Peeling the onion

When I peel an onion

I have to peel the onion one layer at a time.

At the beginning, the outer layer looks attractive and beautiful…. it can be golden, white, purple, yellow.   The onion looks full and healthy.

Then I start peeling more and more layers.  The first layer is the initial and basic concepts about life.

Religion, values, patriotism, family, professionalism….

all the ideas and concepts I started learning from early age.

Which, of course, are just ideas and concepts.

The more I peel these layers away, the more I peel away these ideas… which I also call illusions.

Because they are not in the here and now….  they are fabrications of my mind.

All the memories…. all the goals…. all the dreams… all these ideas keep me away from the present moment.

So I keep peeling away all those basic thoughts and ideas that I have been taught.

And, the same way that I peel and onion, and can irritate my eyes, they get watery, and I start crying,

The same way I feel when I peel away all of these ideas… the concept about religion, about my family,

my country… my culture… my hobbies…. my profession.  My… my…  my…

All of these ideas , which also implied ownership, are not based on reality, or the here and now. 

I peel away and I also start crying , because… they are just illusions.  They once made me  happy… secured.

But it was a temporary happiness… it was a superficial state of identity and belonging.

So I cry… because I feel sad….sad because I miss this false sense of security.

But I bravely keep peeling away, to see the reality of this existence…. which I call Life.

And when I finally reach the center of the onion…. what do I find there?

What is at the core of the onion? What is at the center of life when I peel off all of these ideas?

No more religion… no more patriotism… I don’t  belong anywhere … profession is just a title …. dreams are just imaginations … I don’t own anything … because it is all an illusion.

What do I have left, then?


That is what I have left… the emptiness of life.

Is this a sad conclusion?  Or is it just it ?

Simply being…. it is not good…. it is not bad.

It simply is.




About Noel

I am a person who has realized that this existence is an opportunity to engage in the genuine care and service of others. I have evolved from fundamentalism to a moderate spiritual approach. I am an introvert, an artist, and a a reflecting person who has grown to not fear doubt but to embrace it as a means to growth and increasing closeness to the fullness of life. View all posts by Noel

6 responses to “Peeling the onion

  • Howie

    Hi Noel. That’s very deep – maybe even too deep for me. 🙂 I hope you’ve been doing well. Great to see you blogging again.

    • Noel

      Howie, I am doing well, thank you. So far, this has been the one of the greatest steps in my spiritual journey… realizing that most of what I experience is an illusion, which I am willing to “peel away” and dissect.

  • S.C. Tanner

    I walk with you, brother.

    To gain true understanding, it is essential to identify reality. As you describe in this post, it seems empty because you are accustomed to being surrounded by a so much “stuff.” All the “stuff” you were so accustomed to still exists (even if only as an illusion), but you have lost your attachment to that “stuff.” To some, the beauty of reality lies in its simplicity.

    First become accustomed to the simplicity of this place. Take your time doing this. Eventually, as you begin to explore reality more, this place will be your anchor point that you can return to… should you ever feel like you have strayed into another illusion. Rest. Relax and learn to appreciate simplicity.

    As you describe reality as “empty,” reflect upon a Zen-like paradox: as you learn to enjoy “nothing,” you also learn to enjoy “everything.”

    • Noel

      S.C. , I knew you would understand. The emptiness of life has been a challenging, yet liberating experience so far. I shall continue to peel away. Thanks for your comment.

  • The Girl Made of Words

    As you have read about my own journey before, I’m sure you can appreciate how deeply I sympathize with what you are saying here.

    It has been altogether depressing to come to some of the fundamental conclusions I have reached about the true nature of reality. When I think to myself that we are not all separate beings, but rather one being existing in many forms, it can be a very isolating feeling. And to try and talk with the general population about such things only increases the idea that I am alone in these thoughts and feelings I am experiencing.

    That is why blogging has been such an invaluable resource to me. It helps me connect with others who are also walking the roads less traveled. I don’t have to go through this alone.

    Every time I think that without the illusion I have nothing (that is where a lot of my misery seems to be stemming from right now), I remember that feelings and emotions are not a part of the illusion of the physical world. They are more real and powerful than anything else you could ever hope to experience here on Earth. So that being said, while people’s physical bodies may only be an illusion to house their spiritual selves, the connections we make with one another, and the emotions that come along with those connections are not just real, they are the essential driving force to life.

    I’m working on re-framing right now. Re-framing my reality. Re-framing my relationship with myself. And most certainly re-framing my thought patterns. If I choose to focus on the lack of concrete existence, I become sullen and withdrawn, but if I instead choose to focus on the connections I have forged with others I am radiant and full of light. It just takes time and persistence to make it into a habit.

    I’m surrendering to the process on a daily (and sometimes even hourly basis). Reading your words today has been an important step in that direction for me.

    So I genuienly thank you for sharing.
    Your words are important.

    • Noel

      You are right.. You are not alone. We seem to be on the same frequency. However , when I realize that we are not truly individuals but parts of a big entity , it gives me a sense of belonging and unity, rather than isolation and depression. I do feel sad sometimes when I realize that all the fantasies and delusions I have been accustomed to ( patriotism, family, ethnicity, religion, etc) aré simply fabrications of my mind. Everything I was taught about my identity, even the self, is a fabrication. A delusion. And the dangerous thing about it is how much we hate, love, kill, and do great things simply based n these delusions.

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