Mind over matter


In Hypnotizing Maria, Richard Bach suggests that like everything else, reality too is subjective

Imagine being closeted in a room with brick walls, no more than 10 feet in diametre. There are no doors or windows, just a dank, grey prison cell. Then imagine being told that the only way to get out is by walking through the brick wall. Unless you're the Messiah, you've either gone bonkers or you've been hypnotised and the truth is that there are no walls.

For Jamie Forbes, the protagonist of American writer Richard Bach's latest book, Hypnotizing Maria, published by Jaico Publishers, it was the latter when he volunteered to be hypnotised during a show by the hypnotist, Blacksmyth the Great. And that is the basic premise of Bach's book-that the walls are all in your mind. You are a prisoner of your beliefs. "Don't assume belief's some limp-wrist pansy," he writes. "It's the steel vise of the game and clamps us to it every second till we die."

Like his previous 19 books, Hypnotizing Maria too includes many autobiographical threads. It's difficult to determine where Jamie Forbes ends and Richard Bach begins. "Like Jamie Forbes, I dropped out of school to learn to fly airplanes. My wife Sabryna and I have our own T-34 just as in the story. There's a whole wall of mirrors in this book," says the 73-year-old writer, who currently resides in Oak Park, Illinois, with his third wife, Sabryna Nelson-Alexopoulos.

From Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a story about a seagull who flew for the love of flying rather than merely to catch food, which broke all hardcover sales records since Gone with the Wind and sold more than 10,00,000 copies, and throughout all his later work, Bach has consistently used flight as a philosophical metaphor and continues to do so in Hypnotizing Maria.

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