I am not religious by nature. I was never forced to abide by my parents’ religious beliefs and I try to learn about all faiths to gain a greater understanding of people. It recently occurred to me that I’m a very spiritual person. Not spiritual in the sense that I look to the stars for my future, spiritual in the sense that I am aware of life’s mysteries and believe that not all of them can be solved with science.
I’m currently sitting at the Parque de Oeste in Madrid. It’s a peaceful evening. The full moon looms overhead, acting as a spotlight on one of Europe’s liveliest capitals. It’s relatively quiet. Only the shutters of tourists’ cameras and faint sound of dying evening traffic are able to disrupt the still reflection pool at the Templo de Debod. Most visitors come here to see the sunset, but they only get half of the story. While dusk provides dramatic vistas of the city with skies that seem to be painted in dreamy shades of blue, there’s something oddly calming about nights here.
I turn around to the Plaza de España. In the distance, I hear a few street performers crooning. The moon stares right back, its light causing the Royal Palace to glow. Today reminded me that everyday life is tumultuous. We’re constantly worrying about what’s next, who we have to impress, where we have to go. In the words of Ferris Bueller, “life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it”. Much like life, travel can be hectic. My friends and I all have a myriad of things to do before our semester abroad comes to a close. Today’s visit to the temple taught me something. Life isn’t about the main event. We spend so much time fixating on it that we forget how beautiful everything around us is. We all lead hectic lives with jobs, school, family, and friends taking over most of our decision making. It doesn’t hurt to take an evening to appreciate everything. To look into the still waters of a reflection pool and find peace, even if it’s in the heart of the city.