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on May 17, 2000
Although this book was published in 1977, it didn't find its way to me until the mid 80's. "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." No truer words were ever spoken, at least not in my life.
I've read this book over 30 times in the last 15 years, and I never fail to find something new to learn from it. I've given countless copies away to friends who then give copies to their friends.
When "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" was first published, an elderly relative told me Bach was the devil incarnate. Imagine what she'd say about THIS one!
I've not had the good fortune to run across a Donald Shimoda-like character, but I think I'd be ready to hear what he said.
Two quotes from Shimoda's 'The Messiah's Handbook and Reminders for the Advanced Soul' are worth repeating:
Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet them than your acquaintences will know you in a thousand years.
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life....Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.
This book has been a great gift to me and I'm thankful it found me!
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on June 11, 2007
I've probably purchased and given over 50 copies of this book to people who don't seem to understand the power they have to change their own lives. This book was originally published in 1977 and its still around 30 years later, that tells you something. The first person I helped with it was me. The theme of the book is personal power. The point of view is "What if Jesus has just said 'No'!" to his calling as the Messiah. Ever think about that? He did have a choice you know, otherwise there would have been no need for temptations to infest his short life. That being said, this book is nothing about any church or even the point of view of a particular faith. Its about a guy who incarnates as a Messiah, but just says no to that calling, thus becoming a loner and a wanderer because people keep finding out about his powers. He runs into a cynic (the author) and the two decide to pal around together. It's a must read. I've read it half a dozen times myself and you don't need a high school degree to understand it. If you are stuck (job, relationship, drugs, alcohol, whatever) and are unhappy, this little book will get you all the answers you need to change that condition. You probably will not realize the full extent of its teaching until later, but this is Bach at his best. If I had one book to recommend, and could only choose one book in the world, I would choose this one. That's right, even before the Scriptures, because this book people will read and understand. This book isn't full of thee, thou, thy, and begot. It's simple to the point fiction that's a fun read. I first read this book in 1984 and still learn from it. I also captured 3 college degrees along the way, a beautiful wife and two lovely children. Not things my parents would have predicted based on my childhood antics. Jesus said "love they neighbor as thyself" as the second of the two primary commandments of his teaching. It is in that light that I give this book to others and hold it in such high regard in my review of it to you.
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on July 3, 2001
Richard Bach's classic is one of the very first self-development/spiritual books I ever read, and 15 years later it still compares very favourably with the best of the rest. There is profound truth and subtle humour on nearly every page, and I strongly recommend this beautifully written book to anyone who has not come across it yet.
The author meets stranger and fellow pilot Donald Shimoda and the story unfolds. About a third of the way through Richard starts reading the "Messiah's Handbook" which is quoted liberally from then on. It contains various pearls of wisdom.... "You teach best what you most need to learn", "Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours" and (one of my favourites) "You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it however".
The chapter where Shimoda and Richard visit the cinema to discover the meaning of life is a high point and the twist at the end of the book is absolutely brilliant. Enlightenment!
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on May 4, 2001
This is a powerful book and the Messiah's book is full of great insights. I got a little more concrete spiritual help from the book An Encounter with A Prophet, but this book Illusions inspires me to a belief in no limitations. I do not know if these levels are attainable, but it sure feels good to believe that way.
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on July 13, 2007
I have read Chopra, Myss, Dyer, Walsh, Choquette, Hay, Braden, Hawkins, Stevens, Murray, and a host of others, but this book started the journey, and in this book is the purest distillation of spiritual truths - manifestation, the nature of reality, the illusion of life on earth, manifesting, dominion over matter, energy, transmutation, magnetization, attraction and a sense of peace that could be described as harmonious empowerment. Read it once as a fable, then read it again as life instructions.
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on April 3, 2000
...the master calls a butterfly."
How many times have those words touched my soul? Every time I have lost my way, I have read Illusions. And it has reminded me that things happen for a reason, that I have created the mess I got myself into, and that I have the power to make things better if I truly want to.
We all create situations for ourselves that keep us safe, protected, and bored. This book reminds you that you don't have to stay in that little world you've created. It is ok, and even expected that we break out of that from time to time. "In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice."
I love the parable in the beginning of this book about the creatures at the bottom of the river who cling because clinging is all they know. And the one creature who was brave enough to let go was dashed upon the rocks. But then he rose up with the current, and drifted on at a higher plane than he had been on when he clung as he was told. I spend every day reminding myself to let go.
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on October 15, 2002
Long before Neale Donald Walsh and other spiritual writers is this short story that weaves a magical tale of the potential of looking at our physical plane of life in a different manner. A forgotten book that is most inspiring and has the potential to open ones mind to other dimensions. A wonderful read for those searching for the deeper meanings of our lives.
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on June 1, 2009
When my Grandma handed me this book I was very young, as I grew reading the words I was revealed to myself. This book has a way of talking to you, it becomes your friend as you journey together through the limitless nature of ones self.

buy this book and enjoy a breath of truth
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on June 14, 2004
I've read Illusions easily 30 or more times. It's a book that should be on everyone's list. And, unless you are a religious zealot, you will surely find the book entertaining and stimulating.
First of all, regardless of the message, the book is very well written and enjoyable. Moreover, it was written long before the "new age" trend and "dime-a-dozen" inspirational stories, so it's not written with the intent to sell you on a new self-help plan.
In this story (as in most of his stories), Bach tries to enlighten readers that maybe life is not as complicated as is often thought. Everyday, from religion to politics, we are constantly presented with the message that life is difficult and you had better follow the highly complex set of rules that governs what you are, where you will go and how you had better get there. In Bach's story, however, the reluctant messiah learns a new perspective. Maybe, he comes to find, he already has the answers to his life, or at least the answers to how to pursue a good life... if he would just stop listening to his pre-conceived ideas of limit and complication.
I highly suggest reading the book. I also highly suggest remembering the book is fiction! Think about the message and concepts. Instead of trying to "vaporize clouds," try maybe to vaporize some of your problems. And, instead of walking the world professing a new faith or perspective on "God" after being inspired by Bach's ideas, try instead to overcome one of your own, preconceived limits, or re-examine what you've been taught about the
Having met Mr. Bach, hearing him speak and reading every one of his books multiple times, I can assure you he is a real person with real ideas. Moreover, I feel sure that he would agree, that he writes "stories" to help people expand their minds. Too often, his work is misinterpreted to be a "gospel." Instead, in my impression, he simply wants to share new ideas, or as he said, "when he get's an idea, it bothers him until he writes it an let's it go..."
We as humans evolve not from one or two ideas, but from a lifetime of learning. Mr. Bach, in my opinion, is one of those highly insightful individuals who has inspired millions to look at life through a slightly different lens. Mr. Bach's Illusions is a fantastic journey - one of many - on the lifelong road of growing as a person.
I hope you enjoy it!
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VINE VOICEon January 27, 2003
Sub-titled The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, the book is written as if it were autobiographical. The protagonist, Richard, is a former writer who hates writing, and so he now makes his living flying around the Midwest in an old biplane, giving 10-minute rides from farmers' fields for $3 each. It's a lonely, but satisfying life ... and then Donald Shimoda, a former mechanic and retired messiah, comes into his life. Donald also makes his living as a flier, and the two men fly together for a while. Along the way, Donald imparts wisdom to Richard as a messiah-in-training.

The idea is that everyone can be enlightened and, thereby, can define one's world accordingly. It's a difficult concept to comprehend, much less put into practice, so Richard relies on The Messiah's Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul, a gift from Donald, to help him along the way. The book is magical: open it to any page and find a pithy maxim which will, in some way, shed light on your day. Those maxims are scattered throughout the book and, collected together, could probably fill one of those teeny giftshop inspirational books. But they're much less meaningful out of context; within the framework of Richard's story, they're rife with meaning.

by Tom Knapp, Rambles editor
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