Watch this excerpt from the "Beauty" episode of the Spiritual Literacy DVD series.

"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 was this vegetable that was so pure, so watery-white? It was many-layered, its concentric rings like a mandala, making mounds of perfect circles as they fell open onto the cutting board . . . wow. I begged her to let me cut some, despite her warning that it would make my eyes burn. I can remember concentration and reverence welling up within me as I awkwardly tried to make perfect slices. My eyes did burn. I had to stop after a few cuts, but I vowed that I would understand onions some day and cook with them myself. . . .

"My contemplation of the Mystery in the onion continues to this day. As an artist I have paid homage to my friend the onion by creating a stained glass window of an underground bulb; it hangs in a local food co-op. As a cook, I have learned how to coax the sweetness out of an onion, and to tame its fire into mellow good humor. I can cut them now without crying, but not without pausing for a brief moment. Red onions are especially divine. I hold a slice up to the sunlight pouring in through the kitchen window, and it glows like a fine piece of antique glass. Cool and watery-white with layers delicately edged in imperial purple — strong, humble, peaceful — and a fiery nub of spring green in the center, aspiring to sprout. 'Ah! Look at this one!' I cry to my husband and daughter nearby. They look at each other and smile at me tolerantly. 'That's a really nice one.' They don't see God in onions the way I do, but they know that we Mystics have to stick together."