In pursuit of spiritual discovery, let’s take a look at a couple of four letter words. Of course, THE four-letter word, the F-word, is a word so Bad that we need another word to describe it. When we say the F-word everybody knows what we mean. Moreover, we all know the word itself (the word we mean when we say “the F-word”), says exactly what it means, while at the same time we all know that besides what it means, it also can mean “Oh, no,” or “This is the last straw,” or “Why did this happen to me?,” or a bunch more. It can mean exactly what we want it to.

Most English-speaking persons wouldn’t deny those truths about the F-word.

Hell has become way too touristy. There's even a gift shop now! Image courtesy of Max Schoenfeld via wikimedia.org

The four-letter word, soul, tells a vastly different story, a story of confusion, unease, and sometimes animosity. When I use the word “soul” I mean a part of ourselves that is connected to, but at the same time separate from, the physical human body. I believe the “I” is the soul more than the body is. I believe that the soul (eternal) moves on after the body dies, but I don’t believe that the souls of the evil (you know who you are) will burn eternally in hell. In my universe, I think it’s highly likely that the soul of each of us is reincarnated in the bodies of fresh humans.

This is only a model I use to express my feelings, thoughts, and intuitions from the perspective of this human existence. The model may change as my experience does. Words are an imperfect medium, at best, to describe it.

Not a Sole Worth Saving. Image courtesy of mikecogh via flickr.com

We are most likely at the place where differentiation begins on the part of some readers. Some folks are probably uncomfortable with the notion that someone, someone else, isn’t going to burn in hell, and some are probably uncomfortable that I’ve even used the word “soul” in the first place. I’m sure some can in no way conceive that this body that they identify with so strongly is not as much the “self” as is the soul. Some may have left almost immediately, or sooner, because in their minds “soul” implies “religion” and is therefore meaningless, unless used in conjunction with music or cooking.

I often write with a multiple take-your-pick variety of words like, the All-That-Is, the Universe, God, the Source, the unconscious, the Witness, and Spirit, hoping that all readers will find one of the words acceptable, and that their offense at the remainder will be overwritten. The opposite could very well occur, with everyone clinging to the offensiveness of at least one of the choices. I picture the lot of you scurrying away in a cloud of dust, like an animation, gesturing and condemning my errant beliefs while bickering over the differences between each of yours, only united by that cloud of dust.

I hope we can find a better unity than that. It’s why I write this stuff in the first place. Let’s make a deal to respect everyone’s beliefs, including our own. Let’s say when I write “soul” you see it as the S-word, and like the F-word take it to mean whatever you want it to.