Okay, I learned about beans from the professionals: Mexicans!
Go get yourself an olla, a Mexican ceramic bean pot, from your nearby Mexican store. It's made of clay to disperse heat evenly, is shaped to confine the heat, and gives the beans a lovely distinctive earthy flavor. Clean and rinse your beans, no need for soaking. Heat your olla, add bacon drippings and onion and saute until golden (this will give the beans a roasty flavor reminiscent of pork fat), then plop in the beans and submerge with water (1:3 ratio). The more you cook at once the better the texture and the more even they cook. So do not be afraid to make enough for several meals. You will only need to add a tiny amount of water during the long cooking time because the olla reduces the amount of escaping steam. They take 2 or 3 hours to cook. Add salt, bacon, and more onions only when the beans are at their desired tenderness. Allow the flavors to marry for ten minutes. Serve with fresh tortillas, rice, and salsa verde (recipe given upon request). YUMMY! Que rico.
The only way to overcome the gas and digestion problems mentioned below is to eat lots of beans; often.