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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.

"We are both the rainbow and the gold."

  Jerry Jampolsky, Forgiveness, Part 1

Consider for a moment that happiness is our natural state of being. At the Center for Attitudinal Healing, where forgiveness is so much a part of everything that we do, we say that the essence of our being is love! 

We learn to look at life from the perspective that we are spiritual beings who are just temporarily in these bodies of ours. When we look upon our lives that way, we also begin to see that love and happiness are inseparable. And what forgiveness teaches us is that it is possible to choose love over fear and peace over conflict regardless of the circumstances affecting our lives.

Before we talk about forgiveness, let's briefly explore the roots of unhappiness. By looking at where unhappiness starts, we can move toward a very different way of looking at the world. A good place to begin this exploration is with that part of us which believes that our happiness lies in external things.

Living in this modern society, as we do, it becomes all too easy to believe that money and the accumulation of material things will make us happy. The trouble is that the more we accumulate, the more we want. No matter how much we get, it almost never seems like enough. Once we begin making choices from this perspective, we fall into the habit of believing that we will eventually find something outside ourselves that will bring us lasting happiness. The fact that this search frequently ends up with our feeling frustrated, angry, unhappy, and even hopeless is our clue that this belief isn't working.

Why is it so difficult for us to see that our search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is only hiding the fact that we are both the rainbow and the gold?

There are so many temptations in the world on which to blame our unhappiness or our lack of money and material things. We look around us and see people with more than we have who seem to be happier than we are. We turn to other people and seek to fill the hole in our souls with our relationships. It may seem like a big jump we are making from seeing more material things as the answer to seeing other people as the answer. But the same part of us which tells us that the answers are to be found in externals also tells us that we should be able to make other people responsible for our happiness. Surely, if we could only find the right person, our lives would be fulfilled!

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