Last year, I read the beautiful book by Richard Bach, titled ‘Illusions‘. It’s an inspiring book as it dwells into some finer aspects of life, which are beautifully explained by Richard through his conversations with Donald Shimoda. First published in 1977, the story questions the reader’s view of reality, proposing that what we call reality is merely an illusion we create for our own learning and enjoyment.
In the cloud-washed airspace between the cornfields of Illinois and blue infinity, a man puts his faith in the propeller of his biplane. For disillusioned writer and itinerant barnstormer Richard Bach, belief is as real as a full tank of gas and sparks firing in the cylinders…until he meets Donald Shimoda — former mechanic and self-described messiah who can make wrenches fly and Richard’s imagination soar…
In Illusions, Richard Bach takes to the air to discover the ageless truths that give our souls wings: that people don’t need airplanes to soar…that even the darkest clouds have meaning once we lift ourselves above them… and that messiahs can be found in the unlikeliest places — like hay fields, one-traffic-light midwestern towns, and most of all, deep within ourselves.
As he slowly expands his world past his narrow, limited world into understanding that the world is limitless and only we limit ourselves. Yes, Richard has shown us there is a world outside of the box we place ourselves in and while others can show us there’s more around us, only we can go beyond our self-imposed limits.
After having read the evergreen ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ by Bach, I did not imagine he would be able to write another book that can demonstrate the ‘flight to fancy’ in a way done so well in illusions. While in the previous book Richard elaborated upon birds, in Illusions, he has deployed Airplanes and the simple act of flying in a plane to bring out some finer elements of life.
If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.
On the important point about listening to one’s inner voice or conscience, the author has beautiful put it when he says – “Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.”
When discussing on the role of other people in our lives, I have always believed that every person from the smallest to the biggest, from the security guard who opens the door for you in the morning to the sweeper holding the broom in the street who smiles and salutes you as you go for work to the celebrity whom you admire for his vivacious and ever-smiling nature, they all have a role to play in your lives. It’s up to you, whether you decide to cast them in the movie of your life or reject them. Richard puts it beautifully when he says ” 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.”
Without a doubt, this is a book, similar to the handbook referred to by the author himself in the book is something that needs to be read and re-read many times over. As they say, some of the simplest things in life are the most difficult to understand!