Hello, welcome to my website and thank you for visiting. I'm Tony Wilkinson, the author of The Lost Art of Being Happy: Spirituality for Sceptics whose cover you can see at the side. It's a book about why your inner life is the key to living happily and what you might do about it.
If you are curious (but it's fine if you aren't!) here are a few details about me. I was born and raised in the North of England, studied sciences and philosophy at Cambridge University, spent a few years working for the UK government and then pursued a twenty year career in finance in the City of London, becoming director of a major investment management company. In the last forty years I’ve also studied meditation, psychology, religions and aikido, all of which influence the book. I'm married with a growing extended family and currently live near Leicester.
Everyone is interested in being happy, in fact it's probably one of the few ambitions which is universal to our species. We are constantly encouraged to believe that we have to achieve, acquire or consume to be happy. But that is so far from being the full story it isn't even the major part of it.
Living happily depends mainly on your inner life, the conscious world of your thoughts, emotions, beliefs desires etc. It's a matter of inner peace, peace of mind, peace in the heart. But your inner life in turn is largely based on patterns or habits, the ways you react to what goes on around you. So your happiness depends on these habits. You can't always control what happens in the world around you. You can't even control how you react inwardly to what happens - your inner habits dictate your reaction. But you are not powerless. If you learn to pay attention to your inner life you can over time shape the way your inner habits work. By training and changing these habits you can live with more serenity and peace of mind.
This is the crucial idea of the book. Happiness depends on cultivating inner peace - cultivate inner peace and you don't need to seek happiness, it will find you. So inner peace depends on skills which can be strengthened by practice. It's an ancient idea, but somehow it repeatedly gets lost. The book shows how this idea is relevant, indeed vital, for our lives today.
Focusing on inner peace also offers a way to base personal values on a criterion which is rational, natural (not supernatural) and independent of passing whims or desires: real human values This theme has extraordinarily wide implications which are being more fully developed in a forthcoming book, including political values which replace conventional values of left and right based on economics.
If you have any comments I would be really pleased to hear from you at the address at the foot of the page. To prevent spam it's not a link and you can't click on it, you have to copy or type the address into your emailer - sorry, but please don't let it put you off! Other people have posted reviews on Amazon's page for the book (follow the "buy the book" link), where you can read what they think or add your own opinion.
In other bad news, it seems that for technical reasons I can no longer post to the blog pages. This will be fixed but it awaits a much larger overhaul of the site. Apologies.