Common Sense – True Medicine

by Anne Malatt and Paul Moses, Australia. 

Anne: I’ve always wondered about the term common sense.

We all use the words:

  • “It’s just common sense!”
  • “Use your common sense!”
  • “She has no common sense!”
  • “Common sense is not very common” as the saying goes – but is that true? I feel there is more to it than we commonly understand.

What does common sense mean to you?

Paul: I too have wondered about that and I looked it up in the dictionary, and the words are derived from the Latin sensus communis meaning ‘feeling in common’.

The word sensus means a sense, a feeling we have in our whole body, not just a thought we have in our minds.

The word communis means something that we all share and have access to, equally so, no matter who we are.

So common sense is a communal thing, the feeling we all share, that we all have in common.

Anne: So common does not mean low, stupid or less than in some way, but brings us to equality and shared values. It transcends all the barriers we have put between us – gender, age, colour, race, religion, nationality, culture – and brings us back to the truth, that we all share a knowing we have in common. Having common sense does not make us ‘common’, or a ‘commoner’, in the commonly used sense of the word, but makes us part of a community.

Paul: So in practical terms, what are we talking about?

Anne: Well, it’s common sense to know that when we feel tired, we should rest, and if it is in the evening, maybe even go to bed!

Yet how many of us actually do that? How many of us go to bed by 8 to 9 pm, when our bodies start to wind down, and we are falling asleep in the chair in front of the TV anyway?

What do we do instead? We over-ride this feeling – this common sense – with stimulation. We turn up the sound on the TV; we go and get a drink, a cup of tea, coffee or cake/chocolate/sugar of some sort. This kick-starts us, so we can stay up longer than our bodies actually want to, we get over-tired, and then when we finally decide to go to bed, we cannot sleep, because of all that sugar/caffeine/adrenaline running through our veins!

Paul: We all do this, don’t we – no matter who we are or where we live.

And what about eating? Common sense tells us, with the feeling we have after eating – be it racy, lethargic, bloated, dull – whether the food we have eaten suits us or not, yet we continually disregard that feeling and we never question the energy we are in which leads us to keep on choosing those same foods.

Isn’t it common sense to know when we have eaten enough? We all know that feeling and yet we override it all the time – we take no notice and just keep on eating. If we eat more food than we need, the excess food is reflected in excess weight in us.

Anne: And if we put on weight eating certain foods, we know we are not going to lose it if we keep eating the same foods that made us fat!

Paul: Common sense tells us this, yet we keep searching for the perfect diet and exercise plan in magazines. These diets and plans offer unrealistic expectations that don’t stand up in everyday life.

Anne: Yet how many of us complain about our excess weight and the fact that it is not going anywhere, while we sit and have a drink and eat some chips or cake, to try and not feel the fact that we feel bad about ourselves?

And it is common sense to know that if we drink 12 beers in one evening, we will wake up dehydrated – after a “sleep” where we tossed and turned and had to get up to pee – with a furry tongue, foul taste in our mouths, thick head, craving for fatty foods, and feeling cranky, yet seriously thinking about having another drink. Why do we ever have more than one hangover? What drives us to do this to ourselves, over and over again?

Paul: Common sense is definitively a knowing – not a knowledge-based thing – which also explains why it transcends all belief barriers. So knowing all that common sense offers, why do we not live that? Why do we choose to over-ride it, knowing the repercussions?

Anne: Yes, the way we are living is making us sick, as people and as a society. Illness and disease rates are rising; we are increasingly dependent on stimulants, medications, alcohol, drugs, entertainment – anything to help us not feel how we truly are, and the consequences of the choices we are making.

Paul: Historically, we did have and did practise common sense; otherwise, we would not have the words for it, i.e. sensus commmunis.

Anne: It was known and practised by the ancients, but somewhere between Plato and Aristotle we reduced this knowing that comes from our bodiesa feeling that we all shared, to knowledge, that was attributed to our minds, and held more by some than others, in separation to the whole.

Paul: Common sense was demeaned further in the Dark Ages, when the simple truth and knowing that comes from the body and is available to all, was made complex and obscure, and overridden by the doctrine of religion. All the major religions tell us what to eat and when we can eat, teaching us to over-ride what the body actually needs.

Common sense has been demeaned by Religion through its dogma, and Science has created a complexity around understanding, where things can’t be that simple, and Philosophy made it even more obscure. The word common has been twisted to mean something or someone that is of lower standing to the ruling class ­– i.e. commoner – or someone with lower moral values – i.e. they’re common – or that’s just too simple to be the answer. And so there has been a setup of some people thinking they know more than the masses (the ‘common’ people) and the masses going into a lack of confidence in what they truly feel and know.

I feel that we have gone out of our way to squash our feelings, to make them less than the truth.

Anne: Our feelings are very individual – indeed some think that this is what makes us human – but there is a level at which we all feel the same.

This feeling sense comes not from our well known and trusted five senses – which live in the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin – but from our inner heart, the place within where a deeper level of feeling (the so-called sixth sense) resides.

This is the sense we feel first, and then we use our five bodily senses to confirm or override what we have first felt. This sense is not a mystery, but a simple everyday reality, that we just know, that we all feel.

Paul: Common sense is what we know, what we feel to be true, and we all feel this. The only difference between us is how aware we choose to be of it, and how willing we are to use and honour it, or ignore and or over-ride it.

Do we have a responsibility here?

How were we raised as children?

Was our common sense, our knowing living way, cherished and nurtured?

Have we as parents nurtured that common sense, in our selves and in our children, or have we over-ridden it?

Anne: To me, the way we have raised our children has been a direct reflection of how we ourselves have lived, in honouring of our common sense, or not!

When we are young, we look at the way adults are living and it does not make sense to us.

So do we say:

Well, that does not make sense, because I know what feels true in my body, so I will just trust and abide by what I know, and live in a way that honours that.

Or do we say:

There must be something wrong with me – as in I cannot trust my feelings – or there is something wrong with them – and then do we give up on living a true life and use this as an excuse to indulge ourselves in the same, or worse, wayward behaviours?

I remember as a child watching and feeling my parents smoking, drinking and arguing and thinking: “I will never live like that when I grow up”. And yet, as I grew older (I would not call it growing up!) I indulged in exactly the same behaviours, if not worse!

Paul: Yes, I remember feeling trapped in the sadness and loneliness of life growing up, and ended up doing things, like eating and drinking in a way that was not healthy, just to cope with the way I was feeling.

Anne: So if it does not make any sense, why do we do it?

How and why do we choose to ignore it, over-ride it, deliberately go against it?

Paul: Common sense is felt when we are with our whole body, and then we know what is true. But if we separate from the whole of who we are, a part of us can take over and let our thoughts run the show – the part that wants to do it our way, that wants to be individual, that wants to be special, and separate from the whole.

That part says: “I demand the freedom to choose what I want, to do as I please, no matter what” and the desire to smoke is a great example of this, but there are many ways we all do this (and we all know what our ways are!).

Anne: Yes, and if we drink alcohol, for example (which does not make sense, given that it is a poison), we lose our common sense, and sometimes we lose so much of it that we even think we are ok to drive, putting ourselves and everyone else at risk. And when we sober up, we ‘come to our senses’ and feel the full force of the sense-less choices we have made.

Paul: When we honour common sense, we honour ourselves and we also honour everyone around us. When we don’t, we are in disregard, not only of our selves and our own bodies, but of everyone and everything else too.

Our common sense – the feeling in our body – is actually an impulse of truth, a road map, if you like, of our way back to a more simple and loving way of life.

Anne: Common sense brings us back to the truth of our body, and the truth of who we are; the innate qualities of love, stillness, harmony, and joy that are our birthright. It is our way back to the love that we are.

Paul: And not only does it make no sense to override what we know is true to our self and our body, but it also holds us back from the connection that this sense is always offering us, which is what we all deeply crave – to belong to a whole where we share this gift of truth.

To wake to another day having slept a sound sleep of early to bed and early to rise, having eaten what was true for our bodies, not having stimulated our senses or dulled our selves with our particular choice of drug, is to be part of a symphony of rhythm – to see the sun rise, nature in all its glory and what it holds for us, to spend the day with our selves and the people around us is a joy, and the feeling of a sense we all have in common with all of that.

Read more:

  1. Esoteric and Exoteric Philosophy – ‘The Sayings’
  2. Teacher shows how simple ‘common sense’ tools can support staff and students.

807 thoughts on “Common Sense – True Medicine

  1. Anne and Paul you use the word over riding a lot; that we over ride what we feel. We cannot stop feeling so what is it about our feelings that we want to quash or dull by using something to dull or numb or worse try to obliterate ourselves. We all feel the unsettlement of the disconnection to our bodies and our soul and in this disconnection we can and do abuse our bodies in the myriad of ways we have devised to quell the unsettlement which actually can never be quelled as the truth of who we are can never be dulled, hidden, squashed, obliterated. Ask any scientist and they will tell you energy cannot be destroyed and we are a mass of energy. So while on the surface it may seem we can harm ourselves and others in the physical sense, energetically the energy is made up of particles that are the same particles that make up the universe and so we know we are everything the universe is. At some level we know this is the unsettlement we feel and try to run away from.

  2. It is a bit nuts that we allow our common sense to be overridden. For example, we all know that children play naturally, love to do it and have fun. When they are given space to do this they feel open, joyful, are in their bodies and ready to learn. Why then is it that in some parts of education, only after some research and some ‘scientific’ evidence for it has been produced, that it is accepted that children need to be given the opportunity to play in school? Honestly, this defies all common sense to me!

  3. I loved this, conversation about ‘common sense’. It’s not from the intelligence and it is from the heart, we all know this and we have separated far from it. We use this term for granted and from this lack or separation, weird expensive projects, come along to bring us back to this ‘common sense’ and it’s a no wonder they seldom succeed. Or if they succeed, they are only temporary.

    The whole body sense is within us all, are you ready and willing to tap into it or be obedient to it. For when we are obedient, the wisdom will flow to serve you and everyone else around us.

  4. I love common sense and our bodies’ way of sign posting us. And then there is something else that I am exploring at the moment which is the innate intelligent sense we have that considers and plans eventualities and the things we can choose to take care of ourselves and others.

    1. I feel ‘common sense’ has been tarnished so many of us can become entangled in what is “right” or what is “wrong”. The question we need to be asking more is, what is “true”. When we live from here, the world will become a different place to live and be around. What will health services or businesses or anything that serves people, be like when we came from the place of truth. Worth pondering on…

  5. It is a great point – can ‘common sense’ be a commonly held sense that is universal across the board? We think that it’s a set of a rules we adopt ourselves to through our upbringing and societal environment, and we can re-write if our circumstances change, but I get a sense that in truth that is not so.

  6. What a great conversation to share with the world! I had not considered the origins of the expression ‘common sense’ I just knew that it was a sense I deeply valued. We seem to have gone wayward the moment we devalued the word common and put more value on individuality – just for starters!

  7. This is a brilliant conversation uncovering what common sense is and what it is not. The sad thing is that it is something that we undoubtedly all have yet it is knocked out of us all by the way we are brought up. You show how religion, science and philosophy work together to destroy common sense. If religion, science and philosophy were true religion, science and philosophy they of course would not do this, the problem is that have each been bastardised and robbed of their truth.

    1. I agree Doug, ‘religion, science and philosophy’ these three things alone which are considered to have a high authority tell us our common sense cannot be trusted. It’s time to start questioning those in authority!

  8. I love the simple practicality presented, in accepting common sense as a whole body feeling we are able to respond accordingly when we listen and accept the truth of what our body is clearly communicating.

  9. I really get it when you say here that despite what we might believe or tell ourselves, when we abuse or disregard ourselves we are actually harming the common unity and oneness that we all share as human beings together – so our actions are much further reaching than we perhaps allow ourselves to be aware of?

    1. True, we prefer to view everything as unconnected but this is a false view. The fact is everything is connected and everything affects everything else. But to accept this truth would mean having to accept how irresponsibly we are all living.

    2. Yes I really got this as well. We have an opportunity to question where that voice and nudge comes from that means we end up doing something we later come to look at as entirely illogical.

    3. I baulked at this responsibility for a long time but lately I see things differently. My interest is seriously woken up and I am super curious about all that is at play and how things unfold.

  10. There is truly a wealth of wisdom here, examining common sense in such detail is so supportive, it could truly be every human being’s foundation for life. I like how you point out that this sense we have in common of what is true or not is something we all equally have, yet we may choose to dull our awareness of it, or deny what we sense. I know I have had periods where I felt my common sense of something, yet no one else was living this way or aware of what I was and knew to be true, so I didn’t honour it instead I doubted myself. It’s so crazy as we do know the truth.

  11. A fascinating conversation on common sense and its use and misuse. In the UK we still have common-land which is an area of land that has open access for all.

  12. We actually all do know what will support us and what will not but we choose to not listen to ourselves. I know this for myself when I first tasted alcohol and cigarettes as the taste was disgusting but like many others, I overrode my initial disgust and persevered.

  13. I love that definition of common sense ‘a feeling we have in our whole body’ and one we all share, for that’s what it is but we’ve lived and still live in a way where we do not honour this sense, and so our path back is to understand those ways we want to be individual and not come back to the common whole we are all part of, for we all share this equally and with this sense we all contribute to and support each other to be and live the wholeness we are.

Leave a Reply to Lucy Dahill Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s