One Day the Shadow Passed (Book Review)

One Day the Shadow Passed by Jonathan Reggio

One Day the Shadow Passed by Jonathan Reggio

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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The value of doing nothing

If I were in kindergarten, I would be crying. I was losing a real-world game of hide and seek and time was running out. Instead of looking for someone, however, I was looking for something. In this case, the right words to a book review I was trying to write for my blog. The words simply didn’t want to be found.

I put off the task for several days, hoping that my creative subconscious would work on the project while I attended to that little thing called life. I dutifully kept my normal schedule: work, chores, cooking and walking the dog, hoping I could sit down and knock out the review once it had time to brew in the back of my mind.

The longer I put it off, however, the harder it became. So I sat down, determined to write something—anything—to get started and still, the words would not come. What did appear was a realization that my creative block was deeper than it seemed on the surface. I wasn’t blocked; I was unmotivated, toward writing and toward life itself.

I could hypothesize all kinds of reasons for my lack of motivation: I had a busier than usual fall, working on a big writing project, wading through rivers of projects at work and dealing with a lot of personal change. Yes, all of these things can take a toll on the human spirit and they certainly did with mine. Yet a little voice kept nagging me to stop complaining, get moving, get writing and get on with my life.

After meditating, I decided to ignore that little voice. I poured myself a cup of coffee, sat down and did absolutely nothing for several hours.

Whose voice is that anyway?

The reason for ignoring the little voice in my head was simple: it was my ego. As he’s prone to do, my ego was feeling anxious about not completing the writing project. Hard work, attention to detail and deadlines are the handmaidens of the ego and he wanted to make sure I didn’t forget it.

It took me a few days to recognize the voice of the ego, but there were a few tell tale signs that helped me make a positive identification. Repeatedly, I was hearing a lot of “should” and “need to” statements coming from the voice. Things like, “you should really finish that book review,” or “You really need to be doing something with your blog,” or “You shouldn’t be slacking off right now.” I grew irritated with the voice.

The ego wants us to move forward, work and make sure that we are living up to the standards set by society, our families and our responsibilities. The ego doesn’t see the benefit of slacking off; instead, he takes us to task on completing our to-do lists.

After a little introspection, I was more than happy to ignore the ego this time.

Following impulses

Impulses toward action are a wonderful thing. Impulses come to us from deep in the soul and inner self, urging us to move in the direction of our fondest goals and desires. We tend to be distrustful of impulses, however, because they frequently seem foreign to the rational mind. When we don’t understand an impulse intellectually, we tend to dismiss it and miss an excellent opportunity for growth.

So if following impulses is a good thing, why was I having the impulse to do nothing? Why was my psyche telling me to sit one out, regroup, and let the world move on by for a few days? And why was I fighting it?

Inaction as action

This may be hard to digest, but the act of “doing nothing,” is actually “doing something.” We have simply conditioned ourselves to believe that we must constantly work toward some arbitrary goal or we’ll fail miserably at life.

While the intellect views inaction as wrong or lazy, the spirit looks at inaction as:

  • Replenishing the body and spirit
  • Allowing the inner self to come up with fabulous new ideas
  • Giving the universe the space and time to arrange details in our favor
  • Arranging events that are more advantageous or avoiding situations that are harmful

When to accept “doing nothing”

I won’t argue that it’s hard to accept “doing nothing” as a much-needed part of daily living. It’s easier to accept this notion on vacation and even then, “doing nothing” seems suspect. How do you know when it’s okay to do nothing?

Generally, it’s best to discover whether you’ve got the impulse to do nothing or if you are instead trying to avoid doing something. I’m referring here to procrastination, where the urge to “do nothing” or the urge to “do absolutely anything but” something is key. Procrastination is avoidance and you probably have a whole handful (or mindful) of reasons why you don’t want to do something.

Sit down, get quiet for a few moments and let go of thought. You’re trying to feel your way through this exercise. Let your body talk to you through feeling (emotional or physical) and intuition. What kinds of things do you discover?

When I did this exercise, I felt a slight fatigue in my body; but, more than anything, I had the urge to sit in my favorite chair. I didn’t feel the urge to read or write. There was no impulse to surf the Internet. My body told me it only wanted to sit and be still for a while. For how long, I didn’t know.

It did take a few hours for my ego to stop whining about my inactivity. I reassured him constantly about the benefits of this new plan and how much better life would be in the long run. After I truly gave in and relaxed into inactivity, I could feel a shift in my energy and in my enthusiasm.

Accepting the impulse toward inaction is important. It’s not the norm in society and your friends, family members and coworkers may chastise you for it. Your own ego may chastise you as well. However, it’s in the fighting of the impulse to do nothing where energy gets blocked and problems appear.

Reality Challenge™

Doing nothing can be a scary proposition. It can also be one of the most fulfilling things your soul can experience. This week, I invite you to look for–to feel for–times when your spirit is telling you to slow down and take a break. The same holds true for your body, as the impulse to rest is equally as important to the body as it is the spirit.

If you identify the impulse to do nothing, accept it. Remind your ego that you’re trying something new and to stop whining. Allow yourself the luxury to do nothing, at least as much as you can without “have to” responsibilities. Try it and feel for a shift. Your spirit may thank you.