Author: Gavin Sher
I am often fascinated by the way words have layers of meaning that may not be immediately apparent and that often take on a life of their own, as they are stretched by usage and time.
In its modern usage, ‘common sense’ is a kind of basic practical understanding that allows us to navigate day-to-day challenges with ease, yet this usage is quite far from the concept the term initially denoted.
In its origin, the term ‘common sense” referred to an inner sense, which united all the others and produced a feeling of ‘heart knowing’. It was the sense that made sense of the other senses and allowed us access to the truth behind the appearances brought in by the others.
A friend pointed out to me, however, that there is another meaning for ‘common sense’ and with it another concept, which may emerge as we as a collective consciousness evolves our appreciation of our interdependence.
In this sense, ‘common sense’ can be understood as a sense of the common.
This resonated with me very deeply, for it has long been held in spiritual circles that there is a unity of being, whereby all things are connected and inter-twined in one universal tapestry. This core insight has long been confirmed by quantum physics and a similar understanding is becoming prominent in ecology, epigenetics, systems theory and many other fields.
In short, none of us exist in isolation, we all exist in relationship to one another and to all other things. What we do ripples out into the field and affects all other things.
An emerging sense of the common would, as per the original usage of ‘common sense’, tune us into this essential truth that underlies the transient appearances of our day-to-day reality.
A person who possessed ‘common sense’ in this way, would be someone who felt the truth of their innate connection to all things and acted in accordance with it. They would embody the golden rule, to do unto others as one would have done to oneself, with the deep knowing that all things are in fact a part of oneself.
Such a person would honour the earth and all her children, they would care for the people around them and they would care for themselves. They would recognise that the troubles that pervade our societies inevitably encroach upon their personal well-being and would do their best to alleviate them wherever they are able.
Such a person would also have ‘common sense’ in the modern usage for acting in accordance with the truth of reality, and not from a false sense of disconnection, will always lead to more effective and efficient practical solutions to our day-to-day problems.
A person who developed this ‘common sense’ would, in short, be a part of the solution, acting for the highest good of all, not from a sense of duty or learned morality, but from an inner knowing that who they are and what they do matters on a universal scale.
This indeed is the trick, which all true spiritual systems attempt to pull off, to move a person from a head-based conceptual understanding of right action, to a whole-being presence responsive to its inter-relationship with the rest of life and able to harmonise the disparate threads and challenges into a symphony of positive engagement and effect.
It is my wish therefore, that we all are able to evolve and grow our ‘common sense.’