We were driving to visit friends over a holiday weekend, and, as is often the case, I couldn’t stop thinking about a certain fear that has consumed me for much of my adult life. These negative thoughts, as I’ve come to observe, typically lead to negative results. 

Fortunately for me, I had just finished reading The Lighthouse Keeper: A Story of Mind Mastery by David Richards (BookBaby), a charming tale of a boy in search of purpose and meaning that is chock full of lessons. I was about to put one of those lessons to the test.

For young Sam, like me, “spent more time focusing on his fears and inadequacies” to the point of making them seem real in his view of things. I was about to change my thought patterns on this very ride – or at least start the process – and understand, like Sam eventually did, who is the master of one’s fate.

Says author Richards, a firewalker, yoga teacher and life strategist among other things, “Success. Happiness. Love. Joy. These are things we all want. But sometimes, we sabotage ourselves from achieving them. We tell ourselves stories to justify their elusiveness. None of the stories are true, unless we feed them.”

“We are so caught up in the external world, we think that’s where our journey is. And there are external signs. But the journey is an internal one. It’s a journey to master our minds and ultimately, ourselves.”

A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

The lessons are presented in a wonderful story about Sam, helping to run the family farm with his father but recognizing this is not the life he wants. His father arranges for Sam to learn a new trade by becoming an apprentice at a lighthouse.

Sam meets the lighthouse keeper, Armand, a recluse with patterns and habits, and, as we come to see, a man of wisdom.  He first instills the importance of focus in the simple task of sweeping the lighthouse steps. He reprimands Sam for taking 43 minutes to complete the mundane task when the job could take 10 minutes if the mind is properly channeled.

Sam comes to appreciate Armand’s lessons about the lighthouse and life and eventually urges the mentor to continue his conversational teachings.  This apparent healthy learning comes to a point when Armand suddenly shoves Sam off the edge of the lighthouse and into the waters of an uncharted fantasy journey. Sam is confronted by many things, most notably a younger version of himself whom he calls Joseph (Sam’s middle name).

In a journey through his past and present reminiscent of A Christmas Carol minus the miserly bad behavior of a Scrooge, Sam comes to an understanding of the phobias he has carried with him through life. One in particular is the guilt he feels over the death of his mother – a belief that is washed away in one of the story’s aha moments.

Readers immediately pick up on Richards’ poetic writing style and ability to beautifully capture scenes, ones so simple as son and father waking to the sounds of a farm, the smell of breakfast, and contemplation of the day’s routines.

By creating the story of Sam in all its wonder, Richards’s revelations of universal truths and meditative messages are able to break through gently. 

Says Krista Xiomara, author of The Alchemy of Kindness, “This story sits easily in the company of other literary giants such as The Alchemist, Life of Pi, and Shantaram.” 

As for the demons I am attempting to confront on my own journey, I have a way to go. But The Lighthouse Keeper is a true inspiration. And I am reminded of what Sam felt when he was shoved off the lighthouse: “Now he was on the water, ostensibly his mind, rowing back to himself. With his mind his only passenger.”

Think about the purpose of the lighthouse – to look out for ships that might be in trouble. “It was a novelty Sam had never considered, turning off the light to see better, but it made sense.” Go figure.

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A firewalker, yoga teacher, life strategist and corporate executive, David Richards is author of Whiskey and Yoga: Find Your Purpose. He is a champion for inclusion and diversity in the workplace and honorably served his country as an Officer of Marines during the Operations Desert Storm and Restore Hope. He lives in North Carolina.