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Just yesterday I completed reading the novel Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. It was an unusual but compelling story that makes for a fast fulfilling read.

A fellow wanderer, who has been a confidant in my recent personal journeys, as well as a partner in my learnings, shared a story with me from the early part of the book. It was the story of an underwater village of creatures. One of the creatures refused to accept things as they were in its world.

I cannot do the story justice here trying to reiterate it, but I took the meaning of the tale he told me to mean the world you surround yourself with may react negatively if you share your plans for change. However, if you decide to change anyway, the new world you find yourself surrounded by will not only embrace you, but they may find value in you in ways you could not possibly imagine.

Needless to say I was hooked. I had to read the book this amazing story came from.

I personally have been on a journey of self-discovery for the better part of the past year. I’ve dealt with some growing pains and a lot of uncertainty. I’ve had people tell me to not do things I’ve decided to do out of positions of fear and contentment. I’ve embraced and challenged fear and I will piss on contentment for my remaining days on this planet.

Contentment has been one of the most destructive forces in my life up until this point. It has caused me to waste away for countless hours at jobs I did not realize I didn’t value or like until after I had moved on. Contentment has caused me to embrace habits that had no benefit in my own personal growth or happiness. In fact many of those habits have caused detriment to my personal emotional and physical well-being.

Illusions: The adventures of a Reluctant Messiah really spoke to this new found vision I had for what I’d like my life to be.

The book Illusions is the story of an airplane pilot told in first person. The pilot’s name is Richard, which is the same as the first name of the author, Richard Bach. By the end of the book it seems that the author is trying to give the literal impression that it is a somewhat true story about his own life.

Richard is a protagonist who drifts aimlessly from town to town offering flights in his small plane for three dollars a person. Aside from gas and parts to keep his plane flying, he has little to no semblance of responsibility in his life.
Richard seems to be running from the real world and genuine lasting connections with other people.

One day he is approached by another pilot who seems to be of a similar lifestyle. His name is Donald Shimoda.

Immediately Richard notices an oddness in Donald, how he does things, and his outlook on life in general. Certain eccentricities lead both Richard and the reader to understand Donald is special early on in the story.

Despite his reservations about this unusual new acquaintance, Richard grows fond of the strange antagonist. Donald steps into a mentorship role with Richard and begins to try to reach him in very strange ways.

Donald reveals himself to be a healer/miracle-worker/messiah who has decided he wasn’t interested in being a messiah any longer. Donald reveals that he is not the only one on Earth with these abilities. He also reveals that “on Earth” is just one of the many illusions perpetuated by our modern existence.

Donald believes god, “Is” in the book, is satisfied with him doing what he wants to do with his life. He believes he should just do whatever makes him happy, unlike the way Jesus lived his life for the good of his fellow man.

As the book progresses Richard and Donald’s relationship, as well as Donald’s teachings, do also. Donald’s insights go from ideas to physical manifestations of miracles that are nothing short of amazing. The two eventually walk on water and swim in the earth. Donald walks through a wall and creates material objects out of nothing.

As these amazing things are happening, Donald is teaching Richard how to become one of the world’s masters and messiahs. Richard continues to struggle with his own reluctance to accept the illusions of our so-called reality. Additionally, he struggles with his fear of crowds, and most likely people in general. He must overcome both of these issues to level up and become a master himself.

Spoiler alert, the story ends with the natural progression of any messiah tale, with a death. Of course that death is just the final example of one of our material world’s illusions.

One of the themes in the book is the concept of manifesting what one wants from the world. It is about letting go of preconceived notions of what one wants and needs in order to accomplish goals and creation. Letting go of those conceptions inevitably leads to success and happiness.

The author also touches on both the gold and platinum rules of how to treat people. He ends up stating that treating others how you want to be treated or how they want to be treated is not as important as doing what you want to do in life. I don’t think I have ever seen this concept in writing previously. It was very anachronistic.

I was genuinely moved by Richard Bach’s novel, but despite the verbose review, I have trouble summing up exactly how the book made me feel and what I think about it.

I will definitely recommend the book to anyone with an open mind, or anyone looking at expanding how they view themselves and the world we live in in general. However, I would be wary of recommending this book to anyone with devout or unrelenting religious beliefs and viewpoints. I believe they will not only find little value and entertainment in the story, but they may actually be offended by the contents of the book, and possibly even the recommendation.

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

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