Editor’s note: From time to time I will review books related to conscious creation, self-development, law of attraction and other subjects of interest to my readers. I’ll note when the book was purchased by myself or obtained as a free review copy from the publisher.
When the modern world darkens the soul, many people turn to religion as a way of replenishing the spirit and finding meaning in life. James turned to a rice paddy.
Jonathan Reggio’s One Day the Shadow Passed allows us a look into James’ life as he steps off on a pilgrim’s journey to rural Japan. He takes the trip to help ease his growing discontent with contemporary life and figures he’ll let destiny show him a new direction.
Only a few days into his journey, James gets lost on a wooded path and finds himself on a small farm. Seemingly unkempt and wild, the farm looks nothing like the other big commercial farms he had seen that day. With daylight and water running low, he is relieved to stumble upon the farm’s owner, Takeshi Fumimoto.
Fumimoto offers the weary traveler some hot tea, a meal and a place to sleep for the night, a much-needed respite after walking for days on end. While they eat dinner, James questions the man about his farm and the very noticeable differences between it and the larger commercial farms that surround the property. James quietly and eagerly listens to the farmer talk about his work and the reasons for his alternative farming methods.
It didn’t take James long to realize that the universe had brought him here for a reason. Even a discussion about the kinds of chickens the farmer was raising gave James reason to pause.
“I felt, quite distinctly, that although this man was talking about hens, he was in fact telling me about something else, something of far greater significance, which had enormous implications for myself and indeed for the whole world.”
James’ interest in the farm keeps him there for several days, helping Fumimoto with chores and learning about the “non-method” the farmer employs with his crops. These approaches, like the absence of fertilizer and pesticides, are in direct opposition to the methods used by the neighboring farms and those of other commercialized countries. He learns the reasons why Fumimoto chooses these methods and the successes and failures he encounters.
The reasons for this return to “natural” farming make perfect sense to James. So much so that he has a revelation while working the land with his Japanese host. “All that remained was one thought, one firm conviction that I knew was the only truth in the world: Mankind knows nothing.”
The farmer shares with James his own story about becoming disillusioned with the modern world. He explains how the scientific study of farming and ranching convinced him that the best farming method was nature itself and how he had learned to work with the land instead of against it.
“The farmer was so sure of his insight that he was prepared to reject everything: progress, science and centuries of farming tradition. He was willing to place them all on the altar of his belief, along with the farm itself, for surely he would lose the farm and his entire livelihood if his insight proved to be wrong.
After all, I was on a pilgrimage myself because I too had lost faith in the modern world somewhere along the line, so I wasn’t hostile to him on principle. It was just that he seemed to be questioning the very foundation of the modern world. He seemed to be questioning both the scientific world-view and the idea of progress.”
To be clear, this story isn’t just about farming. Instead, it’s a lesson in conscious creation: learning to turn away from the accepted norms of society to purposely live a self-directed life. Reggio masterfully uses the backdrop of farming to illustrate this point.
“Perhaps I saw only what I wanted to see. The farmer’s idealism and obstinacy were infectious and had blinded me to the truth. I too had wanted to believe that a natural way of farming and a natural way of life were possible. It seemed now that I had to acknowledge to myself that I was so eager to find some reason for optimism, in the world that I was prepared to ignore reality.”
Another big, in-your-face lesson from this book is the idea that nature is not a separate entity that must be fought against, tamed or controlled. James learns, through Fumimoto’s careful explanations, that becoming nature’s ally can lead to not only a healthy, bountiful crop but to a healthy and satisfied spirit as well.
In the end, James learns that he must trust his own personal guidance if he is to succeed in contemporary life. He returns to Oxford with a renewed sense of hope and inspiration and a dream of returning to Japan to see if the farmer’s ideas are fruitful. Years later, he would learn that they had been.
“As I listened to all these tales I was overcome with joy and hope. Here, all around me on the farm, was the living, growing proof that a new life was possible after all and that the path to this new life ran in exactly the opposite direction to the grey road of economic progress. The efforts of science were all unnecessary and only led to spiritual and physical hunger and pain. The evidence was incontrovertible.”
One Day the Shadow Passed is a deceptively complex manuscript. On the surface, it appears to be a book about farming and resonates well with anyone interested in natural food and a return to a simpler form of living. However, the book is also full of self-development and spiritual lessons that are of benefit to anyone on their own spiritual journey. This is a quick read that’s sure to leave readers questioning their own place in the universe and ways in which they can make a difference.
FTC Disclosure notice
I received this copy of the book for free from Hay House Publishing for review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.
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