Opinions are like onions – know when they need to be sealed and when peeled
When we have some opinion, we may hold on to that opinion irrationally, even if it exasperates those around us. We can understand others if we turn the situation around, if that person were holding on to an opinion that we felt was irrational.
To be reasonable, we need to understand how we form our opinions – it’s rarely based on reason alone, and even more rarely based on the reason we articulate as the basis for our opinion. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we are speaking falsely; it often means that our minds are complex and multilayer, and we ourselves aren’t aware of the layer from which a particular opinion is emerging.
In their multi-layered nature, opinions are like onions. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna helps Arjuna peel the onion of his opinions about what to do on the battlefield. Arjuna initially wanted to fight and then didn’t want to fight and then he ended up confused (02.06). Krishna peeled the various layers that obscured Arjuna’s self-understanding, which in turn shaped his understanding of his duty. Only when that peeling had gone to the core, helping Arjuna understand that he was a soul, who was a part of the Whole, did Arjuna’s opinion become stabilized.
Of course, the multi-layer nature of opinions also means that we may keep second-guessing ourselves endlessly. Even after we arrive at a reasonably sensible decision, our mind, from some of its layers, may come up with some objection, that may not have any basis any reasonable probability. When onions are to be transported, they need to be sealed. Similarly, when we need to act with firm determination, we need to seal our opinions and get down to action, resolutely, as Arjuna did after becoming convinced by the Gita’s message (18.73).
Think it over:
- How are our opinions like onions?
- When do opinions need to be peeled?
- When do opinions need to be sealed?
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