From the bustling noises of vehicles maneuvering the ever evolving roads in most developing cities, from the cacophony of voices perpetually raised in supposed normal conversation, to the various tunes emitted by radio waves, television sets and mobile phones, it’s a wonder that our minds are able to engage in any form of intellectual, cognitive thought processing. This could be a major reason employers these days are hardly able to find competency in our ocean of unemployed adults. Our ears are constantly attacked by a barrage of useful as well as unnecessary information. We often find ourselves engaged in conversations or just strings of thoughts that upon reflection cause us some form of embarrassment or disappointment.
All this hustle and bustle, unfortunately, has far reaching effects on the human mind. We are now faced with a major obstacle on our journey in life – a discomfort with silence. A good number of us are unable to enjoy a moment of silence as that has been associated with acknowledging the passing away of an individual.
‘Ah! I have to have music or some noise; I don’t want my mind to wander!’ ‘It’s too quiet in this house; what’s wrong?’ These statements recur in conversations all too often. To further compound the issue, iPods have become a staple fixture, an extension of our bodies; and we wonder at the decline in the academic achievement of our youth today.
We have all but forgotten the place of silent contemplation as a vital part of cognitive processing. Up until today, I have heard of neither a noisy chess game, nor a noisy surgery. Our learned colleagues in metaphysics, astronomy, neurology, pharmacology and all the other ‘ogys’ have been termed hermits as their need for not just silence but frequent periods of solitude, where they are able to engage in intense contemplation, is often over-emphasised. Profound thinking has resulted in discoveries that have changed our lives as mankind.
As people of the spirit, with an awareness of the happenings in the spiritual realm, it behoves us to have our minds aligned, tuned to the frequency of the spirit. Proverbs 4:23 says, ‘Keep vigilant watch over your heart (mind); that’s where life starts.’(The Message) The frequency of the spirit is silence – a shutting down of that humming sound which is the life around us; a deliberate decision to sit ‘at the feet of the master’ and receive instructions for lifestyle; a conscious effort to filter the sounds that permeate our minds and choose which to store or delete.
The power of silence can be seen in the encounter Joshua had with the Captain of the Hosts of heaven (Joshua 5:13-15); it can be seen in the transformation of Moses from a proud Egyptian prince to a humble Israelite priest in the silent wilderness. The power of silence can be harnessed by all and sundry – as is modeled by monks who spend months in silent meditation and have been known to wield interesting levels of paranormal power; our meditation however, being on the life-transforming words of life contained in the Holy Scriptures. Ralph Waldo Emerson (American writer and poet, 1803-1888) once said, ‘Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.’
The power of silence is shown when a warring couple spend time alone on a retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of society, and there discover themselves afresh – emerging with a new lease of married life; when men gather in a house of mourning and there make resolutions to adjust their lifestyle choices so as not to cut short their existence; when in deep worship men begin to hear the still, small voice that points them in the direction of eternity.
Our warfare in this season is really not against flesh and blood, but against the prince of the power of the air that is out to deprive us of one of the greatest arsenals we possess – the power of silence. There is a calculated and so far successful armada launched to enslave us to a low-level existence devoid of power and punch in the spirit. It is time to arise, to awaken from our slumber of ignorance and to blow the trumpet of knowledge, calling all comers to embrace this power, to explore and apply this principle, to educate ourselves and our children, to ‘listen and hear what the Spirit of God is saying to his church.
Author – Joy Isa5