Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

I came across this tweet the other day:

The article, published in the Harvard Business Review, had very interesting facts on how quiet is actually necessary for our brains:

Author JK Rowling, biographer Walter Isaacson, and psychiatrist Carl Jung have all had disciplined practices for managing the information flow and cultivating periods of deep silence. Ray Dalio, Bill George, California Governor Jerry Brown, and Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan have also described structured periods of silence as important factors in their success.

Recent studies are showing that taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work, and lead. Duke Medical School’s Imke Kirste recently found that silence is associated with the development of new cells in the hippocampus, the key brain region associated with learning and memory. Physician Luciano Bernardi found that two-minutes of silence inserted between musical pieces proved more stabilizing to cardiovascular and respiratory systems than even the music categorized as “relaxing.” And a 2013 study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, based on a survey of 43,000 workers, concluded that the disadvantages of noise and distraction associated with open office plans outweighed anticipated, but still unproven, benefits like increasing morale and productivity boosts from unplanned interactions.

The article goes on to make some excellent suggestions on how to incorporate quiet into our lives. 

Yet there is one more opportunity that is not mentioned in the article: daily ritual prayer. 

As a Muslim, I must make five ritual prayers throughout the day and night. The daily prayer was established, primarily, as a way to always keep God in our minds’ eyes. In the Quran, God told Moses:

“Verily, I – I alone – am God; there is no deity save Me. Hence, worship Me alone and be constant in prayer, so as to remember Me!” (20:14)

It is an essential aspect of the daily spiritual life of the Muslim believer. 

And it is the perfect opportunity to incorporate the quiet our brains need. 

If we can find a quiet place to perform our prayers, that would be great. The greater challenge for us, however, is to exert every effort to quiet our minds when we enter into prayer. That way, we can fulfill two purposes simultaneously: remembering God and giving our minds (and souls) their much needed silence. 

Now, if we are Muslim and don’t perform our daily prayers, it’s never too late. God has always been calling out to us, and it is on us to heed that call:

And if My servants ask thee about Me – behold, I am near; I respond to the call of him who calls, whenever he calls unto Me: let them, then, respond unto Me, and believe in Me, so that they might follow the right way. (2:186)

When we pray, we are actually entering the Divine Presence and talking with God. That experience deserves our full attention. Thus, I’m grateful to the Lord I came across the tweet above. It has inspired me to redouble my effort to quiet my mind and focus when I start my prayers. I pray I will be successful. 

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