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.
JAMB Advises Candidates Against Dressing Indecently to UTME
Ahead of the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry Examination, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has issued advisories against the use of henna otherwise known as “laali”, bogus jewelry, outrageous outfits among others.
The Punch gathered that the board took the decision following observations that such mode of dressings and adornment led to distractions during examinations organised by the board.
In the advisory exclusively obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, the board said, “Henna when applied on the fingers obstructs the smooth biometric verification of the candidates’ fingers. Also in an attempt by candidates to clean their fancy henna drawings, they used chemicals that damaged the whorls on their fingers, hence making biometric verification and authentication difficult.
“The Board reiterated its position of “No Biometrics, No examination rule” and urged candidates to desist from any act that could jeopardise their chances of taking the UTME.
On indecent dressing, the Board warned candidates “against indecent dressing, which in some cases, had constituted a major distraction to candidates, embarrassing even the candidates wearing such dresses as others pass offensive glances at them thereby destabilising their comportment for the examination.
“In some cases, it has been used to aid and abet examination malpractices. The Board views such improper dressing as a serious breach of the UTME ethics, adding that provocative and seductive dressing as well as willful and deliberate exposure of one’s body to the public will no longer be condoned as they are capable of causing distraction to candidates and examination officials alike.”
The advisory listed indecent dressing to include, but not limited to, “sleeveless tops, body hugs, knickers, transparent clothes, canopy headties, bogus fashion jewelries, spaghetti tops, and off-shoulders, among others.”
The Board reiterated that pencils were allowed into the examination hall for the UTME.
Woman Commits Suicide Beside Two-Year-Old Daughter in Abuja
A yet-to-be-identified nursing mother has committed suicide, abandoning her child in a bush where her corpse was discovered along Suuka Airport road, in the Federal Capital Territory.
PUNCH Metro gathered that an empty bottle of insecticide was found beside her corpse in the bush on Monday.
A resident in the area, who identified himself simply as Nnaji for security reasons, told our correspondent that the victim’s corpse was found when passers-by heard her baby crying in the bush.
Nnaji said, “The corpse of a middle-aged woman was seen in a bush in our area on Monday evening. A two-year-old girl was sitting close to her crying.
“It was even her cry that attracted passers-by to the scene of the incident. We got there and found an empty bottle of insecticide by her side; her body smelt of the insecticide. She is not a known person in the area and no one knows what made her do this.”
Contacted, the FCT police spokesperson, DSP Josephine Adeh, said the corpse had been deposited in a morgue, adding that the child was in the custody of the police as efforts were on to trace the woman’s relatives.
She said, “I can confirm to you that this case was reported at our division in Iddo. The corpse has been deposited at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital morgue.
“We cannot rush to the conclusion that she drank sniper, an autopsy will be conducted to determine the true cause of her death.”
LASPOTECH Undergraduate Narrates Ordeal with Human Body Parts Merchants
An undergraduate of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Marvelous Omobobola, who was abducted by a kidnap syndicate in the state, has been released after his family members paid N200,000 ransom.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Omobobola went to school on Saturday to sign a SIWES form.
After he was done, the undergraduate boarded a tricycle to his hostel in the Odogunyan area of Ikorodu, Lagos State.
The 28-year-old said the tricycle operator was conveying him and other passengers to their destinations in Odogunyan when he suddenly veered onto a street to avoid the traffic ahead.
Omobobola said the tricycle operator was navigating the street to link the expressway when he suddenly parked beside a bus located near a bush.
He said he and other passengers were lamenting the abrupt stop beside a bush around 5pm when some armed men stepped out of the bus, pounced on them and whisked them away.
Narrating his ordeal to our correspondent, Omobobola said, “I went to school on Saturday to sign my SIWES form because we were to start exams on Monday.
“When I was done around 5pm, I boarded a tricycle from my school to my hostel in Odogunyan. There was traffic along the way so the tricycle operator diverted into a street.
“We were three at the back of the tricycle and one man sat beside the tricycle operator at the front. We asked why he left the road and he told us it was because of the traffic.
“Suddenly, the tricycle operator parked beside a bus and some men with guns pounced on us and ordered us into the bus that was parked near a bush. We met some people on the bus when we entered it.”
Omobobola said the tricycle operator left to bring more victims, adding that the kidnappers seized their phones to keep them incommunicado.
The undergraduate said, “They drove us into the bush where some people visited to price us like goats. Some people among my group were taken away into a room where they were killed and well-dressed people came with coolers for their body parts.
“When we were told to take off our clothes, one of the kidnappers saw the Celestial Church crucifix on my waist and he put me aside. He asked me what the crucifix was for and I told him I am from a celestial family.
“He then returned my phone and told me to call my people to pay a ransom for me before their leader, one Alhaji, comes. He said when their leader returns, he would not be able to help me because Alhaji procures human parts for politicians and other people. He said I would be killed if he found me there.”
Using Omobobola’s phone, the kidnappers contacted his mother, Ronke, and demanded N700,000 ransom.
Our correspondent who was with Ronke when she commenced negotiation with the suspects heard them telling her to choose between purchasing a coffin to bury her son and raising the money to secure his release.
The kidnappers later agreed to collect N200,000 and after ending the call, the aggrieved mother was seen begging people including church members for money and was able to raise N100,000.
Speaking with our correspondent, Ronke said, “I am not myself as I am speaking to you. I heard the sound of people crying on the phone and my son said the kidnappers cut two people’s throats like cows in an abattoir. I have been told to send the N100,000 into my son’s account for his release.”
Our correspondent quickly contacted the state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, and he detailed the Divisional Police Officer, Odogunyan Police Station, to investigate the case.
Omobobola’s phone number was sent to the DPO who traced calls made to the number.
However, after the mother of the undergraduate paid the N100,000, the kidnappers, after using his ATM card to withdraw the money from a Point-of-Sale operator, used Omobobola’s phone number to borrow N100,000 from online credit companies.
It was learnt that the borrowed money was also withdrawn and the victim was released around 2am on Sunday.
Contacted, the Director of Information and Public Relations, Lagos State Polytechnic, Lanre Kuye, told our correspondent that the institution just got wind of the case.
He added, “We would make a case to the Lagos State Police Command to prevent future occurrences against staff and students.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, when contacted, said the command was on the matter, adding that the culprits would be arrested soon.