I believe that any inquiry that means to address questions of personal spirituality is one that talks about such things as our beliefs and ideas about ourselves and our world, and which questions our assumptions about such things. It needs to discuss the content of our character and the nature of our values, the quality of our relationships and the rationale of our opinions. There is no religion or spirituality in this book, therefore, and I don’t want your money. I will allow myself to make use of the words of religious men only if I believe those words are wise and true, and relevant to our discussion. I prefer people that think about things to those than just have faith in them. There is not much of what may commonly be described as spirituality in any case, if “spirituality” is taken as a generic term to mean esoteric and ethereal matters of consciousness and spirit. I won’t propose any grand pseudo-scientific theories nor embellish the prose with any fabulous poetic imagery. I have strived to make the text non-polemic, conversational and questioning, and tried to make everything relatively simple to understand and easy to relate to. If it isn’t, that is my fault, not yours. What I hope you will find in these pages is a dedicated and focused application of the mind on those challenges and difficulties in living life which trouble us all, to varying degrees.

The nature of this inquiry is a modest and imprecise thing. It is not codified as a set of rules, nor glamorous enough to be deemed worthy of a name or a title. It is as inherently imperfect and inconsistent as I am as a person, because I am quite sure that it contains many incongruities and contractions. I apologise for that. It is characterised, I suppose, by a simplicity and directness that is practically applicable in my daily life. It demands an unflinching honesty and willingness to acknowledge the worst aspects of my character, and an application and a dedication to the simple hard work that is required to do something about it.

I readily admit that it is a particularly personal spirituality. Its nuances and methods, its opinions and credos, are defined by a specificity that grapples with those challenges that are unique to me and my challenges. What are recognisably general principles, as you will soon see, are what I hope most would agree are those very best human qualities that are desirable in us all. Nevertheless, it is important to restate that any conclusions made or summaries drawn are not a Theory of the World. It is a Theory of Nicholas. As such, it does not describe universal truths or answers correct in all cases that are immediately relevant, applicable or (even) correct for you and your life. It’s not about you, it’s about the only thing I really have any expertise to talk about; me.