By Tolulope A. Adegoke
“How far a man conquers the world is a function of how well he conquers himself. Hence, the greatest journey, the most prestigious journey, the most rewarding journey any man would ever embark on is the journey of self-exploration.” – Samson Adah A. Paul
By the activation of the processes of self –exploration, the prodigal son came back to his senses and went back home. The prodigal son did not come to himself by determination; he rather came to himself by a process- the process of self- exploration.
The ultimate goal of every exploration is to discover some-thing(s) and maximize those things to advance himself for the benefits of those around him, especially his or her generation.
A man will be stuck in ‘yesterday’ no matter how well he has explored the world around him, if he neglects to travel through himself; that is, to explore the industries that lies with him. Empowerment for change of levels or development does not come from travelling round the world; it comes from travelling through oneself. Africa’s government for example, crave to attract Africans in diaspora to come back home to make Africa better is an unnecessary move. Africans that will develop Africa are not those that have travelled round the world, they are simply those that have ‘travelled into the industries that lies within their earthen vessels’.
The prodigal son is a testimony of this; despite how well travelled he was, he still fell from grace to grass, from a Hero to zero, but he got connected to a program of restoration when he embarked on the journey of self-exploration.
Self-exploration is the art and act of outgrowing childish dependences on individuals, as an individual, a people or a nation, in acknowledging and celebration of the cultural values of developing and assigning one’s natural or innate potentials or gifts to the benefits of others. If you cannot lean on your inner grace (as given by God), you will end up becoming an unnecessary burden unto those around you. Treasures lies within everyone. To be honest, self-explorers out-grow and outshine childish nature of dependence on others. He does not just sit down and wait for others to make things work for them or better; rather, he gets up and work-out things for the better by accepting responsibility for the well-being of peoples, or corporates or nations without any need of compulsion.
Self-explorers meet needs, they do not waste time to first think of who to call on to help him meet the need when in need. Therefore, he waits on himself, because he believes in what the Creator, God Almighty has embedded in him, which he consciously and continuously works upon to become better and more useful to the society at large and not only to himself! We should be observant enough to know with empirical evidences that major life’s activities are usually done or carried out in seclusion. In quietness lies the truth. My daily mantra goes thus: ‘calm, quiet, available and useful is my soul before God Almighty, My Maker!’ For example, real banking transactions are carried out in the strong room and an organization’s behaviour is cultivated and strengthened and accounted for in a secluded company boardroom. Also, medical operations are usually carried out in secluded places known as the hospital-theatres. Self-exploration involves securing personal independence for self-realization and self-productivity, which requires a secluded or serene atmosphere, which required silence. Because, in silence lies the truth! A man that does not engage in silence is bound to perform below his potentials! The prodigal son as a powerful case study here was launched to self-realization and fulfilment of his potentials simply by engaging in silence; listen to the account: [Luke15:15-16]
15“And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; And he sent him into his fields to feed swine, 16And he would fain have filled is belly with the husks that swine did eat; and no man gave unto him.”
The prodigal son celebrated this truth: “…he sent him into his fields to feed swine.”
17“And when he came to himself, he said how many hired servants of my father have bread enough to spare, and I perish with hunger. I will arise and go to my father, and I will say unto him…am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”
As we can see, the prodigal son became alone with pigs, he was disconnected from men, such that he had nobody to come to his aid or depend on. He became alone, disconnected himself from clubbing, from hanging out with sluts and macho guys. He indeed disconnected himself from distractions (the noises), so as to gain attention to the call of destiny!
Even, Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists ever lived was bearing witness with the prodigal son’s engagement to silence, when he revealed that:
“I am truly a ‘lone-traveller’ and never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family with my whole heart. In face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude, feeling that increase with the year.”
What the above simply means is to practically engage in silence beyond locking yourself in a room, disconnected from all manner of human and mechanical noise. It simply means disengaging your mind from all manner of desires, lust, pursuits, values and associations that are not loyal, subject or beneficial to the discovery, development and deployment of your God given/innate potentials.
“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah30:15
The Hero called Michael Jordan, the man whom God had in mind in blessing mankind with basketball. The game called basketball would have become boring without the legendary exploits of Michael Jordan. With a divine sense of understanding, there are reasons beyond the visible that made Michael Jordan such a timeless star, which has helped inspire a lot of individuals across the world and lured many of us study several respective versions of his biographies.
It has been discovered that Michael Jordan’s winning edge is his mastery of the ageless art of silence. He once wrote this powerful piece online:
“When I am out there, no one can bother me. Being out there is one of the most private parts of my life…during the game; for a few times in my life, I feel untouchable…I mean that about a game being like meditation period for me. Anytime I am playing serious basketball, it’s like meditation.
Sometimes even in the middle of the game, I am able to think about things as loud as it is; it’s almost a quiet time for me. I know that basketball game can be very exciting, but for me the game is one of the calmest parts of my life.”
Michael Jordan’s winning edge no doubt is his discipline to play the game on the platter of silence, by being united- spirit, soul and body-with the game of basketball; not minding external or distracting forces which surround him the process with such force that would break any unfocused man. By this, he is able to initiate and maximize communication and application with the unusual and inherent basketball energy he is endowed with.
Silence is the strong force that connects the physical into the spiritual, if properly harnessed to yielding the manifestations of possibilities. Silence therefore, is the art of being immune to distracting-external forces in order for one to initiate or propel or maximize communication with inherent and invisible resources endowed in man by God. But the art of silence has been neglected by vast majority of mankind; yet it is as important as the art of prayer. Surprisingly, those that are master of the art of prayer without mastering the art of silence make little or no contribution to human existence. But those that master the art of silence enjoy the grace to maximize, expand and contribute meaningfully to the advancement of humanity!
Attesting to the reality of this fact, Bishop David O. Oyedepo revealed in his book titled: “Maximizing your Destiny” that:
“Quietness enhances the quality of thinking. Quietness enhances productive reasoning. I cherish quietness and I will do anything to have it…that is why although we have many rooms in our house. I sometimes have to put certain guest in the hotel, to avoid the noise they will make in my home. Quietness is precious to me. It has great spiritual value…”
One of my prolific and indefatigable writers and enviable role models named Samson Adah Paul wrote this mind blowing piece that reminds me of Divine creation techniques:
“When God Almighty saw the need to create woman for man, he did not inspire man to employ the ‘art of prayer’, he simply inspired man to connect to the art of silence…”
“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs…and the rib which God had taken from man, made He woman.”[Genesis2:21]
Silence informs! It is the factory house of progress and development; any quest for progress and development that is pursued without the art of silence will ever be in vain. According to a prolific writer and a passionate African, Samson Adah Paul: “Africans that will experience the fulfilment of the ‘African Dream’ will have to be masters of the art of silence. Mind you, silence in this context is not about being mute and dumb, it’s rather about being immune to distracting external-forces in order for one to initiate and maximize communication with the inherent resources endowed in man by God.”
Some sensitive aspects of Thomas Edison’s life have been a great lesson and positive example to me as a person after series of comprehensive study about him. I discovered too that his greatest strength was his mastery over the art of silence. His life showed impeccable discoveries and exploits, but were all as a result of paying attention to necessary matters; it is much more a function of withdrawing attention or refraining from unnecessary matters. He refused to submit to his medical science advancement for the treatment of 100% deafness which he suffered from birth on one ear and 80% deafness on his other ear. Edison rather preferred to bear the burden of deafness, for him to become better, because to him, that was an advantage. He wrote this mind-blowing piece:
“Even though I am nearly deaf, I seem to be gifted with a kind of inner hearing which enables me to detect sounds and noises that the ordinary person does not hear.” Edison did not consider hearing disability as pain but as gain which helped to strengthen his concentration levels in the areas of discoveries and impeccable inventions, thereby serving as a plus to humanity, rather than living on the guise of excuses!
Thank you for reading.