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RICHARD BACH, ILLUSIONS and Reluctant Messiah - Book Review

Updated on September 1, 2010


One of my favorite books is certainly "ILLUSIONS; Adventures of Reluctant Messiah" from Richard Bach. It is bestseller from famous author of "Jonathan Livingstone Seagull" , mystical adventure story about two itinerant pilots who met in the field is Midwest USA and by the time develop a spiritual teacher-student relationship.

Well, one of main characters is Richard Bach himself, who flies passengers in his old small plane and unexpectedly meets very interesting guy Donald Shimoda, doing the same thing. Very soon it becomes obvious that there is something very unusual about Shimoda, his plane flies without fuel, he expresses a lot of spiritual knowledge, clairvoyant abilities, can perform "miracles" and we find out that ´he meets Richard intentionally, to become his spiritual mentor.

'What if somebody came along who could teach me how my world works and how to control it? ... What if a Siddharta came to our time, with power over the illusions of the world because he knew the reality behind them? And what if I could meet him in person, if he was flying a biplane, for instance, and landed in the same meadow with me?'

In "Illusions", Donald Shimoda is a "messiah" (spiritual teacher, enlightened one, guru) who leaves his job of being a messiah after realizing that people value the showbiz-like performance of miracles and prefer to be entertained by those miracles more than to understand the deep spiritual message behind them.


First time when I read it, it was not even officialy translated on Croatian, but some enthusiast translated it at home to share it with the people... So I got "Illusions" on bunch of papers, typed on old fashioned typewriter and fotocopied... Translation on my language was very bad (Croatian is more complicated language then English) but inspite of that - book was masterpiece. It was something very romantic and mystical reading this book on so old-fashioned way, it was like discovery of some secret magical scrolls. Powerfull energy of "Illusions" helped that that scrapy papers and typed letters become alive in the front of my eyes and speak vividly about many life-truths or mind-provoking questions that all of us are sometimes asking ourselves.

Cone Nebula, which looks like Jesus
Cone Nebula, which looks like Jesus


"Illusions - Adventures of Reluctant Messiah" (1977) is the first book Richard Bach wrote after amazing success of his "Jonathan Livingstone" and revails his thoughts and observations gained trough the contact with his readers after "Jonathan". Everyone who has trying to pass on the others any kind of knowledge knows that this is very painful job, because many people expect that somebody else leads them, tell them what to do and that somebody else accepts responsibility for their lives: to "save" them.

"... Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all--young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth. But one creature said at last, "I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom."

The other creatures laughed and said, "Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks and you will die quicker than boredom!" But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more. And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!"

And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure." But they cried the more, "Savior!" all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Savior. "

Well, while people are searching for Savior who will change their lives and turn whole this world upside-down, "Illusions" and common sense teach us something completely else: Teacher and Saviour exist within everyone of us. We are all Divine sparkles, we are all books of life-wisdom, so everyone is able to activate that inner wisdom and re-connect with universal knowledge and find answeres which can help one to choose satisfying life-path.

Donald Shimoda, reluctant messiah, represents that Divine wisdom in all of us, in "Illusions" he is Richard´s teacher, but he is at the same time Richard himself, his wiser part that is fully connected with universal knowledge - he is his "higher self".

Circumstances of human life are actually illusions created by our mind, emotions, visions, beliefs and we trully can name them illusions we see and feel and can change them. How? We just need to stop being attached to them, change beliefs and visions and miracles will start to happen. It is not always simple task, but it works. Non-attachment is the key of success. (some of my Hubs about it).

People suffer by becoming too attached to the happenings in their lifes, past, present or even future ones but when this all is accepted as illusion, holographic picture of human mind, suffering ceases to exist (for beginning becomes much less), and world full of new possibilities is opening in the front of us , love, joy, freedom, whatever we choose. "Illusions" also reminds us on this life wisdom...



DNA NEBULA; looks like DNA, Hubble telescope, NASA
DNA NEBULA; looks like DNA, Hubble telescope, NASA

Beautiful wisdom - quotes from "Illusions"


You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them.
You're always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.


Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a false messiah.


A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion....this is the place to go now.
But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.


The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life..Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.


There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.


Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.


What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.


The world is your exercise-book, the pages on which you do your sums.
It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages.


Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.


Cone nebula, NASA, Hubble telescope
Cone nebula, NASA, Hubble telescope
Nebula, Hubble telescope, NASA
Nebula, Hubble telescope, NASA



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