The Wisdom of Donald Shimoda.

I just finished the book Illusions by Richard Bach, an old favorite I hadn’t read in a very long while—and found it just as compelling as when I first read it 2 or 3 decades ago.

The book centers around a character by the name of Donald Shimoda who crosses paths with the narrator, Richard. As they travel the countryside together as barnstormers, selling joy rides on their small planes, Shimoda is revealed to be a “messiah”.

Shimoda passes along the wisdom of many lifetimes to Richard, who in fact may be a messiah-in-training. These include gems like:

“You’re like everybody else. You already know this stuff—you’re just not aware that you know it, yet.”


“Believe you know all answers, and you know all answers.”

Illusions does what good spiritual fiction should do. It gets you to see the world from a fresh perspective, looking at seemingly ordinary events in a new way. The book also gets across the important point that wisdom gained is not to be coveted by its owners, but needs to be shared with others.

Bach closes the story with one of many choice passages from a book of wisdom that pops up throughout Illusions:

“Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”

  • R. Way Ford

    Everything about his smartly written book was pithy… including the fact that he never poses as the Enlightened One… who is dispatched and resurrected in a rather familiar fashion.

    After this is was books about he and his soulmate… who he divorced to remarry in 1999. “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they AREN’T out to get you” applies here: He is the baptist, John; can’t fill the Messiah’s sandals.

    Today’s “koan”: Knowing all the answers is worth far less than one unanswerable question.
    Everything you –or I– “know” is predicated upon our belief in the validity of Logic and Language… an unprovable, therefore, illogical system of assumptions.

    Ergo, everything you/I know is wrong.
    Either always wrong all the time or
    Mostly wrong some of the time or
    Somewhat wrong, most of the time or
    Half wrong half the time or
    Like a broken clock
    Absolutely right for a millisecond twice a day
    For all the wrong reasons.

    Koan’s are not “paradox”, as Webster who’s been snorting the Logic and Language KoolAid for centuries suggests. Question everything especially your cherished beliefs.

  • Brian O’Neil

    A classic just read again after 10 years
    As we break old agreements we can bend reality to a less restricted version