So, let’s talk about this book for a minute, “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” by Richard Bach. I read this book when I was eighteen. A young man I was dating, his name was Steve Q______, had an autographed copy. He’d been to see/hear Richard Bach read and give talks a few times, and he loaned his copy of the book to me to read. I read it in one sitting. When I returned the book to Steve, he gave me a paperback copy of my own. (Guys named Steve have always given me great books. Every “Steve” I’ve ever known has given me books.) Since then, I’ve given out countless copies of this book, to friends, to family members, to anyone whom I thought might benefit from it. To anyone whom I thought might comprehend it. For more than thirty years, I’ve been giving people copies of this book.
It’s some philosophy, pretty big time thinking. It begins with the story of a mechanic and how he begins dispensing wisdom to a few people here and there while he’s working. He’s sharing these things because he wants to, because it gives him joy and makes him happy to do so. And then the crowd grows, until they become unmanageable. The people keep coming, wanting more and more of this wisdom from him, with no regard for him or the effect it’s having on him or his life, whatsoever. It goes on until it is no longer making him happy, until it is making him miserable. No matter what he’s said or tried to teach them, they haven’t learned anything. They’ve missed the point, and they keep at him, “Well what about this, and what about this? And tell us this Master. And help us with this.” He goes off by himself for a bit to commune with himself and the universe about it. He essentially asks the “IS” ( God, big or little g, the universe, call it what you will it’s all the same thing) to take this cup from him, that he doesn’t want to do it anymore, that the crowds are asking too much of him continuously and they haven’t learned anything, they don’t “get it” and so on. (This is one of many reasons why I could never, and wouldn’t ever want to, be a psychologist or counselor of any kind.) And the IS says to him, “Not my will, but thine be done. For what is thy will, is mine for thee. Go thy way as other men and be thou happy on the earth.”
He goes back to the crowds and he tells them, “I quit.” And of course they don’t get that either. How can he dare quit? He owes them something, with his great gift of understanding, surely he is obligated to share all his knowledge and wisdom and learning with the multitude. So, he gives the “multitude” a parable that explains quite wonderfully why he can quit, why it is acceptable for him to do so, and he does. He goes back to the world of fixing cars, singing a mechanics song.
The story goes on from there, where the main character, ostensibly the author, Bach, fictionally, meets whom we may assume to this “Master” mechanic, Don Shimoda, out flying, giving plane rides. Then we get to learn what the main character learns from Shimoda.
It’s a great book, truly an amazing story. When I read this book I thought, “Man, I wish I’d written that.” It’s the first book I ever read that I wanted to give to other people. Well, it’s been a very long time since I was eighteen. I don’t keep extra copies of this book around anymore the way I used to. The other day, when I just about quit all this, I was thinking about old Don Shimoda. I went and took a minute with myself and decided, I don’t want to quit writing and publishing because I’m doing this for me, for my own reasons, and I don’t want to quit yet. I may at some point, I may not. Then I began to recall the many wise things in that book.
Well, I don’t keep extra copies of that book around anymore to give to whomever, but I can share it this way. It’s an amazing book. If you’re in need of some perspective or philosophy, I highly recommend it.
I was also reminded of a quote the other day, I couldn’t recall who allegedly said it so I googled. It’s this…