It is the dead of night. Nature drapes our world with the cloak of darkness.
Under its protective cover, we sleep and rest.
Cats yowl in the dark; dogs bark at seeming dangers; a night bird screeches past; from afar a solitary gunshot shatters the quiet; all around one hears the diffused sibilance of crickets.
Tick tock, tick tock, goes the clock of time.
Rest. Quiet. Stillness.
Within the period of quiet, of silence, what takes place within the shell of our thoughts? What use has silence for us?
It is out of divine wisdom that the flurry of the day’s activities comes to an end.
The period of quiet and rest allows nature and humanity to revive their spent energies, and to be ready for another expenditure of energy at the birth of day.
Silence, rest for good
Silence and rest work out their alchemy in various ways for our good. The lovely crystals of ice are formed in silence and rest.
The beautiful butterfly that dazzles with its colours, breaks out from the cocoon of silence within which it transforms itself from a larva into pupa into a butterfly.
So is the seed transformed within the womb of the soil into a plant, and a foetus from the womb of the woman into a baby.
In all these instances, nature imposes the protective sheath of silence and security for life’s perfection to take place before exposure to the inclement forces of the world.
Much takes place within man when silence and rest are present.
The period of silence enables us to reflect on things concerning our life: where we stand; where we are going; what to do about our situations; what resources we must use in furtherance of our goals.
That is why we all must have our quiet times for reflection.
Beyond this, nature teaches us another thing about silence and rest.
When you see water at rest, especially a river or a stream or a pool, you see into the bottom, when it is shallow.
You see creeping things and small fishes swimming down there.
You see lovely pebbles and smooth sand at the bottom.
You enjoy looking at them.
When God says, “Be still and know that I am God” ( Psalm 46:10), He is saying, in effect, that we should let our consciousness (thoughts, emotions) be as still as undisturbed pool of water, that we may see into the beauty and power of the Self within or, better still, to let His inner voice speak to us.
Says a Christian mystic: “Any kind of thought or meditation or pleasure would impede and disturb the soul and would introduce noise into the deep silence which the soul should observe in order to hear the deep and delicate voice in which God speaks to the heart in this secret place”.
The education that we receive at school does not educate us to know the composition of our triune nature: that we are body, soul and spirit.
That within the spirit is the light and life and power of God, and that it is hidden from the profanity of our foolish thoughts and normal conscious activities.
That the only way we can delve deep into ourselves is by stilling the mind in a state of silence and rest; meditation, some call it.
In fact, the Christian and, I think, Islamic worship in Ghana, is full of noise: noise that takes us far away from God!
Silence, quietness, creative ideas
Silence and rest is another condition that is a prerequisite for the reception of creative ideas.
Ideas hate noise.
They dart into our consciousness when there is silence and rest.
When our imagination is seized with an idea, the imagination pictures the details of what it inwardly sees on a mental canvass, just like an artist drawing.
When there is disturbance, noise and activities, the detailing fails to take place.
Nothing new is created.
It is only when there is quiet, silence and rest that the imagination etches on the consciousness what it desires, and empowers the person to achieve it.
Creativity always has originality to it.
And there is power in originality.
The best work is done within the orbit of silence.
Because of the tremendous power of silence, it is always advisable for us to cultivate it and use it strategically.
That is to say, we should know when to divulge a plan, and when not to divulge it.
When planning something, you must wait until everything is in place, like the butterfly, before you come out of your sheath, otherwise premature exposure of your plans or intentions would lead to failure.
It is regrettable that some people have not known how to use the silence that nature creates at night.
Instead of savouring the silence for its sake as a mental and spiritual tonic, they prefer the noise of radio music, or anything distractive.
They say they dislike silence.
Others too tune in to radio religious services at night, or at dawn.
Their faith leads them to do so.
But how infinitely better for them to tune in to their own selves and hear the voice of God in the stillness of the soul.
Until we come to awareness of the incalculable power within us, exploited by the tool of silence and reflection, we shall amount to nothing.
Those who seek wealth avidly have little time for the healthy enjoyment of silence and rest.
This explains why some millionaires such as Howard Hughes, Paul Getty, Marilyn Monroe and several others have died pathetic deaths of suicide and wretchedness.
They had everything that they could be envied for, but happiness! And why were they not happy?
Most likely because they did not cultivate the inner silence within which God speaks to us.
Inside them were violent emotions and clashing interests and moral confusion. The world was too much with them.
And the world swallowed and destroyed them.
We must treasure silence, rest and quiet.
They are the bricks of our dreams, the vehicle for our creativity, and the means to our spiritual wealth.