“You seek problems because you need their gifts.” -Richard Bach
One of my best friends in Portland implored me to read Illusions by Richard Bach several years ago. He told me it would change my life, and he and I both hate such hyperbole. I hesitate to say it has changed my life, but I can say I return to it often. I’ve returned to it recently as I’ve become especially pensive as of late. I’m listening to my gut with all of my being and am confident it will yield results in the near future. But that’s a story for another day…
Reading Bach’s book has made me ponder past mistakes (increasingly, I find myself thinking regretfully about questionable past choices). Bach’s words have been comforting.
Bach gets a bad wrap from some critics for being of a new age mind. I get uncomfortable talking about religion; not because I can’t talk about it, but because I’ve seen Christians attack people who consider themselves “spiritual but not religious,” I’ve seen atheists make fun of all Christians for comments made by a select few, and so forth, and the sum of these attacks makes me uncomfortable.
Bach also receives grief over his incredible success with charges that he caters to the masses and is overly simplistic. I find these charges to be overly reductive. First of all, Bach is passionate about flying and he doesn’t try to tone down his passion to be more accessible for readers. Also, it isn’t as if Bach publishes a new book every month. Sure, his philosophy isn’t Wittgenstein; but it has more substance than your run-of-the-mill self-help book.
Anyway, an idea Bach presents in Illusions is that a person’s mind creates reality. Maybe this idea sounds sort of out there, but since I don’t really have the space to get into this idea’s possible limitations or its great potential, for now let’s just assume it has validity. As you can see from the above quotation, Bach posits a person creates problems and does so with growth in mind. In a certain light, it makes sense. Certainly, creating problems for yourself seems counter-intuitive. But if you become a better person as a result of the problems, it makes sense if it’s done on a subconscious level. All of this got me thinking about the numerous problems I’ve faced in the last few years. Just as one example, is it possible I created a problem so that it could teach me gratitude? I feel as though I do express gratitude better now than I did several years ago, so maybe there really is validity to Bach’s belief? I can’t say for sure, but he’s certainly helped me perform a lot of valuable self-reflection.