heat and pressure, though I look the same on the outside, do I become bitter and tough on the inside with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the bean’s fragrance and flavour. When things are at their worst, the bean makes things better by adding something positive to the situation . When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?



I’ve Seen Things

weird shit



I found this picture of Alice from “Alice in Wonderland” talking to Dorothy from “the Wizard of Oz” circulating on Facebook. Both of these girls have seen some “weird shit” and really have no one to talk to about it – except each other. Unfortunately, their world’s never crossed so everyone they shared their individual experiences with thought they were crazy or just victims of over active childhood imaginations.

As a mystic I can relate to this image. No, I’ve never been to Oz or Wonderland but I have experienced “weird shit.” Most people on a mystic path will eventually encounter something strange and unexplainable. Some of the strange things such as body tingles, lucid dreaming, euphoria, open mindedness, acceptance, and a weird sense of joy are common. After these experiences, when the senses are somewhat attuned, it’s possible to start ‘seeing’ things around you that go unnoticed by others – usually more vibrant colours, more depth in objects, a peculiar sensing of people’s moods and intentions. Occasionally objects or beings from other realms might be perceived as intruding on your space. Communication with people from distant places or times might also occur. There are also various exercises and practices that allow you to deliberately seek out new experiences through activities such as out-of-body travel or merging with universal intelligence. Anyone who has travelled awhile on the mystic path knows about and accepts these occurrences. However, there are other experiences that are unique to each individual, or at least uncommon. One relates to the actual content of any communication with other beings. If you encounter a spiritual master on the path the words and images shared might only be for you. There is a gospel song called “In the Garden” that expresses this concept – the chorus is:

And He walks with me

And He talks with me

And He tells me I am His own

And the things we share as we tarry there

None other has ever known


master and disciple

There is also a uniqueness associated with how you initially push out of the normal world and into the world of mystical enlightenment. Lewis Carroll and L. Frank Baum, the authors of the Alice and Dorothy stories, seem well aware of this idea – perhaps because they both had mystical sentiments. Dorothy reaches Oz by various means – the most well-known is by tornado, but in other stories people get to Oz in other ways, such as by going up in a balloon, through a cave or by diving under the sea. Alice gets to Wonderland by going down a rabbit hole in one story and by stepping into a looking glass in another.

Long ago I was associated with a particular mystical lodge group and I was giving a presentation on the enlightenment experience. I described it as being like turning off Niagara Falls, then standing at the bottom and turning the water back on – a terrifying, crushing sensation that at the same time is exhilarating and liberating as one merges with the deluge and then emerges into the eternal sea.

mystic under water

After my talk, one member took me aside and said he didn’t agree with my image. Not having been through the experience himself, he said that if enlightenment was to occur it must be a peaceful, loving process. But another, older, member was walking by and overheard the statements. He said I was correct in my image – the move to enlightenment can sometimes be a frightening, even painful occurrence.

I was young at the time and did not realize that I should have latched onto that older gentleman and pumped him for more knowledge and understanding of the mystical path. As it is I have not met another person in the flesh who shared my revelations (though I have read about similar events in people’s lives). And I fear that many of the things that happened beyond the waterfall can never be discussed openly with anyone. Like Alice and Dorothy, most mystics in the everyday world must walk their path alone.

lonely road




Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén