In Illusions Richard Bach takes you on 'The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah', just as the subtitle suggests. Get ready to fasten your biplane seat belt.
Bach has an easy going style of sharing his thought provoking personal development message. Rather than preach, he teases and cajoles, questions, and yes... answers.
This short story shares life under the wings of the biplanes of two pilots. They sell rides in the air to adventurous country folk who want to get off the ground and see things from a different perspective.
It's a delightful metaphor for expanding the mental and philosophic boundaries that you might have imposed on life and on yourself.
In Illusions Richard Bach's character of the reluctant messiah follows the beat of his own drum. To make a point he sometimes poses questions that seem absurd or nonsensical. Then he answers them with remarks that challenge common views of life. His words may well seem confronting to some, perhaps outlandish to others.
In one verbal confrontation he purports that "all people are doing what they most want to do", whether they are flying around with some carnival, or working for a living. He leaves his point high and dry, hanging there. No further explanation, nor coddling the readers with details of this powerful personal leadership trait is given. Short and sharp is much more the style of the reluctant messiah.
"Everything is an illusion, and...
"nothing is miraculous. Learn what the magician knows
and nothing is magic anymore."
Illusions Richard Bach
Bach likens the illusion that is life, to a movie. You attend movies and 'buy into' the story. You get caught up emotionally with what is happening, even though you know it is just a story. He talks about how people put their own 'films / beliefs' into their lives and then act as if that is reality.
The fact is that the magic of believing in something makes it appear as reality to you.
Illusions drives home the point that everyone is living in their own little world. That world is a matter of what you make it, based on your understanding and beliefs. For example, you can learn how to relieve stress and integrate those changes into your life, or you can just keep popping a pill when stress headaches attack.
The point of the messiah is not to necessarily make you comfortable. The point is to give you what you need to grow and see reality. The reluctant messiah has people's best interest at heart. Yet, based on human nature he feels it is a rather futile exercise to shout truth from the cornfields.
Richard Bach highlights two of the main stumbling blocks of even the most inspired messiah:
- People don't necessarily hear what a Messiah really says... they hear what they want to hear.
- People want someone else to do the 'saving' of them... they don't especially want to take responsibility to do it themselves. They'd rather deify the delivery boy than integrate truth into their own lives.
Some of the most fun ideas in 'Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah' are delivered in the final dozen pages. I'll leave it for you to discover and savor those for yourself, after you've devoured the first 130 pages.
And you have to smile at the final caveat... "Everything in this book may be wrong."
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