Scripture ~ Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Proverbs 4:26
Spiritual Focus ~ “Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain.” Eckhart Tolle
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale – I, Exhale – wonder
Devotion ~ Recently during this pandemic, hiking has become one of the top three activities to be outside and stay centered in a noisy world. Those new to hiking are not hard to spot as they often start out on the trail without proper clothing, shoes, water or a map. They soon find out how unprepared they are when they come to the first fork in the trail and ponder which path to take. Some are risk takers and trust that they will eventually be led on the right path. Others have a more measured response, calculating the risk and pondering the different potential outcomes.
To ponder is to pause, to “silently watch your thoughts”, as Eckhart Tolle suggests, and perhaps adjust one’s behavior to take a surer path. To ponder is to say we are thinking about things more deeply, choosing not to act hastily, but instead, considering what sure path we will take.
One of the most well-known scriptures about pondering is when Mary hears from an angel that she will bear the son of God and “ponders all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19.) A closer look at scripture tells us that Jesus often encouraged his followers to ponder by asking questions. Jesus often asked questions and responded with questions to engage his followers in a closer examination of what they thought and believed. Jesus would also answer a question by telling a story or a parable that illustrated his answer. This allowed his followers to ponder what he meant, all the while giving them the autonomy to determine how they then should live.
The niyama (personal observance) of self-study, or svadhyaya, can be looked at twofold. First as a way to identify or examine our thoughts and actions. Secondly, svadhyaya can be understood as pondering or pausing in order to determine a sure path of action. Pondering is the “What does this mean?” question of faith that makes our path sure and reveals the stillness of God’s presence beneath the mental noise so that we may follow the path of Jesus in how we live and how we love God and each another.