Thursday, May 25, 2006

Spiritual Will & Ethical Will: Are They Different?

An ethical will has sometimes been called a "spiritual-ethical" will because it often has content which focuses on both your values and your life spirit. In my legacy work, I make a distinction between an "ethical" will and a "spiritual" will when a person intends to make the central focus of the document their journey of faith or religious journey rather than primarily focusing on their values and life lessons.

If you'd like to write a "spiritual will", I suggest you start with the questions that Kathleen Dowling Singh -- author of the superb book The Grace in Dying -- offered in her PBS interview with Bill Moyers in his series, "On Your Own Terms". Here's a link to an article based on their interview:

Taking A Spiritual Inventory

While some of the questions in this "spiritual inventory" could also be used in an ethical will, I think many of them allow you to go to a deeper level -- to the essence of your life spirit.

Another source for starting a spiritual will is Ten Eternal Questions by Zoe Sallis. She offers these 10 questions for your consideration (and provides answers from people like Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama, and many others who she interviewed for the book):

1. What is your concept of God?

2. Do you think this life is all there is, or do you believe in an afterlife?

3. Do you accept the concept of karma, in the sense of cause and effect?

4. What is you moral code, in relation to right and wrong?

5. Do you believe you have a destiny, and do you see yourself as here to fulfill it?

6. What has life taught you so far?

7. What advice or words of wisdom would you life to pass on to those close to you?

8. Do you believe our survival on planet Earth is being threatened?

9. Who do you most admire in this world, historical or living?

10. How do you find peace within yourself?

I would include questions 6, 7, and 9 in writing an ethical will while the others I consider more helpful for a spiritual will.

So are a "spiritual will" and an "ethical will" any different? Is making a distinction important or not? Perhaps, only in the mind of the writer (only this writer?) ... or the reader. Let me know what you think (click on "comments" below).

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Anonymous said...

Super color scheme, I like it! Good job. Go on.

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