Day 5 of 29 Days of Spiritual Messages.
Today’s passage is an excerpt from Mary Hayes-Grieco’s book The Kitchen Mystic.
For many, the onion is simply an edible bulbous plant, the Allium cepa, that is usually white, yellow, or red, and is composed of fleshy, tight, concentric leaf bases having a pungent odor and taste.
And let’s not forget that it can make us cry.
But for others, onions carry their own special brand of divinity.
So, let’s chop into this passage:
“I see God in onions. I always have. I remember when I first saw my mother slicing into an onion when I was about six. I stopped my playing, awestruck. What is this vegetable that is so pure, so watery-white, so many-layered in concentric rings that make mounds of perfect circles as they fall open onto the cutting board? I begged her to let me cut some, despite her warning that it would make my eyes burn. I can remember the concentration and reverence welling up within me as I awkwardly tried to make perfect slices. My eyes did burn and I had to stop after a few cuts, but I vowed that I would understand onions some day and cook with them myself.”
One of my favorite aromas while cooking is the smell of onions sauteing in butter. It’s a smell that fills the entire house, making it feel like a home.
But one must go beyond the simple act of slicing and sauteing an onion to the core of this passage.
When we awaken to the Divine, we see that it exists everywhere. In this case, God exists in the lowly onion. Not many people would consider the Divine in an onion. Most would look to a church or temple or to some “religious” artifact. But this passage begs the question, “Well, why can’t we search for God in an onion?” The answer is, we can. There is no law that states that we can’t. The onion is simply a starting place.
When the Divine makes Itself known, it grabs our attention. We stop our “playing” — our pretending — and we suddenly awaken to something that is so powerfully awesome. We take notice of its Design, though we may not fully understand it, especially as we begin our spiritual journey. We see its purity and its perfection. Beneath the surface, we come to see layer upon layer in this Sacred Design, giving us pause for reflection about its existence and meaning and our place in this Divine Design. We wonder, How do I fit into all of this, if I do?
When the Divine reveals Itself, we find ourselves on a quest. Our focus switches from one of “playing” to one of deep “concentration and reverence.” A shift happens. We try to approach the Divine with methods and thinking that are outdated, that can not and will not serve us on our new path.
Cutting into the Sacred — trying to slice it and dice it to make it fit into one pan of spirituality — comes with the “warning” that we are to approach it carefully and mindfully. We “awkwardly [try] to make perfect slices” only to find our “eyes” — our ego, our old ways — burning because we are trying to look through old lenses, when we need to see with renewed eyes, ones that will lead us to a deeper, richer spiritual understanding.
When the Divine burns this new truth into us, we come to appreciate its Mystery. We realize that the Sacred can’t and won’t be contained in any one object, not a church, not a temple, not an onion. The Divine is never the thing and the thing is never the Divine. These objects are merely starting places; they point us further in the direction of the Divine.
When we embrace the Divine Mystery, we enter into Sacred Relationship. This relationship turns intimate and personal, and we vow to grow it through the many spiritual practices available to us. We become active partners with Spirit as we team up to “cook,” co-creating a new life together, as One.
Now that’s something worth shedding tears.