Archaeologists recently discovered a network of roman tunnels beneath the emperor Hadrian’s villa. Hadrian, considered one of Rome’s five good emperors and a great lover of philosophy, constructed his villa as a place of solitude and reflection. A manmade island provided a beautiful and serene space for him to look out on the surrounding water and contemplate his empire.
The network of tunnels discovered beneath his villa linked buildings together with an underground road. This roman road beneath the city was wide enough for chariots to pass alongside each other and was used to transport supplies for the imperial court. The reason? Hadrian wanted to keep necessary hustle and bustle out of sight to preserve the calm and tranquil atmosphere of his villa.
At first, this may seem exceedingly strange of him. Who builds huge underground roads and makes everyone use them simply because he wants a little quiet time? But Hadrian was on to something. The clatter and foot traffic necessary to keep his court served and supplied must have been monumental. We all want time to think, to quiet our minds and create a feeling of peace within ourselves. Hadrian was no different, but he did what was necessary to achieve this. He knew the importance of finding quiet and for him; it had to be done on a grand scale.
Slowing down and taking time for ourselves is an important aspect of maintaining mental health. After completing our to-do lists, it is nice to wind down in a serene space that nourishes us, perhaps with a favorite book or beautiful music playing.
In such a hectic world, it can seem like a waste of time to slow down. It can feel like we are “doing nothing.” Yet it eases stress and anxiety, and instills happiness within us. Doing what we like to do is never a waste of time. It is only that sometimes, we are so busy that we forget to stop each day.
Do you have a space where, like Hadrian, you can slow down and reflect on the things that are important to you? Is there somewhere in your home that you can unwind and find peace? If not, perhaps it is time to create one.