“But once in a while there’s a great dynamite-burst of flying glass and brick and splinters through the front wall and somebody stalks over the rubble, seizes me by the throat and gently says, ‘I will not let you go until you set me, in words, on paper.’ That’s how I met Illusions.“ (Richard Bach’s authorial note.)
‘Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah’ is a book that captivated me when I first read it many years ago and continues to inspire me to this day. I still have my original copy and have read it at least 4 times since purchasing it. First published in 1977, this book questions ‘reality’ and proposes the idea that what we believe to be real is just made up of illusions that we took part in creating for our soul’s learning and entertainment. The premise of the book is ‘What if a master appeared who could teach us how to have power over the illusions of the physical world as we know it?’
Quote: “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.”
This book is truly food for the soul. I found it entertaining and challenging on a personal level and am grateful for the life-changing information that was presented within the brief 192 pages.
Richard Bach is better known for his former and bestselling work ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull.’ This book inspires its readers to become ‘better than we already are’ by adopting a different attitude to life than the one that the consensus reality would have us automatically accept for ourselves. This consensus view, that we are conditioned to accept from birth, has us believe that our potential is limited and that we are here to live a life of conformity based on the generally accepted rules imposed upon us by society, religion, and those governing over us. Richard does not accept this and with his other books guides us to question our own beliefs about ‘reality.’
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, is a book that tempts us to shatter our boundaries of what we believe to be possible in the hope that we can grow beyond what we currently believe so that we can experience much more of what life has to offer us.
Quote: “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”
Throughout the book, we are encouraged to question what we believe to be real and asked to consider the possibility that we may not be right! Our reality is only real because we believe it to be so, and as individuals, and as a species, we are very good at arguing for our limitations so that we can remain comfortable within the accepted consensus reality.
We are born, go to school, get a job, find a partner, have kids, buy a house, work, consume, and pay taxes until we die. Is this all there is to life? Richard Bach presents us with interesting alternative views in this inspiring tale called Illusions.
The story is an easy-to-read account of the narrator’s (Richard) experiences after meeting Donald Shimoda who is the reluctant Messiah. Donald is himself searching for answers to his ‘final’ questions, and yet he has a wealth of information and experience to share with Richard about the illusions of reality. One of the main lessons that Donald imparts throughout the book is how we always have choices available to us.
Quote: “We choose, ourselves, to be hurt or not to be hurt, no matter what. Us who decides. Nobody else.”
Life is made up of choices and it is our choices that create the circumstances and therefore the outcomes of our lives. Many people don’t realize that even being happy, sad, hurt, or fearful are just choices that we are making, albeit, probably on a subconscious level. This is where the importance of our thoughts comes into the picture. By becoming more consciously aware (or mindful) of our thoughts, more of the time, we are able to direct our thoughts and subsequent feelings and actions to create the life we desire. This is basically just the ‘Law of Attraction’ at work in our lives as we can use it to manifest the life we desire for ourselves.
Quote: “Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers.”
The Reluctant Messiah, Donald, is a man who has advanced enough through many lifetimes of spiritual seeking to finally be at peace with himself and the process of life. He sees life for what it is- an illusion or manifestation of our beliefs that is malleable to our wishes.
By the time he meets Richard, Donald has given up his position of being a Messiah as he became disillusioned with people only wanting the show-biz aspects of miracles and they were not interested in the deeper meanings of his teachings.
Donald understands that there is a greater reality beyond this ‘make-believe reality’, or matrix, that we exist within, and it consists solely of ‘The Infinite Radiant IS’ or the eternal consciousness. It is by teaching Richard how to connect to this greater consciousness that we are all part of that Richard himself became able to perform what some of us would consider being miracles.
Quote: “You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.”
With the aid of the ‘Messiahs Handbook’ which contains ‘reminders for the advanced soul’ given to him by Donald, Richard comes to realize that there is no fate or accidents and that it is he who controls his own life.
This helps Richard comes to the conclusion that each of us is here to focus on our own spiritual journey, and everyone else is responsible only for themselves. None of us are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with the choices that we make, and we are free to live our own lives as we wish. Just as we are free to go to the movies to see either a horror, thriller, romance or adventure movie, we are free to choose our own happiness or lack of it, as is everyone else on the planet.
Quote: “They are unhappy because they have chosen to be unhappy, and, Richard, that is all right!”
It shouldn’t be too difficult for any religious believer or spiritual seeker to empathize with the concepts put forward in this book, as they are after all the same ideas proposed by Jesus, Buddha, and the other enlightened people that have walked on this Earth in the past.
Richard offers no judgment against those of us who remain dependent on the illusions to get us through daily life and even confirms that it is one of the many valid choices available to us all. Life, after all, is a journey, and we are all students, just as we all have some things to teach others.
Quote: “I wanted to say, for the love of God, if you want freedom and joy so much, can’t you see it’s not anywhere outside of you? Say you have it, and you have it! Act as if it’s yours, and it is! Richard, what is so dammed hard about that?”
Great book! I highly recommend it to anyone with questions regarding the nature of reality and its purpose for being alive.
If you have read this book or have any questions about it, please leave them below in the comments sections and I will be happy to try and help.
Shared with love and appreciation for all souls that have chosen to participate in this ‘game of life.’