When you are introduced to a deep meditative path, you are asked to “ponder” your centres. Some confusion usually arises when you are told not to concentrate on the centre, but to ponder it. What then is the difference between the two? The difference is a subtle one, but easily recognized once the procedure has been practiced a number of times. The art of concentration can be likened to the mind being a great searchlight that is applied with intense power to any object upon which it is turned. The effect is that anything beyond that effort is closed off, unable to penetrate. The concentrated mind has become its own barrier.
When pondering a force centre or a symbol, the mind is becoming acquainted with something it does not yet know; therefore it really cannot set any limit. At the same time as it is considering the new focus, it also has to remain open to the potential possibilities of the force centre or symbol with the attitude that it is only one of the participants in the meditative process. It must not monopolize all of the activity by concentrating.
The other participant, which may be the relevant force centre or chakra, or the symbol being pondered, calls forward an aspect of the higher self that enlivens what is being pondered. This cannot happen during the process of concentration alone, as the mind will block that aspect from operating. In both cases, the act of pondering can be thought of as a mind/energy partnership, and both members must be allowed to play their part.
How is provision made for the other member in the partnership? It is made by a two way activity in the mind of the student conducted in this manner. In meditation, the mind focuses like that great searchlight upon the relevant centre or symbol, by focusing the breath into the centre to hold the concentration then once that purpose has been accomplished, it must be able to relax back from its established focus, so that the other parts can “come in” and contribute what they have to. Evidence of this contribution is seen in the spontaneous impressions of colour, shape, size and proximity in ways that the mind did not have time to formulate of itself.
This action of focusing the mind followed by a relaxation of that focus might occur a number of times during one period of mediation. This is pondering and it is a far gentler activity than concentration alone because it allows the mind both an active and a passive role. This is essential for receptivity to the energy steps of the meditative path.