By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Can the practice of Yoga encourage common sense? It is said that Yoga training will enable a practitioner to see through illusion (maya). With this in mind, you might think people would flock to Yoga schools in order to make the most of their time. In life, a lot of time is wasted on deciphering what is real and what is not.
C.E. Stowe (Son of the writer Harriet Beecher Stowe) summed up common sense beautifully when he declared: “Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.” Common sense is rudimentary and well beyond basic, yet increasingly it seems that we live in a world that is completely devoid of this most basic line of thinking. How can this be? What caused this decline?
One would think that in this modern culture, which places such high value on education and intelligence, that common sense would be prevalent; but simple observations prove this is not the case. Education and intelligence are good, but having a society overrun by self absorbed, ego-controlled individuals is not. We place such a heavy burden on our youth, to perform well on tests and in school, that we lose touch with their innate inner intelligence early on.
If you think about it – common sense is lost at an early age. The current generation is born, enjoys a few comfortable years as an infant and toddler, and then they are enrolled in preschool. From preschool, children enter into the school system and are taught to rush constantly towards the goal of becoming something better than what they already are. With that said – schools rarely focus on a student’s strengths and usually focus on weaknesses.
We are led to believe that we are an ongoing project that always needs to be fixed. Thus, we begin comparing ourselves to others at a very early age. From school, young adults enter the college world, in hopes of acquiring a degree good enough to enable them to have a job that is marginally better than that of everyone else.
After college, people are urged to build careers, and this takes up the focus of the rest of their lives. At some point, marriage may come into play, and from that comes a new generation of children who will enjoy a few comfortable years as infants and toddlers. After that, children begin their own journey through the cycle of life.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but nothing inherently right either. From the start, we learn how to be doers and how to improve. We learn how to compare and judge, to compete and defeat. However, when do we learn how to be? Common sense is an important trait to master.
It has been said, “Common sense cannot be taught; either you have it or you do not.” However, most people can easily master common sense through daily practice. At its core, common sense can be summed up as the conscious, focused observation of the world around you. Observation is sharpest when no judgment is attached to what is being observed.
True wisdom is the marriage of knowledge and common sense. Common sense stems from one’s ability to quiet the egoic mind long enough to see and hear what the external world is saying. That is what makes it ‘common;’ anyone could have, and should have, thought of it, because the situation itself basically spoke forth the sensible answer.
Anything that silences the mind, even if only for a short period of time, will increase common sense levels. Common sense automatically comes into the picture whenever someone is intensely focused on the present moment. Hatha Yoga is the physical branch of Yoga, and daily practice will raise baseline levels of common sense simply by drawing the individual’s attention away from the mind chatter and toward the present moment, where it belongs.
There is infinite wisdom, and knowledge to be gained by appreciating and experiencing inner silence. Hatha Yoga serves to promote states of internal quiet.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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