Sense that is Common
The Question: “There are three main criteria in finding the correct path at the Middle Way. What do you suppose they are?”
Do you suppose that common sense is one of them?
My answer here is yes. Common sense is one of the criteria.
“But how can that be?” One may ask
“Is it not written that few will find the path which is the Middle Way? Does this not contradict the idea that common sense is available to most or all people?”
No it does not. Think now of something else that is common to all people…
Soul and Spirit.
The window of the soul which leads to Spirit is open to all, or common to all, yet few use them to their potential. Even so, when one speaks through the soul the common person is usually touched by an inner stirring even though he has not yet evolved to wield the power himself.
For instance, the greatest display of exuding sense which reached that which was common to all came from Jesus.
The prime example of this were his parables. Unlike many teachers and gurus who speak so obtusely that few can understand, almost all the teachings of Jesus hit a chord of understanding in the hearts of all who have listened or have read his words. Even atheists will quote his words of wisdom.
Take for instance, the story of the Prodigal son. This simple story appealed to sense common to all people and has something in it of value for people on every level.
Then let us look at his basic teachings such as the Golden Rule.
“Whatsoever you will men do unto you, even so do unto them.”
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
“He that is faithful in small things will be faithful in great things.”
Finally one of the greatest examples of common sense is the Lord’s Prayer. It is extremely simple, yet deep and appeals to the common sense of all men and women.
Another person who had great common sense was Abraham Lincoln.
He is one who demonstrated that sense which appeals to the understanding of the average person is a truly rare thing. Perhaps we could say that he had uncommon common sense.
He grew up in the prairie of Illinois, split logs with the best of them, love to wrestle and tell stories. The common people loved him, but the highly educated and powerful despised him.
Even after he became president many of the educated, the media and his fellow Congressmen called him a simpleton, a buffoon, an ape and thought he was very objectionable because he was always demonstrating his ideas by telling stories they considered unrefined.
Most of those in power and from his own party did not want him elected to a second term, but the people thought differently and put their trust in “honest Abe,” the simple man they could understand.
“You don’t change horses in the middle of the stream” he told them as he was running for his second term in the midst of a war that seemed to go on forever. This and other simple statements that appealed to common sense brought him victory over McClellan, a highly educated man, a darling of the media who spoke with fancy educated words.
His Gettysburg address rivals the Lord’s prayer for profoundness and simplicity. When he spoke of a government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” he spoke to the common soul of all people.
Even so, it is with us. If we want to find the Middle Way we must tune into that common sense which is within us all and common to us all, yet which is also hidden from many of us because of our dogmas and illusions which force us toward belief systems which have no appeal to common sense or logic of any kind.
There is a sense of what is right as far as direction that is had by the people as a whole in normal times.
The Book of Mormon makes a wise comment on this:
“Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law–to do your business by the voice of the people.
“And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you.” Mosiah 29:26-27
Thomas Jefferson called the voice of the majority a “sacred” principle that should always be honored.
The problem most of us have in not using common sense to unlock the door of the soul is that we do not apply it to all areas of our lives. For instance, a person may use common sense principles in his business and have great success, yet let all reason fly out the window in his relationships or with his religion.
We talked about blind spots earlier and we all know the neighborhood or family genius who spellbinds us with wisdom in a certain area, but then in other areas he seems to have the intelligence of a slug.
He who finds the path in the middle learns to eliminate the blind spots and illusions and to apply common sense to all areas of life, instead of part. When the wholeness of his or her life makes sense then the Path in the Middle appears before his eyes.
So what are the two other ingredients that take us to the Middle Way.
Let us put together an important second ingredient by commenting of these two phrases:
“Follow the highest that you know.”
Keep your mind steady in the light.
How do these two statements work together to lead us to that straight and narrow path in the middle?
Sept 28, 2000
Copyright by J J Dewey
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