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.”


6 responses to “The Wisdom of Donald Shimoda.

  1. 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.

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

  3. Really pleased to find this Blog.. I hope someone maintains it once in a while… Don Shimoda, I’ve got a couple of questions… stop in sometime will ya??

  4. Trog L. O'Dyte

    Ahhh yes, the good old days of 70’s pop psychology. Good to hear there’s a few old hippies around still livin’ the dream.

    So “Believe you know all answers, and you know all answers” is a gem? Sounds like snake oil to me. If you believe that, I suggest you get a very confident plumber, or carpenter, or nurse who believes s/he knows how to fly an A380 without ever having done it to fly you and your family from the US to Japan on his own. If this “gem” is true, you’ll be fine. If s/he shows any sign of doubt, just quote the other gem “You’re like everybody else. You already know this stuff—you’re just not aware that you know it, yet.” Good luck with that.

    • Like most books, whether we’re talking about the Bible or the latest from Eckhart Tolle, I think there are passages that make sense and others that leave you scratching your head. Yet, I do think that Bach has more than a few gems in this book and that it’s a good, breezy read. Best, ~Tom

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