“From Onions to Pearls”
by Satyam Nadeen
This is the true story of one man’s spiritual awakening, without a guru and under severely restrictive, sometimes violent, physical, and intense emotional conditions.
In March of 1992, Michael Clegg entered an overcrowded county jail near Jacksonville, Florida, convicted of the manufacture of an illegal drug called Ecstasy. He was held there for two years while awaiting sentencing. While in prison, he realized that a lifetime of spiritual searching had brought him no closer to the elusive state he was seeking, so he gave up trying. In surrender, he was overwhelmed with relief and bliss.
The next several years were spent in a deepening process he calls the ‘deliverance,’ as layers of the preconditioned ego personality were peeled away to reveal the eternal Pearl of Consciousness. On August 15, 1996, Satyam Nadeen was released from a federal prison to reenter the world that Michael Clegg had left.
The true story of one man’s spiritual awakening without a personal guru while under severely restrictive, sometimes violent, conditions. This book is an engrossing experience, It reminds us that we have made a complicated journey out of a simple truth – which can reveal Its Self anywhere.– Mary Margaret More/Bartholomew, Leading Edge Review
Finally! Someone who understands both the Western and Eastern mind arrives among us as the crystal clear interpreter putting that elusive thing called ‘spirituality’ into an exciting and digestible perspective. From Onions to Pearls will rock the socks off many an established ‘path’ with a startling end-around that will leave you in a state of delightful confusion only as to whether you should laugh endlessly at the whole divine comedy or settle into the everlasting serenity that all the others just talk wistfully about. Just read the book and see what happens! You have nothing to lose but your struggle, anxiety, fatigue, frustration, ego-ridden pressures, and lack of zest for life.– Anthony S. Dallmann-Jones, Ph.D., author of Primary Domino Thinking and Phoenix Flight Manual, and editor of Inner Jungle Adventures, the ‘Net-zine of Personal Empowerment
The new classic on the process of enlightenment.
– Twin Peaks Express
Usually I don’t get past the introduction of ‘true stories about spiritual awakening,’ a genre I find often tiresome and self-indulgent. Nadeen immediately perked my interest with the one thing that can keep me turning the pages – nonseriousness. He calls From Onions to Pearls a welcome-home letter, a comic book, a story tied to the cosmic joke of the human predicament. When I read, ‘If you think you are going to get some do’s and don’ts about a path to or from wakening, you are out of luck already,’ I knew he had me. I wanted to know what had happened to this man, and now I was willing to get on the train to find out.The premise was certainly intriguing: At 54, a former Ecstasy dealer living high on the hog – private planes, boats, a mountain top in Costa Rica for a home – gets bagged by the DEA. He’s thrown into a holding cell no bigger than a large living room and has to survive there for two years, in the sweltering Florida heat, the only white boy among 32 heavy-duty blacks. The Feds make it clear that they are going for life without parole. All his possessions are taken and they’re trying to get at his ex-wife and put his daughter in an orphanage. After finally being sentenced he spends three more years on Terminal Island near LA, originally a Navy brig for 232 people, now a noisy chaotic hell with 1600 angry, violent men.The bottom line: The shock and resulting contraction from that experience is so great that his identification with who he thinks he is is shattered, and Nadeen has an awakening. From that follows a period he calls the Deliverance, during which what he understood at the moment of awakening unfolds in daily life, as the layers of conditioning peel off.
The tone of the book can only be called exuberant. Pure glee at having gotten the ultimate joke suffuses every chapter. It felt like he was saying, ‘I gotta tell ya, it’s really as simple as everyone says it is,’ and he’s dying for everyone else to get the joke so they can be free, too. At the same time, for him everything is perfect just as it is. He wouldn’t change a thing – even the fact that you haven’t gotten it yet. It’s all going to happen exactly as it needs to happen, and you’re enlightened anyway, and there’s nothing you or he can do to hasten that recognition. This theme of embracing what is – as is – saying yes to the leela of life – hums throughout the book and is so infectious that is starts to shift your space if you let it.
Nadeen tells you why he thinks The Game was set up in the first place, about the balance of freedom and limitation that is always maintained in order to keep things going, and describes the role of Grace in awakening. The ‘aha!’ is that once you realize you’re not the doer, everything opens wide up and you just dance your dance as an expression of Source (his term for God or Existence) – and have a damn good time doing it. Your freedom, according to Nadeen, ‘comes from knowing that Source is pulling the strings.’
So is he saying anything new? No, not for people who’ve been on the path for a while – and he’s not claiming to either. So why read this at all? Mostly because it’s fun, and it may jiggle something inside you to sip old wine from such a delightful new bottle. If you’re in just the right state, and it’s just the right moment, anything can happen. Or you can use it to watch your suspicions, greed for enlightenment, confusion, yearning, cynicism, or judgement!
I found it enjoyable to read his takes on various New Age concepts through the new-found lense of his awakening. You’ll find short chapters on: Free Will versus Predestination, Karma and Reincarnation, The Ascension, Relationships and Soul Mates, Afterlife, and the like which debunk common beliefs now exposed as empty in the light of his shifted consciousness.
I particularly liked the short section on The Power of Positive Thinking. It echoes something I heard Osho say many tmes, and is a useful reminder in the rabid California climate of ‘If your life isn’t together it’s because you’re no good at “manifesting.”‘ Nadeen writes: ‘Pearl Vision also sees that no matter how much intentional effort is put into a goal, not only is it irrelevant, it is also futile. If the end result happens to turn out the same as the goal of all your positive thinking, then it only happened in spite of you, never because of you. And all those strong, clear, and positive affirmations you made were only the thoughts of Source anyway.’
The book is a good read. And I take my hat off to Nadeen; he wrote the whole thing in prison, under horrific conditions, without any assistance. . . and From Onions to Pearls seems to be the kind of book that’s falling off the shelf at people’s feet or otherwise mysteriously arriving in their life just at the right moment.
– Ma Deva Nartana, The Writer’s Midwife
Table of Contents
Reader Advisory Warning!
PART I – THE WAKE-UP CALL
Chapter 1: The Lottery Payoff
Chapter 2: Personal Background
Chapter 3: The Process of Awakening
Chapter 4: The Deliverance
Chapter 5: The Rapture
Chapter 6: The Nature of Consciousness
Chapter 7: The Role of the Ego Personality
PART II – EXPLORING FAMILIAR CONCEPTS
Chapter 8: Free Will versus Predestination
Chapter 9: What Is—As Is
Chapter 10: Karma and Reincarnation
Chapter 11: The Power of Positive Thinking
Chapter 12: Prayer
Chapter 13: The Role of Dreams
Chapter 14: The Ascension
Chapter 15: The Role of Constant Change
Chapter 16: Spiritual Disciplines
Chapter 17: Pain and Suffering
Chapter 18: Afterlife
Chapter 19: Forks in the Road
Chapter 20: What If You Were Appointed Creator of the Planet
Chapter 21: World Events
Chapter 22: The Role of the Teacher
Chapter 23: Satsang
Chapter 24: Relationships and Soulmates
Chapter 25: Harmlessness
Chapter 26: Drugs
Chapter 27: Bodhisattvas
Chapter 28: Predispositions
Chapter 29: Avatars
Chapter 30: Love and Fear
PART III – LIFE IN THE FOURTH DIMENSION
Chapter 31: The Greatest Miracle
Chapter 32: Predictions for the Planet
Chapter 33: The Great Cosmic Jokes
Chapter 34: Truth
Chapter 35: Freedom
Chapter 36: Wasted Time
Chapter 37: “Who Says Words with My Mouth?”—Rumi
Chapter 38: Are We Having Fun Yet?
Chapter 39: Riots and Reflections
Chapter 40: My “Perfect” Life
Chapter 41: Shift Happens
Chapter 42: The Wisdom of Lao Tzu
Wake Up and Smell the Onions
About the Author
This little journal is a personal story about a journey of awakening. A true story. A story with a comic ending. It doesn’t turn out the way you would expect a story about awakening to end. That’s why it’s funny. The bottom line of this story is not to encourage you to seek awakening. If you think you are going to get some do’s and don’ts about a path to or from awakening, you are out of luck already. In fact, the whole point of this tale is to assure you that it is perfectly divine to forget all about awakening and just embrace yourself and those around you as absolutely right on course—just the way you and they are.
So then, this being so, why would I even want to write a comic book about a no-path, no-goal, wake-up call? I am clear that all the information here is totally available from your own inner voice of wisdom. I am equally clear that many may not understand these strange conclusions or even agree with them. But because the times they are a-shifting, I have already witnessed the changes in me inspiring like changes in those with whom I am sharing this new information and experience.
What’s the point? Well, I have been away to a maximum security prison for the last several years—away from my family, friends, playmates, and loved ones. Now the prison gates are about to swing open, and everyone naturally wants to know how life was behind the big wall all this time. Rather than launch into multiple, lengthy explanations, I just wrote out this little story sort of like a welcome-home letter to all my friends out there, whether we have met yet or not.