Richard Bach (born 23 June 1936) is an American writer, widely known as the author of some of the 1970s' biggest sellers, including Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970) and Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (1977). Most of Bach's books have been semi-autobiographical, using actual or fictionalized events from his life to illustrate his philosophy, that our apparent physical limits and mortality are merely appearance.
- Nothing happens by chance, my friend... No such thing as luck. A meaning behind every little thing, and such a meaning behind this. Part for you, part for me, we may not see it all real clear right now, but we will, before long.
- Nothing by Chance: A Gypsy Pilot's Adventures in Modern America (1969)
- An old maxim says that a professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
- A Gift of Wings (1974)
- You have no birthday because you have always lived; you were never born, and never will die. You are not the child of the people you call mother and father, but their fellow-adventurer on a bright journey to understand the things that are.
- There's No Such Place As Far Away (1978)
- Fly free and happy beyond birthdays and across forever, and we'll meet now and then when we wish, in the midst of the one celebration that never can end.
- There's No Such Place As Far Away (1978)
- If it's never our fault, we can't take responsibility for it. If we can't take responsibility for it, we'll always be its victim.
- Running from Safety: An Adventure of the Spirit (1994)
Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970)
- For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight.
- Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight — how to get from shore to food and back again.
- We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill.
- Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull’s life is so short, and with these gone from his thoughts, he lived a long fine life indeed.
- The gull sees farthest who flies highest.
- Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding.
- But the speed was power, and the speed was joy, and the speed was pure beauty.
- If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?
- The gulls who scorn perfection for the sake of travel go nowhere, slowly. Those who put aside travel for the sake of perfection go anywhere, instantly.
- "You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn't flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn't have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there."
- "The only true law is that which leads to freedom," Jonathan said. "There is no other."
- "Such promises are only for the gulls that accept the ordinary. One who has touched excellence in his learning has no need of that kind of promise."
- 11. The Master answered and said "Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river.
12. "The current of the river swept silently over them all — young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going it's own way, knowing only its own crystal self.
13. "Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.
14. "But one creature said at last, 'I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.'
15. "The other creatures laughed and said, 'Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed against the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!'
16. "But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.
17. "Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
18. "And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried 'See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah come to save us all!'
19. "And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure."
20. "But they cried the more, 'Savior!' all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Savior."
- 26. And [the Messiah] said unto them, "If a man told God that he wanted most of all to help the suffering world, no matter the price to himself, and God answered and told him what he must do, should the man do as he is told?"
27. "Of course, Master!" cried the many. "It should be pleasure for him to suffer the tortures of hell itself, should God ask it!"
28. "No matter what those tortures, no matter how difficult the task?"
29. "Honor to be hanged, glory to be nailed to a tree and burned, if so be that God has asked," said they.
30. "And what would you do," the Master said unto the multitude, "if God spoke directly to your face and said, 'I COMMAND THAT YOU BE HAPPY IN THE WORLD, AS LONG AS YOU LIVE.' What would you do then?"
31. And the multitude was silent, not a voice, not a sound was heard upon the hillsides, across the valleys where they stood.
- 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 reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.
- Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours.
- Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.
- 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.
- Everything in this book may be wrong.
- Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.
- 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 your thinking. That's all there is to it.
- If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.
- If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.
- Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect.
Then be sure of one thing:
The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have.
- In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.
- 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, and teachers.
- Live never to be ashamed if anything you say or do is published around the world, even if what is said is not true.
- 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.
- Remember where you came from, where you're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place.
- The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."
- 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.
- 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.
- The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.
- The original sin is to limit the Is. —Don't.
- 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 awhile, and watch your answers change.
- "There is no problem so big that it cannot be run away from."…
"You're quoting Snoopy the dog, I believe?"
"I'll quote the truth wherever I find it thank you."
- There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.
- We're all the sons of God, or children of the Is, or ideas of the Mind, or however else you want to say it.
- You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true.
You may have to work for it, however.
- 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 teach best what you most need to learn.
- You're going to die a horrible death, remember. It's all good training, and you'll enjoy it more if you keep the facts in mind.
Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution is not generally understood by less advanced lifeforms, and they'll call you crazy.
- Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years.
- Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a fake messiah.
The Bridge Across Forever (1984)
- I felt like a moth in a chandelier — all at once there were lots of pretty choices, but I wasn't quite sure where to fly.
- No one does anything uncharacteristic of who they are.
- There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they're necessary to reach the places we've chosen to go.
- That's what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we've changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games. Losing, in a curious way, is winning.
- Ch. 15
- The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.
- The music broke from the piano like clear cold water from a prophet-touched rock, pouring and splashing around us while her fingers leaped and spread, curled and stiffened and melted and flickered in magic pass and streaked lightning above the keyboard. Never before had she played for me... because we were lovers now, was she free to play...?
- What I have just heard is pure . . . listen! . . . radiance, that you took from cloud-linings and sunrises and distilled into light that I can hear! Do you know how good, how lovely that is, what you can make the piano do?
- Ch. 21
- He wanted so much to ask, and he dared so little to know.
- Ch. 45
- As long as we believe in sequential time, we see becoming, instead of being. Beyond time, we're all one.
- Ch. 46
- The things we own, the places we live, the events of our lives: empty settings. How easy to chase after settings, and forget diamonds! The only thing that matters, at the end of a stay on earth, is how well did we love, what was the quality of our love?
- Ch. 48
- The opposite of loneliness, it's not togetherness. It is intimacy.
- We're the bridge across forever, arching above the sea, adventuring for our pleasure, living mysteries for the fun of it, choosing disasters triumphs challenges impossible odds, testing ourselves over and again, learning love and love and LOVE!
- Evolution made civilization steward of this planet. A hundred thousand years later, the steward stood before evolution not helper but destroyer, not healer but parasite. So evolution withdrew its gift, passed civilization by, rescued the planet from intelligence and handed it to Love.
- It's like, at the end, there's this surprise quiz: Am I proud of me? I gave my life to become the person I am right now! Was it worth what I paid?