My buddie Jonathan Robinson has written a very good book, that you will want to read in 2014. I liked it so much, I offered to write the foreword. Here is what I wrote:
Find Happiness Now
Foreword by Arjuna Ardagh
If I was considering taking some time to read a book about “finding happiness,” one of the first things I would want to know ishow happy is the author?’ Is this just another of the thousands of self help books churned out each year expounding the latest theory of the Seven Steps to a Perfect You? Or will this actually help you; will you find something refreshingly real and honest, something relevant to your life?
I have known Jonathan Robinson for more than fifteen years. We have been on many road trips and adventures. We were in the same men’s group for more than five years. We know each others’ wives and families. I have seen Jonathan in his peak moments of triumph, as well as his most humiliating moments of defeat, and I have watched him learn and grow with humility.From these fifteen years, I want to tell you here about the man himself, and then you can judge if his book is worthy of your precious time.
In this book, Jonathan will tell you that happiness is not always to be found in the external acquisition of things and money, as we have often been told it is. So, is he living this theory in his own life? He is one of the few people I know who has actually earned enough money to retire through writing books and teaching seminars. But I also know that he lives with Zen like simplicity. He lives with his wife Kirsten and his golden retriever Sophie in a rented house in the countryside, smaller than 1000 square feet. He gives away a large percentage of his income every year to various charities. They live very modestly, and yet every time I see him he exudes excited gratitude for all that he has.
Jonathan will also tell you that happiness has much more to do with how much you help and give to other people than what you try to get for yourself. I have witnessed his generosity with friends and people in need, for example paying for a friends’ expensive medical treatment. Almost every time he comes over to our house, Jonathan brings some small gift, usually with the now familiar words “I thought you might get a kick out of this….”
Jonathan will invite you to use small techniques, most of which take only a few minutes a day, as a gentle discipline to shift into habits of happiness. He has gently guided me to use some of these tools myself, and they have worked. Each and every one of the things he will ask you to do, he has done himself over many years. Everything you read here has been road-tested in his own life.
He will also remind you of the importance of creating real and connected relationships in your life. Not only does Jonathan put a lot of attention on the quality of his own marriage, but he also places almost as much value on his friendships as well. Luckily for me and the other people who know him, Jonathan takes very good care of people. He seeks out ways to create real connection, to dive deeper together than the usual “Howeryadoing, bud…Err, Fine” that we can all so easily fall into.When you hang with him, he asks a lot of questions with real interest and curiosity.
But most important, in this small book, Jonathan will ask you to give him the benefit of the doubt, and to return to beginners mind. It’s not an easy place for some of us, especially when we have read a few books(and even written a few as well.) He will ask you to look at things with fresh eyes. And it is this quality that I like the most about my friend. Actually, it is how we met. I was giving a lecture at the International Conference on Science and Consciousness back in the 1990s, about the importance of tailor-made spiritual practice. He stood up, and asked me to suggest a practice for him. Right there, in front of a few hundred people he laid out his challenges and weak spots for everyone to see, and asked for help, as a beginner. When I found out later that he was a best selling author, who had been on Oprah a bunch of times, I thought to myself, this is my kind of a guy. He is more interested in being a learner than a knower.
As you will discover in the next few pages, Jonathan’s willingness to constantly learn, and grow, and explore, is infectious. He will meet you as a friend, with respect and kindness and a genuine care for your well-being.
So there you have it. If you are interested in finding happiness for real, from someone who cares more about the truth of things than expounding a pet theory, or making some extra cash from you, you are in good hands. You are in excellent hands, in fact, so read on with confidence.
I am going to pass you over to those good hands now, and I wish you happy experimenting in Finding Happiness for real.
Founder of Awakening Coaching and author of several books including Better than Sex and The Translucent Revolution.