"Forgiveness gives me a sense of personal freedom, hope, peace, and happiness which I get in no other way," writes Gerald G. Jampolsky, founder of the Center for Attitudinal Healing and author of Love Is Letting Go of Fear. In his anatomy of this key art of the spiritual life, the author discusses its healing powers that work both on a physical (improving immune systems) and a mental level.

Jampolsky, a recovering alcoholic, believes that forgiveness frees us from the imprisoning past and from our own self-judgments. Those who are enslaved to the unforgiving mind of the ego usually suffer the consequences of anxiety, misery, weakness, and despair.

Jampolsky presents 20 reasons why we don't forgive and then proposes some stepping stones to this spiritual practice. "Forgiveness is the shortest route to God" according to the author. An illustration of this is a ritual enacted by a South African tribe where a person who acts unjustly or irresponsibly is told by members of the community all the good things he or she has done during his or her lifetime. Here forgiveness is truly a lifeline that renews body, mind, and spirit. It is a restorative act that can lead to personal renewal.