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The Common Sense Test

I was talking with a friend of mine recently, and the subject was meditation–not unusual among many I know. I was describing the kind of connection that goes beyond just “being in the moment.” A connection to something deeper. While my friend did not necessarily discount what I was saying, he challenged my lack of progress in some key life areas, such as my never achieving financial freedom (he could also have easily mentioned my astonishing moral lapses!).

I tried to fight back and insist that my prayer experiences have been “real.” In truth, I know they are. But my friend was onto something, and our conversation caused me to further ponder the apparent disconnect between the value of my “meditation” life and my “real” life.

First, there are some key differences between the backgrounds of my friend and me: 1. He was raised on a farm, where he learned to get up early to feed animals and do necessary chores, while I grew up lazy, and have mostly avoided hard work in my life. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6–I’ve recalled this saying many times).

But I believe even more importantly, I experienced some early traumas that I don’t believe my friend experienced. I’m not bringing this up as an excuse, or to say that someone can’t overcome. But I will say that some things are deep, and can continue to affect us for years, or even decades.

I know there are stories of those who have been transformed through prayer, or meditation. I would say that I am one of them. Though to be truthful, I have not yet been completely transformed.

Paradise Lost

Once traumatized, I lost my original innocence (and common sense). I withdrew into my own world, lost confidence in what I could see myself, and began leaning on others for guidance–WOW, is that a dangerous thing!

What I see now is that there is also a danger in believing that if you have “good meditations” it therefore automatically follows that you are seeing and acting correctly in your “real” life (outside of your prayer closet). I have seen too many example of “prayer warriors” who don’t demonstrate “fruit on the tree” to others. Being one of these people, I can easily see it in others.

I don’t know how long it will take my “real” life to catch up to my “prayer” life, or if there is something deficient in my prayer life. I do sense that I have become much more practical and I believe objective since I have moved away from treating my meditation life as some kind of technical performance–our prayer life should be a means of communing with our Creator, and allowing Him to correct us. But there should be some sense of objectivity too.

Most important, as my friend indicated, there should be some objective proof in our lives that the meditation we attempt to push on others is actually molding US into a man or woman of common sense and real value. If we demonstrate common sense, people will come to us seeking wisdom for their daily lives. We really don’t have to say a word or pursue anybody!

Other “Tools” in the Box

There’s one more thing I’ve learned (the hard way) over time, and that is, that there are many ways to learn. Looking for one “tool” to do the job was a rut I dug for myself. I have learned more recently through other tools such as pure pain (that “last resort” we don’t want but often need!), and other simple tools such as being willing to WORK (physically): “By the sweat of your brow you shall eat your food…” (Genesis 3:19).

It’s interesting that this is the first commandment God gave to man, and yet most of us ignore it as best we can since it’s not pleasant. But I have found something beautiful in honest, physical work, that cannot be replicated sitting down at a computer. It helps give us value, and provides a spiritual component too. There is a sense of mental freedom while the hands are busy. I’ve come to believe that work is not a curse at all, but a blessing! It seems to be re-wiring my brain in a way that nothing else does, including meditation!

Common sense is not so common these days, as we know. There are reasons for that. It would behoove all of us to open our minds and ponder what those reasons are. After all these years, I’m so happy to be discovering this. I hope you are too.

Patrick Rooney is the Founder of He promotes natural health, success, and freedom during chaotic times. To reach Patrick, email him at [email protected].

8 thoughts on “The Common Sense Test”

  1. I used the words “access denied” but I didn’t mean to discourage anyone. Access may also be granted again.

  2. Thank you, Tim, I can always count on something real from you. In this case, I believe my friend wants the best for me. Good friends are rare though! I have wandered far from the path, but thank God I have not lost it forever!

    1. “But I believe even more importantly, I experienced some early traumas that I don’t believe my friend experienced. I’m not bringing this up as an excuse, or to say that someone can’t overcome. But I will say that some things are deep, and can continue to affect us for years, or even decades.”

      That is true Patrick. Some traumas are very deep. I started meditating in 1976, At that time I had no memory of early childhood beatings and abuse because it was repressed out of my conscious mind, disassociation amnesia (repressed memories) due to the trauma . 14 years of drug addiction did not help either. It took over 4 decades for those memories to return and be resolved. Many people fail to realize how damaging trauma can be to a person, especially early childhood trauma. I have heard long time meditators say things like “post traumatic” trauma, that is just the military” . No, it’s not. It’s also not an excuse at all to say trauma can impact us for decades. And yes it can all be overcome with God’s help.

      1. Thank you, Ted, for corroborating that point. I’m so glad you were finally able to overcome these traumas, or at least are in the process of doing so. We don’t know what we don’t know, and if people haven’t experienced certain traumas, then they simply don’t know what they are like. And how they can become buried because the shame of them or the inanity to deal with their reality or the pain associated with that reality is too much. But yes, God is good and will heal us if we ask!

        1. “God is good and will heal us if we ask!”=== Yes, and I would add in His time , not what somebody else thinks the time schedule should be.

  3. Roy used to describe us as “the walking wounded”. Your friend could be your conscience helping you or he could be trying to discourage you or make you give up, evil in other words. Most of us are still not walking on water. I have strayed from the path at times, thinking I knew better but no, I found otherwise. The path is not easy to find again, access can be denied as well.

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