How Common is Common Sense

Common sense is something all of us are endowed with, yet it often seems to be in short supply. As the pace of the world increases, it seems that common sense is becoming increasingly uncommon, and many of us are guilty of not applying it at times when it is most needed.

Common sense is an instinctive, appropriate response to every day events that helps make life simpler and smoother. In order to have common sense one does not need to have specialized knowledge or be super intelligent; it’s simply an innate understanding of how to behave, what to do, when and how to do it, and doing it in the right place and time. It’s a natural and automatic response to a situation, not something that needs to deliberated over.

Take things on personal level: How many times do you find yourself not applying common sense and doing clumsy things like picking up a hot pan without using oven mitts, or speeding when road signs state, for a very good reason, that you should be driving at 30 or 40. Or, lighting a cigarette, which you have just taken from a packet that tells you clearly that it is killing you! Dropping a banana skin on the pavement is not good common sense: picking it up before someone slips on it, is!

Where is our awareness when we make these common-but-sensless choices? We condemn the hot pan on the stove, or the child on the street at the time of speeding, but seldom take responsibility for our own actions. It’s not so much a sign of losing our mind; it is misusing our mind, and not being in control of our thoughts. The reasons may be carelessness, laziness, lack of attention, to name just a few. But the real root cause is a lack of awareness. We need to work mindfully and not mindlessly.

Not only that, but the world seems to be losing collective common sense. For example, as people were recently meeting in the world climate change conference COP19 in Warsaw, scientists in New Zealand were discovering proof that the weakening of the earth’s crust following a massive earthquake, was due to climate change. Researchers also claim that Typhoon Haiyan which destroyed the Island of Tacloban in the Philippines recently, also happened for the same reasons.

Have we become so selfish and blind to the outcome of our actions, that we are unable to see the cause and effect taking place right in front of our very eyes? How much proof do we need to realize that damaging Mother Earth to this extent is like committing our own suicide. Do we realize that our future depends on the choices we make at every moment?

The reason that we don’t have access to our own common sense is because we are so preoccupied with people and events – who said what to whom, what happened and why, thoughts of doubt and confusion, regrets of the past and worries about the future – that we forget to live in the present moment. We are always somewhere else with our mind.

In order to tap into my own inner wisdom am I aware? Am I living in the present moment and ready to respond to the next moment with calmness and composure, or is my mind in a thousand different places?

What is needed here is spiritual intelligence. If I become internally quiet then I can access my inner wisdom. Common sense is common because we all have it; we just need to reconnect with it.

It’s time… to be aware of the moment and to apply common sense to our daily lives. As the turmoil in the world increases, let us be mindful and not mindless and emerge our innate spiritual wisdom. Live in the moment and you will know exactly what to do when.
Mahesh Bhatt

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