April 17

Today's quotation:

Common sense is the fundamental factor in all spiritual disciplines.  No rule is an eternal rule.  Rules change from place to place, time to time and from one condition to another condition.

Sivananda

Today's Meditation:

I've made it one of my goals in life to always follow common sense as much as I'm able.  I think that part of this goal comes from having work in educational settings for so long, and seeing so many people who try to analyze, interpret, and quantify everything--but still being no more successful than the person who uses common sense for problem solving and creating.  There's a lot of value in education, of course, but some of us get lost in over-intellectualizing, and we lose touch with common sense, one of our greatest gifts.

When we learn to do things by rules, we very often get so caught up in those rules that we follow them even when doing so can be destructive.  I've driven on roads that have been terribly icy on the side I'm on, but clear on the other side.  The rules tell me that I should stay on my side, but common sense says that I should be safe and drive on the opposite side, as long as no other cars are coming.  I know many people who wouldn't even consider driving on the "wrong" side of the road, even when there's no traffic there at all.  I get on that side as soon as I can simply because it makes sense.

Spiritually, too, it's important that we follow common sense.  We see a lot of people make claims about God and spirit that make little sense at all, but since they're "religious" people, we listen to them.  It makes no sense at all to me that any pastor or preacher should have a private jet for any reason--and common sense tells me to avoid that particular brand of "religion."  People are always quick to tell me what I should believe or what I should do, but if their words contradict common sense, then it's important that I weigh their advice carefully.

There are those who say that common sense isn't very common these days, and they have a valid point.  We get so caught up in making decisions and explaining everything using logic and information that we often lose the ability to just say, "What's the best thing to do here?"  Sometimes the answer to that question can't be the result of an equation, and sometimes it isn't following the rules.  But in our hearts we know the best things to do, and common sense is one of our best friends if we but use it.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many of us always follow rules instead of common sense?

How might we go about learning how to trust our common sense?

Think of a time when common sense seemed to contradict logic.  What course did you follow?  How did things turn out?

For further thought:

To act with common sense, according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy, to do one's duties, take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one's lot, bless the goodness that has given us so much happiness with it, whatever it is, and despise affectation.

Horatio Walpole
  

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