Studying meditation. In the seventeenth century, a writer of “centuries”—books of one hundred meditations meant to bring one closer to God. His books have been discovered in antiquary bookstores, in personal libraries, in archives, literally pulled from junk heaps, rescued from imminent fires. Because he was virtually unknown, no telling how many were written, or how long they took to write. Some were unfinished, perhaps indicating roving attention, perhaps only death (even the observant eventually die).

Concentrated attention, such as meditation, brings you closer—closer both to a distant object and closer to what is nearer at hand (your beloved, your life together). Attention is grounding, meditative. It is part of the practice of love: observing the other, being careful. Nourishing a spark. But also loving the self. Slowing down. Paying attention to what is outside you; seeing and respecting its boundaries. Feeling its limits as well as the joy of those rare moments where limits seem to be surpassed.

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