They call Rome the eternal city and I can see why. Life is flourishing here and has been for centuries. Streets are filled with cars, buses, taxis and mopeds. Skillful taxi drivers maneuver in and out of tight spaces like water flowing around rocks. Crowds of people are out at night walking through the streets, enjoying the evening, the sites, the wine bars and restaurants. Street artists and musicians entertain eyes and ears in the open piazzas. Groups of people gather at key public places with flags and signs listening to impassioned speakers trying to persuade them about politics. It’s colorful, noisy and chaotic to the everyday eye, but when I check inside myself I feel joyful and alive. There is a smile on my lips. I’m happy to be here although the noise on the street woke me. It’s 4am and this flow of creativity started coming through, begging me to get up and write it down to share with you.
I recently read some advice from Eckart Tolle. He said when you go to a place, feel it with your soul, your sense of inner presence. In my short time here, I’ve practiced doing that in the piazzas, in timeless churches with their ornate columns, sculptures, stained glass windows and amazing frescoes, and in my hotel room at night when my heart doesn’t want to sleep.
In a perfect metaphor for grace and longevity, there are old Roman buildings being used for very modern purposes. You can walk below the city street, through old underground tunnels and into the past of ancient Rome. At the Foro Traiano, through a masterful play of lights and images, the Rome of Julius Caesar’s time comes back to life. The ruins that have been unearthed by archaeologists are embellished by modern technology and creative imagination. For a moment the past comes alive again. You see and realize that although the facade has changed, many things are still the same and life goes on in endless layers and with endless faces.
This is where feeling with the soul comes in handy, because despite all the new and the old, it helped me feel one with life’s great play. We are part of the present, part of the past, and we influence the future all at the same time. We are in the flow of the universe, and we hand the baton to each other through generations. There is always an end and a beginning happening in the same eternal moment. This is one reason I love traveling. It connects me with soul and deepens my daily practice of knowing who I truly am.