Peeling the Onion (and I don’t mean food!)

peelingOnionphoto credit

I have spent most of my adult life studying human nature. There is a reason why we are the way we are. Why we react to life the way we do, and there is a reason why it’s so hard to react differently to something when we want to so much. When it’s too late. We realize too late and tell ourselves,

“I wish I had not said that, done that, reacted that way”
“I wish I had kept my mouth shut. Why do I always react like this?”
“Why does so -and-so always make me mad and I lose my temper?”

The next time a similar thing happens, we react the same way whether we want to or not. We can’t stop ourselves. It’s part of our nature.

So why do we do it? Why can’t we can’t change ourselves and change the way we do things just by thinking about it. You can’t change just by wanting to. It takes work. We can’t understand it intellectually. Goodness knows, I’ve tried and it doesn’t work.
There are things happening in my life I have”allowed” to hurt me over and over, thinking, why are they doing this “to” me. The range of pain it has caused me at times has taken over everything, because I KNOW I’m a good person. I don’t deserve it. I’m trying to help them understand I’m not the person they think I am. The more I try, the worse it gets. I’ve been told by 2 family members that I’m toxic – and all I said was, I wished our family could come together and find a way to be happy. ( My sister had open heart surgery 2 weeks ago. I couldn’t go to the hospital because it would have caused a scene and I’m sure that since I didn’t go they are now saying, since I didn’t go, it shows I don’t care about my sister. Wow, what a dilemma. Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t.

Everyone has problems in their lives they think can never be fixed because of . . . .

Bottom line – I do deserve it. Somewhere, somehow, I did something to make that cause. This is what it means by ” What goes around comes around”, or the Christian saying of “you reap what you sow”, or Buddhists say, “the law of cause and effect” It all means the same thing.

Also keep in mind that Christians also use this (excuse) quite heavily when things don’t work out the way they pray, saying God does this, or God wants that, God came into my heart and told me . . .or God has a plan for my life. If you pray for something and it doesn’t work than it was part of God’s plan and he doesn’t want you to . . . If there is success in what your pray for you think “God works in mysterious ways”

Good or bad you always have a reason that God wanted it this way. This is so engrained in the human psyche, from birth, that some people can’t possibly think what they were told all along, could possibly be wrong. What would people say? When my mother left her church to practice Buddhism 26 years ago after being heavily involved in church activities her entire life, it caused quite a crisis, but she knew, with no doubt it was the right thing. She was 55 when she finally decided to open her eyes and question what she had been told and quit following the followers and start thinking for herself.  But for most people, they never venture beyond their belief system and It becomes, simply – THE TRUTH. If they allow themselves to question it, then many things unravel in their lives. Their family. Their friendships. Their social life.

If you really don’t live your life using what the Bible teaches you ( and there are many good teachings in the Bible) and just say you believe in God, but it really doesn’t effect the way you live your life except maybe you go to Church for a wedding service, or maybe at Christmas, then none of this matters. But for many people, if you have nothing that teaches you the difference between right and wrong, you’re in trouble.

It also allows people to have an understanding that it is God who is doing something “to” their life and that is all the reason they need, because intellectually they can’t understand that it really is themselves who are doing things to their lives that causes the effect to happen. Many people believe things to happen “to” them. And to top it off – it is all because HE loves them. The power in the universe loves them? The need for love and comfort, to know that something “out there” loves them and cares about them. He doles out benefits and strikes down the people you don’t like.  You may not think that, but many people do. It allows them to judge other people they think aren’t living right, and they have the right to interfere in their lives because they don’t believe the way you do. That is so very very wrong.  And definitely not what Jesus would do.

If people spent more time working on their own failings they’d have less time to worry about the gay guys who moved in next door, who just got married and who are also adopting a baby. “They might turn the baby gay!”  Ignorance is rampant.  Many people use the excuse to hurt people by saying, “God hates fags!”, or some other hateful thing about any subject they don’t think is right.  Please believe me, I am not slamming Christians.  It is belief system, whether it’s right or wrong, that allows people to do and say these things. it has to be right for them – But the ones who really do learn from the teachings and become better humans, isn’t that the main thing? If your faith enables you to learn how to be a good human, then I can’t say it is wrong for them.

I do believe there is power in the universe. There is rhythm in the universe. A very precise rhythm. I believe the mind has tapped into only a small portion of what we’re capable of.  We can harness that rhythmn. But it is hard when our belief system is based on the faulty memories of stories being passed down for hundreds of years by people who had no ability to understand, so they tell their stories to the capacity of their understanding at that time, and ever since, politicians for centuries have used religion and the fear of hell to control the masses.  History tells us how, when and why “Christianity” came into being. How it was manipulated, yet people still swallow it hook line and sinker.  If it gives them peace, it is their choice. We have much more capacity to understand than we give ourselves credit for.

Many Christian teachings come from Buddhism, a thousand years earlier. Some of it word for word.  since their is no outside god in Buddhism, where did they learn it?  And where was Jesus between the ages of 12 and 32? He was traveling, learning about life.  He spent a great deal of time in India, learning from the teachers there.  It is in their teachings – but not in yours.  In your teachings, he just “disappeared” and came back into play at the age of 32 to teach what he had learned. No one talks about that.

But now,  in order to be a good Christian you have to believe that every word in the Bible came from God, or was “inspired” by God. Moses talked to God on the top of the mountain and he brought down the ten commandments – very good things to live by. But those ten commandments are a lot older than Moses – a story retold so many times, and with each telling it changed a little, just like gossip of today. It was all so miraculous to them, it had to come from “a” God!

This world has seen many gods who were believed strongly by many people, based on the capacity of their ability to understand.  Why is your God the right one and every other one wrong?  Because they were disproved?  Because we finally understood thunder and knew it wasn’t Thor throwing bowing balls in the heavens? Because that is what you were told and the power of suggestion is very real and strongly believed in.  It becomes real.  It gets embellished, and even though people know what gossip is, they still pass it along, and people believe it, change it a little, and pass it along again, just like the Bible and people say every single word in the Bible came from God.

The capacity of people’s understanding at that time was not what it is today. Noah’s flooding of the world was very real to them, because their understanding of the world was very small. Was there an Ark? Quite possibly. Did the world flood. Absolutely not. They had a flood, and to them the whole world flooded.  Yet this story is still passed on to children and the ignorance is passed along with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.  Eventually you tell then Santa and the Tooth fairy aren’t real, because they aren’t, but another unbelievable story is passed on and through that power of suggestion, becomes real.  Who told you about God?  Think about it.  Who told you God was real and and how often did you hear it?  Hear something often enough and it becomes truth.  And we want it to be true.

Many people are Christians in name only, as it is with any faith. Some people thinking it better to believe just in case there really is a heaven or hell after they die. BTW, I do have many Christian friends. Because they are my friends I believe them to be good people. i wouldn’t have them as my friend otherwise.  Our friendship is not based on their religion or mine, but it does sometimes make for lively conversation! Everyone has the right to choose what makes sense to them. It’s their life. So please, my purpose is not to offend, but to educate.

Back to the title of my post, because I have gotten off topic – Peeling the onion. Life is like peeling an onion. When you try to change and correct your behavior, it’s like peeling the outside of an onion, it’s very easy. The more you peel, the harder it gets. The layers get thicker. It starts to break off in pieces. It’s painful. The onion even makes you makes you cry.

What are you peeling the onion for? It’s because something is not right in your life. Anyone who says their life is perfect and they have no struggles is only trying to hide them from you. Why peel down through the layers of your human nature when it’s so easy to say, “it’s not my fault!” ” This is God’s plan for my life.”

I’m peeling my onion because something so strong is making me unhappy. How about you?  Bad relationship? Unsuccessful business? A child goes off the deep end into drugs or crime? The person you love left you or is sleeping with someone else, you or someone close to gets very sick? The list goes on and on. In each case you can say,
“It’s not my fault”. It’s not my fault!” “It just happened. ‘I’m a victim!”
“I didn’t do anything to deserve this!”
“It’s just happening “to” me for no reason”

But it is happening ” to” you for a reason. There is something fundamental in your life you need to learn – and if you try to figure it out intellectually – you WILL NOT figure it out. and it will happen over and over until you get to the root cause, which is – it is your karma – the effect of something you caused – even if you don’t think you did – or it wouldn’t be happening in your life.
You are reaping what you sowed. You can’t pick and choose when that happens. Either you believe that statement or you don’t, but it is a fundamental truth in Christianity – and in Buddhism. Every effect in your life you have caused to happen. Every single one of them whether you want to believe it or not.

This is why, for 27 years, I have practiced Nichiren Buddhism. Not Zen. Not Tibetan. Not Shinto or the other sects. Buddhism, like Christianity has gone through many changes and has many sects.

I want to peel my onion, tear off the layers of my life, the deluded parts of me that keep me from being absolutely happy. There are two kind of happiness. Relative – caused by fleeting moments in your life, and absolute happiness that is not shaken by anything that happens to you. Uncovering your true self isn’t easy, but that is what you find in the center of the onion.
Mickey. I have embellished a lot more than what I wrote in that reply on a post. I’ve told you before, since everything happens for a reason – there is also a reason you found me and a reason I found you. This is a subject that is close to my heart.  I will tell you anything you want to know if you want to find out how to peel your own onion!

The only legacy we can ever really leave behind when we die is the effect we have had on other people. Hopefully that effect is good and is passed on to others. Peace in this world can’t be mandated.  Absence of war is not peace. It comes from one person passing it to another.  The change in one single human being can change the world.  We have to do it ourselves. If we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to get what we’ve always got.  Take a look at the world today.  It looks like a mess to me, like we are trying the force the world to change.  It won’t work that way and it never has.

Thanks for reading. For any further understanding you can also go to

2 thoughts on “Peeling the Onion (and I don’t mean food!)

  1. This is one very deep article Sonni. I am a Christian and proud of it though it was never an African Religion. It was only bequeathed to us by colonialist who told us that what we believed in then, was idol worship. The fact is, Jesus Christ himself didn’t start Christianity anyway. Christianity was started by his believers but i have just one thing to say about all this. Karma is a fact of life and very prominent in the Bible yet, somehow most Christians sometimes including myself, i must confess, would rather blame the devil for our short-comings. In that case you may ask, what’s the essence of ‘judgement day’ then, as the bible says? Why don’t we all continue doing wrong and God will only have to blame the devil on our behalf on ‘judgement day’? It goes without saying that we are responsible for everything that happens to us. I am not perfect and i look forward to peeling my onion with any help i can get from you but as long as i live, i have decided to follow the light and no more darkness. It’s hard but i know i will get there. Thanks for this awesome article Sonni.


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