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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.

"Our egos send us the message that we live in an unfair world where we will be victims if we arenít constantly on the alert."

  Jerry Jampolsky, Forgiveness, Part 2

Pretty soon we are on a psychological treadmill, going round and round in an endless circle, disappointed and unhappy because neither money and material things nor our relationships are making us happy. We have moments, but they seem too fleeting. We may begin to feel trapped by life. But what, we may ask, is the alternative?

What is this part of ourselves that keeps us seeking outside ourselves? Can we even name it? It is the part of us which believes that our true identity is limited to our bodies and personality self. It is the part of us which sneers at any suggestion that our true essence is that we are spiritual beings living for a time in these bodies.

I like to use the term ego to describe the part of us that is so concerned with externals. The ego tries to justify its presence in our lives by saying that it is only looking after our better interests, that our bodies need it to stick around or we are going to accidentally step out in front of a speeding truck or forget to feed ourselves or protect ourselves from all the dangers that are in the world. Our egos would have us believe that anyone who doesn't think that money can buy happiness doesn't know where to shop.

Again and again, our egos send us the message that we live in an unfair world where we will be victims if we arenít constantly on the alert. Our egos are quite happy when we become convinced of our victimhood, because then we hand our power over to them. The last thing our egos would want us to believe is that we have a choice-that we can choose not to be victims, that we can, in fact, choose love rather than fear, that we can choose to forgive rather than hold on to our embitterments, grudges, and judgments.

It is easy to see how the ego interprets happiness, love, and peace of mind as its enemies, for when we are enjoying these states of being, we are experiencing our spiritual essence. We are seeing a world that is very different from the one our egos furnish us. Forgiveness is easy when we look at the world through the eyes of love, since it is then clear that the answers we have been seeking all of our lives can be found here and not in the ego's beliefs in the externals of life.

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