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(GOD)


Title ILLUSIONS


Writer Richard Bach


Date 177


Custom writing service can write essays on Illusions

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(1) Describe the main character


Well, there is a man, named Richard, who is a pilot and he is wandering in America’s meadows and hays and selling rides in an old biplane, three dollars for ten minutes in the air.


() Depict the setting of the story


The place is America, Illinois and couple of other places, there is no fixed place cuz they are flying from town to town and from state to state.


() Climax


I think the most important event in this story is when Donald got a shot and Richard doubted about everything. He taught that all these beautiful sentences and feeling that he had and believed were untrue but after some time he figured out that there should be something behind what Donald had let to happen and there should be an answer for that.


(4) Most important theme


The whole world is just an illusion, like a movie, we are free to choose what kind of movie we want to see, happy, sad, nasty and whatever we want to have. If we are unhappy, we have chosen to be unhappy.


The IS (God) is unaware of these illusions that we have in the world, God like a mother that loves his child weather he is a bad boy or a good boy, loves us, no matter what kind of illusions we have.


Among these illusions we have, there is one thing, which is real and that is BEAUTY


As many as people exist on earth, we have different worlds. You cannot say they live in my world or we are living in the same world.


We don’t know anything about other people’s world, so we can not understand what is good for a person and what is bad, if someone wants to kill himself or wants to live in loneliness in mountains, so for example if someone asks us to hurt him/her, this is her/his problem and we have nothing to do with that, but hurting or not hurting him/her is our problem. What should we do is just what we feel to do.


We are like magnets can attract things and people. Just try to be what you really are and then like attracts like!


Why we are here is just for the sake of joy and learning or it is better to say remembering!


Stretch your mind beyond the visible and get rid of all your mind’s limitations and you will see that you can do whatever you want to do. You know everything.


(5) What do I think about the story?


It is good because if you like thinking it gives you a lot of things to think about, there is no joy to compare with thinking.





(6) Plot of the story


In the middle of the summer I met Donald Shimoda. I was flying with the wind from town to town, selling rides in an old biplane, dollars for ten minutes in the air.


I was flying when I saw his plane landing in the hay where I had taken off.


He was not a large man, hair to his shoulders, black eyes, dark as hawk’s eyes. We talked about different things; He has been mad for diesel tractors since he was a kid and now he has got that brand new plane.


While we were talking and eating, a modern new truck hushed down the road toward us, and an old man got out, and a girl of ten or so. Then he asked for a rid.


The old man came with me to fly around his farm. When we were about to land, I saw Don’s plane taking off. It was a great surprise for the old man that Don had taken the girl to fly. He said since she’s born, that girl has been wild to death about high places.


When Don’s plane landed nice and easy and I helped the girl with the safety belt. As soon as she saw his grandpa, she said Grandpa, I am not afraid! I wasn’t scared, honest! Don said I was scared just because I fell and died once and I don’t have to be afraid anymore! I am going to be a pilot, Grandpa. The two thanked us and one walked, one ran to the truck, both changed by what had happened in the field and in the sky.


Then a lot of people came and I was busy and flying till sunset.


At the end of that day, my pockets were tight with cash, I pulled the bills out and counted, it came to $147. We had something for dinner and slept.


I had a dream throngs and masses and crowds of people, torrents of humanity pouring against one man in the middle of them all. Then the people became an ocean that would drown the man, but instead of drowning he walked over the ocean, whistling, and disappeared. The ocean of water changed to an ocean of grass. A white-and-gold Travel Air 4000 came down to land on the grass and the pilot got out of the cockpit and put up a cloth sign FLY--$�FLY.


It was three o’clock in the morning when I woke from the dream, remembering it all and for some reason happy for it. I opened my eyes to see in the moonlight that big Travel Air parked alongside the fleet. Shimoda sat on his bedroll as he had when first I met him, leaning back against the left wheel of his airplane. It wasn’t that I saw him clearly; I just knew he was there. “Hi, Richard,” he said quietly in the dark. “Does that tell you what’s going on?”


“Does what tell me?” I said foggily. I was still remembering and didn’t think to be surprised that he’d be awake.


“Your dream. The guy and the crowds and the airplane,” he said patiently. “You were curious about me, so now you know, OK? There were news stories Donald Shimoda, the one they were beginning to call the Mechanic Messiah, the American Avatar, who disappeared one day in front of twenty-five thousand eye-witnesses?”


I did remember that, had read it on a small-town Ohio newspaper rack, because it was on the front page.


“Donald Shimoda?”


“At your service,” he said. “Now you know, so you don’t have to puzzle me out anymore. Go back to sleep.”


I thought about that for a long time before I slept.


I told him, you are the Messiah, and you’re supposed to save the world, aren’t you? I didn’t know the Messiah could just turn in his keys like that and quit. Don said of course you can quit! Quit anything you want, if you change your mind about doing it. You can quit breathing if you want to. People follow me and call me savior, OK, I’m the Son of God, but so are we all, I’m the savior, but so are you! The works that I do, you can do! Anybody in his right mind understands that.


I told him did you ever consider, Don that it might not be so easy to quit, after all? That you might not just settle right sown to the life of normal human being?





For a while, I got to thinking wow, all I have to do is stay with this guy and there will be no problems, nothing bad will happen and everything will turn out fine.


Common sense shouted at me to turn south after takeoff and get as far away from the man as I could get. But I said, it gets lonely, flying this way alone, and I was glad to find him, just to have somebody to talk with who knew an aileron from a vertical stabilizer.


I should have turned south, but after takeoff I stayed with him and we flew north and east into the future.


He said you are right, of course. Stay in any one place too long, more than a day or two, and people knew I was something strange. Brush against my sleeve, you’re healed of terminal cancer, and before the week’s out there I’m back in the middle of a crowd again. This airplane keeps me moving, and nobody knows where I came from or where I’m going next, which suits me pretty well.


It’s not me they want, it’s the miracles!


Where do you learn all this stuff, Don? He said “Savior’s Manual”, it is kind of the bible for masters. There’s a copy around here somewhere, if you’re interested. He rummaged around for a while in the baggage space behind the headrest of the Travel Air and came up with a small volume bound in what looked like suede.


I leafed through the book, a collection of maxims and short paragraphs.


Perspective- use it or lose it. If you turned to this page, you’re forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that.


Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it.


Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you.


You are all learners, doers, teachers.


The simplest questions are the most profound.


Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing?


Think about these once in a while, and watch your answers change.


You teach best what you most need to learn.


Live never to be ashamed if anything you do or say is published around the world � even if what is published is not true.


The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, “I’ve got responsibilities.”


You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.


Don’t turn away from possible futures before you’re certain you don’t have anything to learn from them.


You’re always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.


I kept the handbook, and Don never asked for it back. We were flying and looking for a good place to land, near the towns. I spotted a neat little cow pasture by the town going past below, as Don’s plane we times bigger than me he couldn’t land there, but when I was landing there, I saw his plane landing smoother than me. I asked him how did you manage to do so? He winked at me; magic!


I asked him I want to know how you landed here…


“Listen!” he called across the gulf between us. This world and everything in it; Illusions, Richard! Every bit of it illusions! Do you understand that?


In a burst insight, I pulled the Messiah’s Handbook from my pocket and opened it. Two sentences stood alone on the page.


There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.


You seek problems because you need their gifts.


I didn’t quite know why, but reading that eased my confusions. I read it over until I know it with my eyes closed.


There was a lot of people there waiting to fly, but I had a feeling about there and a voice inside me keeps telling me to leave there. I went to Don and told him that I want to leave. He said that this man is the last one and then we can leave.


The guy was waiting in a battered wheelchair. Don told him do you want to fly? The man in the wheelchair smiled a twisted smile and nodded sideways.


What happened then, it was as if the man had been acting, and finished the last scene of his crippled-invalid part. It looked staged. The high-gravity broke away from him as though it was never there; he launched off the chair at a half-run, amazed at himself, toward the Travel Air.


I was standing close, and heard him. What did you do? He said. What did you do to me?


Are you going to fly or not going to fly? Don said. The price is three dollars. Pay me before takeoff, please.


The people in the cars where out of the cars- there was an odd murmur from the watchers and then shocked silence. The man hadn’t walked since his truck went off a bridge eleven years before.


The Travel Air flew some steep lazy eights, a tight spiral, and then it was floating over the fence like a slow noisy flying saucer to land. If he had any sense at all, he would let his passenger off at the far side of the field, take off fast and disappear. There were more people coming; another wheelchair, pushed by a lady running.


He taxied toward the crowd, spun the plane about to keep the propeller pointing away, shut down the engine. The people ran to the cockpit, and for a minute I thought they were going to tear fabric from the fuselage, to get at the two.


Was it cowardly? I don’t know. I walked to my airplane, pumped the throttle and primer, pulled the propeller to start the engine. Then I got into the cockpit and turned the fleet into the wind and took off. The last I saw of Donald Shimoda, he was sitting on the rim of his cockpit, and the mob had him surrounded. I turned east, then southeast, and after a while the first big field I found with trees for shade and stream to drink from, I landed for the night. It was a long way from any town.


Lonely again. A person gets used to being alone, but break it just for a day and you have to get used to it again, al over from the beginning. Why did he stay there? I had the sense to leave, and I was no messiah at all.


Illusions. What did he mean about illusions? That mattered more than anything he had said or done�fierce, he was, when he said, “it’s all illusions!”


I made a fire and I had something for dinner. Long about ten o’clock the fire ran down. “Wherever you are, Donald Shimoda,” I said, unrolling my blanket under the wing, “ I wish you happy flying and no crowds. If that is what you want. No, I take that back. I wish, dear lonely messiah, that you find whatever it is that you want to find.”


His handbook fell out of the pocket as I took off my shirt, and I read it where it opened.


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.


I didn’t see how that applied to me, and reminded myself never to let a book replace my own thinking. I rustled down under the blanket, and then I was out like a bulb turned off, warm and dreamless under the sky and under several thousand stars that were illusions, maybe, but pretty ones, for sure.


When I came conscious again it was just sunrise. I lit the fire for my pan-bread. There was no rush to go anywhere. Might stay here all day, if I felt like it.


The bread had risen well in the pan, was just ready to be turned when I heard a sound in the sky to the west. There was no way that the sound could have been Shimoda’s Airplane, no way anybody could have tracked me to this one field out of millions of Midwest fields, but I knew that it was him and started whistling… watching the bread and the sky and trying to think of something very calm to say when he landed.


He pulled alongside and shut down his engine. I didn’t say anything. Waved, but didn’t say a word. I did stop whistling.


He got out of the cockpit and walked to the fire. “Hi, Richard.”


“You’re late.” I said. “Almost burned the pan-bread.”


“Sorry”


“How’d it go?” I said.


“Went OK,” he said with an instant’s half-smile. “I escaped with my life.”


“How did you find me?” I said. “I could have landed anywhere.”


“Like attracts like,” he muttered.


“Do you mind explaining? How is it that I am like your esteemed self? Or did by ‘like’ you mean the airplanes are alike, sort of?”


“We miracle-workers got to stick together” he said. Don’t be impatient, Richard. We’re all on our way to learning more. It will come to you a little faster now, and you’ll be a wise old spiritual maestro before you know it.


What do you mean, before I know it? I don’t want to know it! I don’t want to know anything!


You don’t want to know anything, he said.


Well, I want to know why the world is and what it is and why I live here and where I’m going next… I want to know that. How to fly without an airplane, if I had wish.


“Sorry”


“Sorry what?”


“Doesn’t work that way. If you learn what this world is, how it works, you automatically start getting miracles, what will be called miracles. But of course nothing is miraculous. Learn what the magician knows and it’s not magic anymore. He looked away from the sky. You’re like everybody else. You already know this stuff, you’re just not aware that you know it, yet.


Wednesday morning, it’s six o’clock, I’m not awake and WHOOM!! Theirs is this enormous noise sudden and violent as some high=explosive symphony; instant thousand voice choirs, words in Latin, violins and tympani and trumpets to shatter glass.


The ground shuddered, the Fleet rocked on her wheels and I came out from under the wing like a 400-volt cat, fur straight out exclamation points.


“STOP IT! STOP IT! OFF THE MUSIC, OFF IT!!”


Shimoda yelled so loud and so furious I could hear him over the din, and the sound stopped at once, echoes rolling off and away and away and away. Then it was a gentle holy song, quiet as the breeze, Beethoven in a dream.


He was unimpressed. “LOOK, I SAID OFF IT!!”


The music stopped.


“Whuf!” he said.


I just looked at him.


“There is a time and a place for everything, right?” he said.


“Well, time and place, well…”


“A little celestial music is fine, in the privacy of your own mind, and maybe on special occasions, but the first thing in the morning, and turned up that loud? What are you doing?”


“What am I doing? Don, I was sound asleep… what do you mean, what am I doing?”


He shook his head, shrugged his shoulders helplessly, snorted and went back to his sleeping bag under the wing.


The handbook was upside down in the grass where it had fallen. I turned it over carefully, and read.


Argue for your limitations. And sure enough, they’re yours.


Don, I will grant you that this life can be interesting or dull or whatever we choose to make it. But even in my brilliant times I have never been able to figure out why we’re here in the first place. Tell me something about that.


He said You have money, don’t you?


Lots. What’s the matter?


Let’s see the show, he said. You buy?


It’s already started.


So we come in late.


The time in the theater spiraled and stretched the way it does in a good film, and I watched awhile for technical reasons… how each scene was designed and fit to the next, why this scene now and not later on. I tried to look at it that way, but got spun up in the story and forgot.


Almost at the end, Shimoda touched my shoulder. I leaned toward him, watching the movie, wishing he could have kept whatever he was going to say till after it was over.


“Richard?”


“Yeah.”


“Why are you here?”


“It’s a good movie, Don. Sh.”


“Why is it good?” he said.


“It’s fun. Sh. I’ll tell you later.”


“Snap out of it. Wake up. It’s all illusions.”


I was irked. “Donald, there’s just a few minutes more and then we can talk all you want. But let me watch the movie, Ok?”


He whispered intensely, dramatically.


“Richard, Why are you here?”


“Look, I’m here because you asked me to come in here!” I turned back and tried to watch the end.


“You didn’t have to come, you could have said no thank you.”


“I LIKE THE MOVIE…” I like the movie, Don; is there anything wrong with that?


“Nothing at all.” He said. And he didn’t say another word till it was over and we were walking again.


I thought about his odd behavior in the theater. “You do everything for a reason, Don?”


“Sometimes.”


“Why the movie? Why did you all of a sudden want to see the movie?


“You asked a question.”


“Yes. Do you have an answer?”


“That is my answer. We went to the movie because you asked a question. The movie was the answer to your question.”


“What was my question?”


“Your question, Richard, was that even in your brilliant times you have never been able to figure out why we are here.”


I remembered. “And the movie was my answer.”


“Yes.”


“Oh.”


“You don’t understand,” he said.


“No.”


“That was a good movie,” he said, “but the world’s best movie is still an illusion. Is it not? The pictures aren’t even moving; they only appear to move. Changing light that seems to move across a flat screen set up in the dark?”


“Well, yes.” I was beginning to understand.


“The other people, any people anywhere who go to any movie show, why are they there, when it is only illusions?”


“Well, it’s entertainment,” I said.


“Fun. That’s right. One.”


“Could be educational.”


“Good. It is always that. Learning. Two.”


“Fantasy, escape.”


“That’s fun, too. One.”


“Technical reasons. To see how a film is made.”


“Learning. Two”


“Escape from boredom…”


“Escape. You said that.”


“Social. To be with friends.” I said.


“Reason for going, but not for seeing the film. That’s fun, anyway. One.”


Whatever I came up with fit his two fingers; people see films for fun or for learning or for both together.


“ And a movie is like a lifetime, Don, is that right?”


“Yes.”


“Then why would anybody choose a bad lifetime, a horror movie?”


“They not only come to the horror movie for fun, they know it is going to be a horror movie when they walk in,” he said.


“But why?…”


“Do you like horror films?”


“No.”


“Do you ever see them?”


“No.”


“But some people spend a lot of money and time to see horror, or soap-opera problems that to other people are dull and boring?…” He left the question for me to answer.


“Yes.”


“You don’t have to see their films and they don’t have to see yours. That is called ‘freedom.’ ”


“But why would anybody want to be horrified? Or bored?”


“Because they think they deserve it for horrifying somebody else, or they like the excitement of horrification, or that boring is the way they think films have to be.


Can you believe that lots of people for reasons that are very sound to them enjoy believing that they are helpless in their own films? No, you can’t.


“No, I can’t,” I said.


“Until you understand that, you will wonder why some people are unhappy. They are unhappy because they have chosen to be unhappy, and, Richard, that is al right!”


“Hm.”


“We are game-playing, fun-having creatures, we are the otters of the universe. We cannot die, we cannot hurt. But we can believe we’re hurt, in whatever agonizing detail we want. We can believe we’re victims, killed and killing, shuddered around by good luck and bad luck.”


“Many lifetimes?” I asked.


“How many movies have you seen?”


“Oh.”


“Films about living on this planet, about living on other planets; anything that’s got space and time is all movie and all illusion,” he said. “But for a while we can learn a huge amount and have a lot of fun with our illusions, can we not?”


“How far do you take this movie thing, Don?”


“How far do you want? You saw the film tonight partly because I wanted to see it. Lots of people choose lifetimes because they enjoy doing things together.


The actors in the film tonight have played together in other films�before or after depends on which film you’ve seen first, or you can see them at the same time on different screens. We buy tickets to these films, paying admission by agreeing to believe in the reality of space and the reality of time…neither one is true, but anyone who doesn’t want to pay that price cannot appear on this planet, or in any space-time system at all.”


“Are there some people who don’t have any lifetimes at all in space-time?”


“Are there some people who never go to movies?”


“I see. They get their learning in different ways?”


“Right you are,” he said, pleased with me. “Space-time is a fairly primitive school. But a lot of people stay with the illusion even if it is boring, and they don’t want the lights turned on early.”


“Who writes these movies, Don?”


“Isn’t it strange how much we know if only we ask ourselves instead of somebody else? Who writes these movies, Richard?”


“We do,” I said.


“Who acts?”


“Us.”


“Who’s the cameraman, the projectionist, the theater manager, the ticket-taker, the distributor, and who watches them all happen? Who is free to walk out in the middle, any time, change the plot whenever, who is free to see the same film over and over again?”


“Let me guess,” I said. “Anybody who wants to?”


“Is that enough freedom for you?” he said.


“And is that why movies are so popular? That we instinctively know they are a parallel of our own lifetimes?”


“Maybe so…maybe not. Doesn’t matter much, does it? What’s the projector?”


“Mind,” I said. “NO. Imagination. It’s our imagination, no matter what you say.”


“What’s the film?” he asked.


“Got me.”


“Whatever we give our consent to put into our imagination?”


“Maybe so, Don.”


“You can hold a reel of film in your hands.” He said, “and it’s all finished and complete�beginning, middle, end are all there that same second, the same millionths of a second. The film exists beyond the time that it records, and if you know what the movie is, you know generally what’s going to happen before you walk into the theater there’s going to be battles and excitement, winners and losers, romance, disaster; you know that’s al going to be there. But in order to get caught up and swept away in it, in order to enjoy it to its most, you have to put it in a projector and let it go through the lens minute by minute… any illusion requires space and time to be experienced. So you pay your nickel and you get your ticket and you settle down and forget what’s going on outside the theater and the movie begins for you.”


“And nobody’s really hurt? That’s just tomato-sauce blood?”


“No, it’s blood all right,” he said. “But it might as well be tomato sauce for the effect it has on our real life…”


“And reality?”


“Reality is divinely indifferent, Richard. A mother doesn’t care what part her child plays in his games; one-day bad guy, next day good guy. The Is doesn’t even know about our illusions and games. It only knows itself, and us in its likeness, perfect and finished.”


“I’m not sure I want to be perfect and finished. Talk about boredom…”


“Look at the sky,” he said, and it was such a quick subject-change that I looked at the sky. There was some broken cirrus, way up high, the first bit of moonlight silvering the edges.


“Pretty sky,” I said.


“It is a perfect sky?”


“Well, it’s always a perfect sky, Don.”


“Are you telling me that even thought it’s changing every second, the sky is always a perfect sky?”


“Gee, I’m smart. Yes!”


“And the sea is always a perfect sea, and it’s always changing, too.” He said. “If perfection is stagnation, then heaven is a swamp! And the Is ain’t hardly no swamp-cookie.”


“Isn’t hardly no swamp-cookie,” I corrected, absently. “Perfect, and all the time changing. Yeah. I’ll buy that.”


“You bought it long time ago, if you insist on time.”


I turned to him as we walked. “Doesn’t it get boring for you, Don, staying on just this one dimension?”


“Oh. Am I staying on just this one dimension?” he said. “Are you?”


“Why is it that everything I say is wrong?”


“Is everything you say wrong?” he said.


“I think I’m in the wrong business.”


“You think maybe real estate?” he said.


“Real estate or insurance.”


“There is a future in real estate, if you want one.”


“OK. I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t want a future. Or a past. I’d just as soon become a nice old master of the World of Illusion. Looks like maybe in another week?”


“Well, Richard, I hope not that long!”


I looked at him carefully, but he wasn’t smiling.


Then be sure of one thing the Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have.


Once I was trying vaporizing clouds. I have been a flight instructor, and I know that students always make easy things hard; I do know better, yet there was I a student again, frowning fiercely at my cumulus targets.


I kicked him softly on the arm, and he opened his eyes.


“I can’t do it,” I said.


“Yes you can,” he said, and closed his eyes again.


Finally I tried one and it vaporized.


“You’re not very fast, are you?” he said.


“That was my first time! I’m just beginning! Up against the impossible…


I was whacking that cloud with everything I had! Fireballs, laser beams, vacuum cleaner a block high…


“Richard, if you really want to remove a cloud from your life, you do not make a big production out of it, you just relax and remove it from you thinking. That’s al there is to it.”


A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed,


It feels an impulsion…this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.


You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true.


You may have to work for it, however.


I did a lot of strange things; walking on the sea, swimming in the ground…


“Richard, don’t forget what you did today. It is easy to forget our times of knowing, to think they’ve been dreams or old miracles, one time. Nothing good is a miracle, nothing lovely is a dream.”


“The world is a dream, you say, and it’s lovely, sometimes. Sunset. Clouds. Sky.”


“No. The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?”


I nodded, almost understanding. Later I sneaked a look in the handbook.


The world is your exercise book, the pages on which you do your sums.


It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish.


You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages.


The original sin is to limit the Is.


Don’t.


“Donald,” I said when I got to the field, “I have come to the conclusion that you just don’t live in this world.”


He looked at me startled from the top of his wing. “Of course not. Can you tell me one person who does?”


“What do you mean, can I tell you one person who does. Me! I live in this world!”


“Excellent,” he said. As though through independent study I had uncovered a hidden mystery.


I puzzled over that. He wasn’t being sarcastic or ironic; he had meant just what he said. “What do you mean? Of course I live in this world. Me and about four billion other people. It’s you who…”


“Oh, God, Richard! You are serious!”


“He broke off and looked down on me in angry pity. “You’re sure of that. You live in the same world, do you, as … a stockbroker, shall we say? Your life has just been all tumbled and changed, I presume, by the new SEC policy�mandatory review of portfolios with shareholder investment loss more than fifty percent? You live in the same world as a tournament chess player, do you? What are you doing in a hayfield in Maitland, Ohio? You with your 1 Fleet biplane landed on a farm field, with your major life priorities farmers’ permission, people who want ten-minute airplane rides. How many people do you think live in your world? You say four billion people live in your world? Are you standing way down there on the ground and telling me that four billion people do not live in four billion separate worlds, are you going to put that across on me?” he panted from his fast talking.


Though it was the last time I accused him of not living in this world, it took me a long time to understand the words where the handbook opened


If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real that people with bodies and heartbeats.


Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness.


Listen to it carefully.


“Listen,” he said, “it’s important. We Are All Free To Do Whatever We Want To Do.”


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.


Don’t you get lonely, Don? Sometimes I see a face that I want to be with here and talk to her but it is just a fleeting glimpse, what do you think?


Well, Richard, we’re magnets, aren’t we? Not magnets. We’re iron, wrapped in copper wire, and whenever we want to magnetize ourselves we can. Pour our inner voltage through the wire, we can attract whatever we want to attract. A magnet is not anxious about how it works. It is itself, and by its nature it draws some things and leaves others untouched. Cosmic law, remember? Like attracts like. Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright. Automatically, as we shine who we are, asking ourselves every minute is this what I really want to do, doing it only when we answer yes, automatically that turns away those who have nothing to learn from who we are and attracts those who do, and from whom we have to learn, as well.


“But that takes a lot of faith, and meanwhile you get pretty lonely.”


Humbug on faith. Takes zero faith. What it takes is imagination.


If you have imagination as a grain of sesame seed, he said, all things are possible to you.


“No, I wanted to correct that, when I was working, but it was a long uphill fight. Two thousand years ago, five thousand, they didn’t have a word for imagination, and faith was the best they could come up with for a pretty solemn bunch of followers.


“I’m supposed to imagine this magnetizing? I imagine some lovely wise mystical lady appearing in a hayfield crowd in Tarragon, Illinois? I can do that, but that’s all that is, that’s just my imagination.”


“Just your imagination? Of course it’s your imagination! This world is your imagination, have you forgotten? Where your thinking is, there is your experience; As a man thinks, so is he; that which I feared is come upon me; think and grow rich creative visualization for fun and profit; how to find friends by being who you are. Your imagining doesn’t change the Is one whit, doesn’t affect reality at all. But we are talking about Warner Brothers worlds, MGM lifetimes, and every second of those are illusions and imaginations. All dreams with the symbols we waking dreamers conjure for ourselves.


“If you dreamed about airplanes, what would that mean to you?”


“Well, freedom. Airplane dreams are escape and flight and setting myself free.”


“How clear do you want it? The dream awake is the same your will to be free of all things that tie you back�routine, authority, boredom, gravity. What you haven’t realized is that you’re already free, and you always have been. If you had half the sesame seeds of this… you’re already supreme lord of your magician’s life. Only imagination! What are you saying?


“So you never get lonely, Don?” I said.


“Unless I feel like it. I have friends on other dimensions that are around me from time to time. So do you.”


“No, I mean on this dimension, this imaginary world. Show me what you mean, give me a little miracle of the magnet… I do want to learn this.”


“You show me,” he said. “To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there.”


“Like what? Like my lovely lady?”


“Anything. Not your lady. Sometimes small, at first.”


“I’m supposed to practice now?”


“Yes.”


“OK…. A blue feather.”


He looked at me blankly. “Richard? A blue feather?”


“You said anything not a lady something little.”


He shrugged. “Fine. A blue feather. Imagine the feather. Visualize it, every line and edge of it, the tip, V-splits where it’s torn, fluff around the quill. Just for a minute. Then let it go.


I closed my eyes for a minute and saw an image in my mind, five inches long, iridescing blue to silver at the edges. A bright clear feather floating there in the dark.


“OK.”


“That’s it. You can open your eyes now.”


I opened my eyes. “Where’s my feather?”


“If you had it clear in your thought, it is even this moment barreling down on you like a Mack truck.”


“My feather? Like a Mack truck?”


“Figuratively, Richard.”


All that afternoon I looked for the feather to appear, and it didn’t. It was evening, dinnertime over a hot turkey sandwich, that I saw it. A picture and small print on the carton of milk.


“Don! My feather!”


“I thought you wanted the actual feather.”


“Well, any feather for openers, don’t you think?”


“Did you see just the feather all alone, or were you holding the feather in your hand?”


“All alone.”


“That explains it. If you want to be with what you’re magnetizing, you have to put yourself in the picture, too. Sorry I didn’t say that.”


A spooky strange feeling. It worked! I had consciously magnetized my first thing! “Today a feather,” I said, “Tomorrow the world!”


“Be careful, Richard,” he said hauntingly, “or you’ll be sorry…”


The truth you speak has no past and no future.


It is, and that’s all it needs to be.


“Richard, how can you hope to impress the world when everybody else works for their living and you run around all irresponsible from day to day in your crazy biplane, selling passenger rides?” He was testing me again. “There’s a question you are gonna get more than once.”


“Well, Donald, Part One I do not exist to impress the world. I exist to live my life in a way that will make me happy.”


“OK. Part Two?”


“Part Two Everybody else is free to do whatever they feel like doing, for a living. Part Three Responsible is Able to Respond, able to answer for the way we choose to live. There’s only one person we have to answer to, of course, and that is…?”


“…Ourselves,” Don said.


“We don’t even have to answer to ourselves, if we don’t feel like it…there’s nothing wrong with being irresponsible. But most of us find it more interesting to know why we act as we do, why we make our choices just so�whether we choose to watch a bird or step on an ant or work for money at something we’d rather not be doing.”


“OK…. How do you hope to impress the world…”


“How about I allow the world to live as it chooses, and I allow me to live as I choose.”


Even if the Rule was changed to Do unto others as they want to be done to, we can’t know how anybody but ourselves wants to be done to. What the Rule means, and how we apply it honestly, is this Do unto others as you truly feel like doing unto others.


“You know what?” Shimoda stood up, brushing the hay off his blue jeans.


“What?” I said petulantly.


“You just graduated. How does it feel to be a Master?”


“Frustrating as hell.”


He looked at me with an infinitesimal smile. “You get used to it,” he said.


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


On the Jeff Sykes radio talk show, I was a Donald Shimoda I had never seen before. The show began at 00 p.m. and went till midnight, from a room no bigger than a watchmaker’s, lined about with dials and knobs and racks of tape-cartridge commercial spots.


Sykes opened by asking if there wasn’t something illegal about flying around the country in an ancient airplane, taking people for rides.


He said No one can stop us from doing what we want to do.


A minute after he said that, the call-director telephone began lighting up on Sykes’ desk.


“We have a caller on line one,” Sykes said. “Go ahead, ma’am.”


“Am I on the air?”


“Yes, ma’am, you are on the air and our guest is Mr. Donald Shimoda, the Airplane flier. Go ahead, you are on the air.


“Well, I’d like to tell that fellow that not everybody gets to do what they want to do and that some people have to work for their living and hold down a little more responsibility than flying around with some carnival!”


“The people who work for a living are doing what they most want to do,” Shimoda said. “Just as much as the people who play for a living…”


“ ‘Do your things!’ I get so tired of people like you saying do your thing, do your thing! You let everybody run wild, and they’ll destroy the world. They are destroying the world right now. Look at what is happening to the green living things and the rivers and the oceans!”


“It’s OK if the world is destroyed,” he said.


“There are a thousand million other worlds for us to create and choose from. As long as people want planets, there will be planets to live on.”


“Everything’s OK, is it?” the caller said into her telephone. “There’s no evil in this world, no sin going on all around us? That doesn’t bother you, does it?”


“Nothing there to be bothered about, ma’am. We see just one little fleck of the whole that is life, and that one fleck is fake. Everything balances, and nobody suffers and nobody dies without their consent. Nobody does what they don’t want to do. There is no good and there is no evil, outside of what makes us happy and what makes us unhappy.”


She broke suddenly and said simply, “How do you know all these things that you say? How do you know what you say is true?”


“I don’t know they’re true,” he said. “I believe them because it’s fun to believe them,”


“Anybody who’s ever mattered, anybody who’s ever been happy, anybody who’s ever given any gift into the world has been a divinely selfish soul, living for his own best interest. No exceptions.”


It was a male caller next, while the evening fled by. “Selfish! Mister, do you know what the antichrist is?”


For a second Shimoda smiled and relaxed in his chair. It was as if he knew the caller personally.


“Perhaps you could tell me,” he said.


“Christ said that we have to live for our fellow man. Antichrist say be selfish, live for yourself and let other people go to hell.”


“Or heaven, or wherever else they feel like going.”


“You are dangerous, do you know that, mister? What if everybody listened to you and did just whatever they felt like doing? What do you think would happen then?”


“I think that this would probably be the happiest planet in this part of the galaxy,” he said.


“Mister, I am not sure that I want my children to hear what you are saying.”


“What is it that your children want to hear?”


“If we are all free to do whatever we want to do, then I’m free to come out in that field with my shotgun and blow your fool head off.”


“Of course you’re free to do that.”


In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom.


It is not always an easy sacrifice.


Jeff Sykes had told everybody who we were, that our airplanes were parked on John Thomas’ hayfield on State 41, and that we slept nights under the wing.


There was a half hour left of the show, and it only got worse.


“You know, mister, I think you’re a fake,” said the next caller.


“Of course I’m fake! We’re all fakes on this whole world, we’re all pretending to be something that we’re not. We are not bodies walking around, we are not atoms and molecules, we are unkillable undestroyable ides of the Is, no matter how much we believe otherwise…”


He would have been the first to remind me that I was free to leave, if I didn’t like what he was saying, and he would have laughed at my fears of lynch mobs waiting with torches at the airplanes.


Don’t be dismayed at good-byes.


A farewell is necessary before you can meet again.


And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.


Next noon, before the people came to fly, he stopped by my wing. “Remember what you said when you found my problem, that nobody would listen, no matter how many miracles I did?”


“No.”


“Do you remember that time, Richard?”


“Yeah, I remember the time. You looked so lonely, all of a sudden. I don’t remember what I said.”


“You said that depending on people to care about what I say is depending on somebody else for my happiness. That’s what I came here to learn it doesn’t matter whether I communicate or not. I chose this whole lifetime to share with anybody the way the world is put together, and I might as well have chosen it to say nothing at all. The Is doesn’t need me to tell anybody how it works.”


“That’s obvious, Don. I could have told you that.”


“Thanks a lot. I find the one idea I lived this life to find, I finish a whole life’s work, and he says, ‘that’s obvious, Don.’ “


He was laughing, but he was sad, too, and at the time I couldn’t tell why.


The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy.


What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.


There was the normal little crowd waiting to fly, his airplane taxiing in, stopping by them in a whirl of propeller-wind, a casual good scene for me from the top wing of the Fleet as I poured gas into the tank. The next second there was a sound like a tire exploding and the crowd itself exploded and ran. The tire on the Travel Air was untouched, the engine ticked over at idle as it had a moment before. But was a foot-wide hole in the fabric under the pilot’s cockpit and Shimoda was pressed to the other side, head slammed down, his body still as sudden death.


It took a few thousandths of a second for me to realize that Donald Shimoda had been shot, another to drop the gas can and jump off the top wing, running. It was like some movie script, some amateur-acted play, a man with a shotgun running away with everybody else, close enough by me I could have cut him with a sabre. I remember now that I didn’t care about him. I was not enraged or shocked or horrified. The only thing that mattered was to get to the cockpit of the Travel Air as fast as I could and to talk with my friend.


It looked as if he had been hit by a bomb; the left half of his body was all torn leather and cloth and meat and blood, a soggy mass of scarlet. His head was tilted down by the fuel primer knob, at the right lower corner of the instrument panel, and I thought that if he had been wearing his shoulder harness he wouldn’t have been thrown forward like that.


“Don! Are you OK?” Fool’s words.


He opened his eyes and smiled. His own blood was sprayed wet across his face. “Richard, what does it look like?”


I was enormously relieved to hear him talk. If he could talk, if he could think, he would be all right.


“Well, if I didn’t know better, buddy, I’d say you had a bit of a problem.”


He didn’t move, except just his head a little bit, and suddenly I was scared again, more by his stillness than by the mess and the blood. “I didn’t think you had enemies.”


“I don’t. That was… a friend. Better not to have…some hater bring all sorts of trouble…into his life…murdering me.”


The seat and side panels of the cockpit were running with blood�it would be a big job just to get the Travel Air clean again, although the airplane itself wasn’t damaged badly. “Did this have to happen, Don?”


“No…” he said faintly, barely breathing. “But I think… I like the drama…”


“Well, let’s get cracking! Heal yourself! With the crowd that’s coming, we got lots of flying to do!”


But as I was joking at him and in spite of all his knowing and all his understanding of reality, my friend Donald Shimoda fell the last inch to the primer knob, and died.


There was a roaring in my ears, the world tilted, and I slid down the side of the torn fuselage into the wet red grass. It felt as if the weight of the Handbook in my pocket toppled me to my side, and as I hit the ground it fell loose, wind slowly ruffling the pages.


I picked it up listlessly. Is this how it ends, I thought, is everything a master says just pretty words that can’t save him from the first attack of some mad dog in a farmer’s field?


I had to read three times before I could believe these were the words on the page.


Everything in this book may be wrong.


By autumn, I had flown south with the warm air. Good fields were few, but the crowds got bigger all the time. People had always liked to fly in the biplane, and these days more of them were staying to talk and to toast marshmallows over my campfire. Once in a while somebody who hadn’t really been much sick said they felt better for the talking, and the people next day would look at me strangely, move closer, curious. More than once I flew away early.


No miracles happened, although the Fleet was running better than ever she had, and on less gas. She had stopped throwing oil, stopped killing bugs on her propeller and windscreen. The colder air, no doubt, or the little fellas getting smart enough to dodge.


Still, one river of time had stopped for me that summer noon when Shimoda had been shot. It was an ending I could neither believe nor understand; it was stalled there and I lived it a thousand times again, hoping it might somehow change. It never did. What was I supposed to learn that day?


One night late in October, after I got scared and left a crowd in Mississippi, I came down in a little empty place just big enough to land the Fleet. Once again before I slept, I thought back to that last moment�why did he die? There was no reason for it. If what he said was true…


There was no one now to talk with as we had talked, no one to learn from, no one to stalk and attack with my words, to sharpen my new bright mind against. Myself? Yes, but I wasn’t half the fun that Shimoda had been, who taught by keeping me always off-balance with his spiritual karate. Thinking this I slept, and sleeping, dreamed.


He was kneeling on the grass of a meadow, his back to me, patching the hole in the side of the Travel Air where the shotgun blast had been. There was a roll of Grade-A aircraft fabric and a can of butyrate dope by his knee. I know that I was dreaming, and I knew also that this was real. “DON!”


He stood slowly and turned to face me, smiling at my sorrow and my joy.


“Hi, fella,” he said.


I couldn’t see for tears. There is no dying, there is no dying at all, and this man was my friend.


“Donald!…you’re alive! What are you trying to do?” I ran and threw my arms around him and he was real. I could feel the leather of his flying jacket, crush his arms inside it.


“Hi,” he said. “Do you mind? What I am trying to do is to patch this hole, here.”


I was so glad to see him, nothing was impossible.


“With the dope and fabric?” I said.


“With dope and fabric you’re trying to fix…? You don’t do it that way, you see it perfect, already done…” and as I said the words I passed my hand like a screen in front of the ragged bloody hole and when my hand moved by, the hole was gone. There was just pure mirror-painted airplane left, seamless fabric from nose to tail.


“So that’s how you do it!” he said, his dark eyes proud of the slow learner who made good at last as a mental mechanic. I didn’t find it strange; in the dream that was the way to do the job. There was a morning fire by the wing, and a frying pan balanced over it. “You’re cooking something, Don! You know, I’ve never seen you cook anything. What you got?”


“Pan-bread,” he said matter-of-factly. “The one last thing I want to do in your life is show you how this is done.” He cut two pieces with his pocketknife and handed me one. The flavor is still with me as I write…. The flavor of sawdust and old library past, warmed in lard. “What do you think?” he said.


“Don…”


“The Phantom’s Revenge,” he grinned at me. “I made it with plaster.” He put his part back in the pan. “To remind you, if ever you want to move somebody to learn, do it with your knowing and not with your pan-bread, OK?”


“NO! Love me, love my pan bread! It’s the staff of life, Don!”


“Very well. But I guarantee�your first supper with anybody is going to be your last if you feed them that stuff.”


We laughed and were quiet, and I looked at him in the silence.


“Don, you’re all right, aren’t you?”


“You expect me to be dead? Come now, Richard.”


“And this is not a dream? I won’t forget seeing you now?”


“No. This is a dream. It’s a different space-time and any different space-time is a dream for a good sane earthling, which you are going to be for a while yet. But you will remember, and that will change your thinking and your life.”


“Will I see you again? Are you coming back?”


“I don’t think so. I want to get beyond times and spaces… I already am, as a matter of fact. But there is this link between us, between you and me and the others of your family. You get stopped by some problem, hold it in your head and go to sleep and we’ll meet here by the airplane and talk about it, if you want.”


“Don…”


“What?”


“Why the shotgun? Why did that happen? I don’t see any power and glory in getting your heart blown out by a shotgun.”


He sat down in the grass by the wing. “Since I was not a front-page Messiah, Richard, I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody. And since you need the practice in being unflustered by appearances, and unsaddened by them,” he added heavily, “you could use some gory appearances for you training. And fun for me, too. ? Dying is like diving into a deep lake on a hot day. There’s the shock of that sharp cold change, the pain of it for a second, and then accepting is a swim in reality. But after so may times, even the shock wears off.”


After a long moment he stood. “Only a few people are interested in what you have to say, but that’s all right. You don’t tell the quality of a master by the size of his crowds, remember.”


“Don, I’ll try it, I promise. But I’ll run away forever as soon as I stop having fun with the job.”


Nobody touched the Travel Air, but its propeller turned, its engine pouted cold blue smoke, and the rich sound of it filled the meadow. “Promise accepted, but…”


And he looked at me and smiled as if he didn’t understand me.


“Accepted but what? Speak. Words. Tell me. What’s wrong?”


“You don’t like crowds,” he said.


“Not pulling at me, no. I like talk and ideas back and forth, but the worship thing you went through, and the dependence… I trust you’re not asking me… I’ve already run away…”


“Maybe I’m just dumb, Richard, and maybe I don’t see something obvious that you see very well, and if I don’t see it will you please tell me, but what is wrong with writing it down on paper? Is there a rule that a messiah can’t write what he thinks is true, the things that have been fun for him, that work for him? And then maybe if people don’t like what he says, instead of shooting him they can burn his words, hit the ashes with a stick? And if they do like it, they can read the words another time, or write them on a refrigerator door, or play with whatever ideas make sense to them? Is there something wrong with writing? But maybe I’m just dumb.”


“In a book?”


“Why not?”


“Do you know how much work…? I promised never to write another word again in my life!”


“Oh. Sorry,” he said. ‘There you have it. I didn’t know that.” He stepped on the lower wing of the airplane, and then into the cockpit. “Well. See you around. Hang in there, and all that. Don’t let the crowds get to you. You don’t want to write it, you’re sure?”


“Never,” I said. “Never another word.”


He shrugged and pulled on his flying gloves, pressed the throttle forward, and the sound of the engine burst and swirled around me until I woke under the wing of the Fleet with the echoes of the dream still in my ears.


I was alone, the field was as silent as green-autumn snow soft over the dawn and the world.


And then for the fun of it, before I was fully awake, I reached for my journal and began to write, one messiah in a world of others, about my friend


1. There was a Master come unto the earth, born in the holy land of Indiana,





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