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Excerpted from Forgiveness: The Greatest Healer of All by Jerry Jampolsky. Copyright 1999 by Jerry Jampolsky. Excerpted by permission of Beyond Words Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"Forgiveness can be learned at any age and by anyone."

  Jerry Jampolsky, Forgiveness, Part 3

At its worst, we hear the ego in our minds saying that it is impossible to experience happiness for long, so we had better be able to turn to the physical reality for our true and lasting happiness. Eventually, things will fall apart. Something is sure to go wrong. Someone or something will intrude on our happiness. So we'd better be on the lookout for the person who is to blame. The ego's advice is to become a faultfinder, to make certain we are always right and the other person is always wrong.

Ultimately, our happiness or unhappiness actually is measured by the degree to which we accept the advice of our egos. Think about what happens whenever we judge other people, hold grievances in our mind, or cling to blame and guilt. What we feel at such times blocks us from experiencing love, peace, and happiness. Our feelings of unhappiness are magnified and we become faultfinders, probing our world for circumstances or people who might be to blame for our unhappiness.

Forgiveness is a transformational process. In a heartbeat, we can let go of the externally based paradigm that says we must look outside ourselves for true happiness. With a simple change of mind, we can release ourselves from the ego's conviction that to be safe we must believe in our victimhood and act defensively. With a shift of perspective, we can stop seeking other people or things outside ourselves to blame for our unhappiness. We can embrace our true spiritual essence and instantly find that this has always been our source of love and peace and happiness. It is never more than a heartbeat away, and it is free for the asking.

Forgiveness can be learned at any age and by anyone, regardless of their present belief system, the past they have experienced, or the way they have treated others around them.

A Model for Forgiveness

Several years ago, my wife, Diane, and I met a remarkable woman by the name of Andrea de Nottbeck. We became acquainted with her through a most unusual phone call from a person in Switzerland, who told us that a woman who lived there had a painting she wanted to give us. The woman was ninety-three years old at the time and was very healthy. While she had given most of her wealth to philanthropic organizations, she still had one material possession to give away before she died. It was a thirteenth century painting of Jesus Christ.

Feeling perplexed about who should get the painting when she died, Andrea had gone out to the mountains to meditate on it. After a few moments, she had gotten the message "Love Is Letting Go of Fear." The painting, she decided, should go to Jerry Jampolsky, the author of the book by this title, which is about the ways that we prevent ourselves from loving. And so she had her friend call me in the States.

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