Greedy By Nature

Bird nest watercolors

Bird nest watercolors, Public Domain Photo

One night as I sat watching a nature documentary about some ugly species of bird (from God knows where), I grasped an interesting insight into animal nature. Between the expected images of birds diligently working to provide for themselves and their families, they suddenly cut to footage of a few immoral, yet cunning birds sneaking around, stealing materials from the nests the other birds had spent all day building.

A few small twigs, bits of dried brush, even the edge of a candy bar wrapper – all stolen and used to build their own homes by the sweat of their neighbors’ backs. Soon, these crafty avians sat by their new shelters smugly satisfied to have saved themselves a lot of hard work.

As the clueless working class birds continued to run to and fro, never suspecting the treason occurring every time they turned their back, I suddenly realized that greed isn’t exclusively a human vice…and that some birds can be real jerks.

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The three points of view…in spirituality?

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You probably already know that in writing and narrating there are different points of view. You might have even studied the differences between first, second and third-person point of view. But I found it interesting when I came across a magazine article stating that these points of view apply to our religious or spiritual natures as well. I wanted to share this information in a condensed, easy-to-read format for others, so following is a brief explanation of each “spiritual style”. Hopefully you will have fun reading through and deciding how you personally view things. Most of us probably lean towards one point of view, but carry aspects of the others as well. Although I myself am Christian, I tried to present the information in a way that anyone could relate to, regardless of religious beliefs. If you wish to share your own viewpoint or opinion on the matter, feel free to leave a comment!

First-person POV: Just as in writing, first-person is by far the most personal point of view. As the name implies, with the first-person spiritual POV, you tend to see God or Spirit within yourself. Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism are big on the first-person POV of God, as are many followers of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, especially the more mystical folks. People who favor the first-person POV see God living within them, whether they believe that the Spirit of God is naturally inherent in all living beings or believe that the Holy Spirit physically resides inside believers after conversion. There is often a belief in an “inner Christ”, “inner Buddha” or other spiritual presence within. Some people are really wary of the first person spiritual POV because they fear it could be seen as a type of self-worship.

Second-person POV: This POV often uses the pronoun “you” in writing. Typically in this POV you are addressing someone else. So when you think about the second-person POV in regards to spirituality, this would be the common practice of talking to God as a separate entity who is entirely outside of yourself. People who favor this POV often refer to God as “Father”, “Thee”, “Thou”, “Lord”, etc. The basis of this POV is really all about personal relationships and the need to feel connected to someone or something greater than ourselves. This is definitely the POV most used in times of emergency or hardship, when people instinctively call out for help.

Third-person POV: As in writing, the third-person POV is referring to someone or something entirely outside of yourself and normally not very intimate either. It is looking at something from a distance and being able to analyze or logically study things. Some may think that people who favor this POV aren’t spiritual at all, because they don’t necessarily “sound” spiritual or religious, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in anything. These are the people who look at nature and see God or spirituality present there. They also may look at science or the arts and marvel at the wonders of design and creativity present there. Many people who crave spiritual connection but have been turned off by traditional religions tend to favor the third-person POV. Of course, even those who follow a strict religious form may still see God reflected in creation or other amazing parts of life.

So…which type do you think you favor? Personally, I think I favor the second-person POV because I crave that personal relationship with someone greater than myself. I like having someone fair, loving and all-knowing to talk to at all times. However, I do think that at least a bit of God must exist within all living beings, otherwise, they couldn’t live. I truly do believe the “breath of God” is within all that lives and that the loving Spirit of God can reside within us if we allow it. I also do see the Spirit of God reflected in creation, science and art and marvel at the creativity that exists within the creator and the creation. So as you can see, many of us are a combination of all three styles, but I still find it interesting to think about. I hope you do too.