Saint Francis’s words resounded in my mind quite often. “Purify your heart, mind, body, and actions, and then you’ll see God inside you!”
I thought that meditation would be a good way to purify my heart, mind, and body. I started to research the topic to uncover the path. Most people today focus their attention outward instead of inward. Their main interests are to become rich, famous, have a beautiful partner, and so on. I’m not saying that all these desires are sins. It is normal and plays a prominent role in human society, but if you don’t want to act like a machine and strive to become a spiritual being, it is necessary to focus your attention inward as well.
Meditation means to look inside yourself and see who really you are. Many meditators say that when you find your real nature, all your worries and longings disappear like snow under the sun. Your mind becomes empty and you are an organic whole with the universe. Contrary to what many people think, meditation is not escaping from the world. On the contrary, by mediating we can live a better ordinary life and succeed socially.
Meditation, alertness, and consciousness are nearly synonymous. True meditative people meditate not only within the walls of their home, but also while they are working, playing, eating, dancing, or doing just about anything. In this case, meditation consists of watching oneself performing any action. By watching ourselves while we are living our lives, our actions cease to be automatic or unconscious. We behave as fully conscious people, always aware of what we are doing.
We humans tend to live according to the patterns and paradigms we learned during childhood. Our family and society funnel us towards fixed tracks, which we then follow automatically without ever asking ourselves whether those tracks lead us in the right direction. However, if we want to know more about ourselves, we need to drop conditioning given to us as children. When we meditate we set spirituality before worldly ambitions. In doing so, we go beyond the behavioral models that we were schooled in. We follow a new, authentic way—the way to God.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind



“I was walking along the Red River in the countryside near Winnipeg when I heard melodious singing coming from somewhere nearby. I followed the sound until it became
distinct. It came from a small chapel. I entered it. The ceiling was covered with wooden planks. On one side of a rectangular table in front of the altar was a small cream colored box containing ashes, similar to a cookie box. On the other side was a large photo of a woman dressed in violet, with gray hair. I couldn’t see her features clearly, because the
photo was enlarged, and I was far from it. About one hundred people stood in the shape of an amphitheater opposite the table. They sang with the sound of the organ. Then a lady with a guitar came in. Her singing mixed with the others’. In Sicily, we don’t sing during funerals. The funeral rites consist of a stereotyped religious function. No songs at all. But in that small Canadian Catholic church, things went differently. The singing of those who stood facing the cinerary urn sounded like a joyous farewell to the dead woman who was about to leave for another place. It vibrated and resonated in the air like sound waves that would carry the dead woman’s soul toward another world. Mass went on. When it was over, a tall and slender young man dressed in white and wearing a black tie took the little box with his hands and headed for the exit of the chapel. All the others followed him. There was a lawn near the church. A hole had already been dug. The young man laid the small box into the little pit while the priest was blessing the grave. Someone took a handful of soil from the ground and threw it onto the little box. One by one, everybody left the graveyard except for four persons who seemed to be the family. An old man with shaved hair and green eyes held a shovel in his hand and waited until the families left. Then, he filled the hole with soil and made a little mound over it. Finally, he also left, carrying the shovel on his shoulder. Everything was over. Yes, one life finished like that.”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Wordssecond edition– by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind


One Saturday morning I went to downtown Winnipeg to see The Canadian Museum for Human Rights. A Canadian lawyer, called Izzy Asper, founded it. He aimed at drawing attention to the fundamental rights of the human person.
Inside the edifice there were no stairs. To go from one floor to another I followed ramps bordered by walls in alabaster about one meter high.
On the ground floor there was an exhibition on Nelson Mandela and apartheid. Upstairs, there were displayed objects and videos about racism, intolerance, genocide, and the Canadian legal system.

Moving from one wing to another of this very interesting and unique museum, I stumbled on two words I had never heard before. One was holodomor, the other prom.
Holodomor is a Ukrainian word. It means murder by hunger. It describes the genocide of the Ukrainians by mass starvation when that country was ruled by the Soviets.

The other word, prom, is an English words. I didn’t know it because we don’t have this kind of celebration in Italy. Prom means a formal dance that is held at a high school. I read on a caption that in 2013, just five years ago, American students at Wilcox Country High School in Georgia organized their own first racially integrated prom.
Persecutions and discrimination can affect not only ethnic or religious groups, but also a class of people. The disabled have been the object of intolerance over the centuries. In the ancient Greek city of Sparta, newborns with imperfections were thrown from Mount Taygetos. As for madmen, until not so long ago, they were secluded in asylums. In Italy, some lidos even refused entry to kids with heavy physical disabilities.
“Recently, in the United States and in Italy, the device that kept the patient alive was disconnected. Consequently, they died. In my opinion, this is a case of intolerance.
When I volunteered in England at a center that provided holidays for disabled, I looked after a young man who was completely paralyzed and could only move his eyes. He lay on a stretcher. I still remember his name, Neil. I asked the nurse how to feed him.
“You have to spoon-feed him as if he were a little bird. When he wants to say yes, he raises his eyes, and when he wants to say no, he lowers his eyes. It’s easy,” the nurse answered.
“So I did. At the beginning the spoonful I gave him was too big. He couldn’t swallow the food and coughed. By and by, I found the proper mouthful, and he ate quietly. He was not able to smile, for every part of his body was paralyzed, but looking at his eyes, I noticed he was happy at that moment.
According to some, people like Neil should be eliminated as they suffer. This opinion springs from an incorrect concept of happiness. They think that only good fitness gives rise to happiness. This assumption has no evidence. It may be refuted. There are the eyes of the body, and the eyes of the soul. The latter enjoy when they see someone taking care of their body.
Every now and then in human history, there are great souls, like Izzy Asper. Thanks to them the world goes on.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind



In my hometown, I didn’t have the possibility to practice Shikido. The nearest Shikido center was in the north of Italy, almost a thousand kilometers away. But I didn’t want to give up martial arts. So, I went to a Tekkido center, another martial art, different from Shikido, but equally useful and instructive.
Unlike Shikido, Tekkido was based upon precise and rapid movements. Attending the classes, I was under the impression that Tekkido mostly consisted of movements of the wrist. The first principle was to attain the maximum result through the minimum effort. Tekkido was helpful to me. Like Shikido, its purpose is to strengthen the body and mind. There were some exercises that couldn’t be done if one looked at the opponent.
“Never look at the opponent; otherwise, he will eat your soul!” the teacher used to repeat.
I applied this teaching to my daily life. Before, I was conditioned by the public’s eyes on me. Because of that conditioning, I was not natural in front of others. When I went to dance in a public dance hall on Saturday night, I was embarrassed with the thought that others were watching me. After a few Tekkido lessons, I felt freer and more comfortable.
Without caring about others’ eyes, I danced much better. I was relaxed and enjoyed myself! Since then, I have acted and lived in my own way, without looking at others, that is, without caring what others think about me.
Another exercise was to move the body backward swiftly at the very moment when the opponent launched his attack. If you moved back too early or too late, the opponent would succeed in hitting you. That also happens in life, not only in human society, but also in the animal world. Every action, either to defend or to attack, has to be done at the right moment. The hare that wants to escape the attack of an eagle crouches down motionless and waits for the very moment when the eagle is about to clutch it with its claws. Then, all of a sudden, the hare moves sideways. If the hare wants to survive, it has to move at the exact moment when the raptor is very close. Since the eagle dives very fast, it can’t change the direction of its dive at the last moment. The hare owes its salvation to her waiting for the exact time to move aside. Moving too early or too late would be fatal to it.
This principle is also valid in daily life. From then on, I have tried to be not too early or too late in seizing the opportunities that life offers to me. By acting at the right time, I can avoid bad luck and also meet good luck on time.
This is an excerpt from Travels of the Mind
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind






Then, we did another variation of the ‘seaweed and the wave.’ Both partners imagined being under the sea. They had to move continually like seaweeds. It wasn’t needed to wait that one touched the other with his hand to draw back and wave sinuously. In other words, one should move regardless of the partner’s action to touch him or not. This exercise made me think that we should live our lives autonomously, regardless of external stimuli. It is important to have a strong and stable mind, which doesn’t depend on the circumstances of life.
A long time ago, I thought that to solve my inner problems I should have a house in the countryside, live in the nature, and breathe fresh air. So, I purchased a plot of land and built a house on it, a big house with many rooms. At the beginning, it seemed that something was about to change in my life. I felt satisfied to have built such a big house. I became very diligent. I improved the soil and planted many young trees and grapevines.
Nevertheless, little by little, I became aware that the new house couldn’t calm my inner discomfort. A few years later, I sold the house and moved to a luxurious apartment in town. There, I felt uncomfortable after one or two years. I wanted to spend my life near the sea, but I didn’t feel like moving again. Instead, I decided to travel somewhere.
In ancient Rome, there was a similar character who moved from one place to another all over the world. He hoped that a new environment would bring him good luck. Coming across him, the Latin poet Horatio said to him, ‘Caelum, non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.’ It means, ‘They change their sky, not their soul, who rush across the sea.’ Although the place where we live changes, that is, the sky changes, our mind is the same. Therefore, the way to overcome our trouble comes from inside ourselves. We should rely on our inner strength and inner light without expecting any help from others.

Excerpt from Travels of the Mind
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind


My latest post, The Broken Dandelion, dates back to two years ago. I have not written anything since then because I have been engaged in writing my third book, A Hidden Sicilian History. Now I am here again to write down something interesting in my blog.

I am in Chiang Rai (Northern Thailand), in the countryside near a hot spring, called Pong Phrabat. The spring water is hot and smells of sulfur. It is said that it has healing properties, including the treatment of skin diseases.

A small spa with about ten bathtubs has been built on the site. In the early morning my wife and I use to lower ourselves into one of the womb-shaped bathtubs and relax in the water.

Lazing in the healing water, I recalled a friend of mine who suffers from a skin disease called vitiligo. It is non-contagious and not dangerous for body health, but it causes quite a few problems of aesthetic nature. It is characterized by loss of skin pigment and unsightly white blotches in the hands, face and other body parts. The renowned star Michael Jackson suffered from vitiligo. For this reason his skin lost its natural black color and turned white.

One day, surfing the internet I came across a book written by a guy who claimed to have gotten over his vitiligo. In the book you could find the rules and instructions to follow until complete healing. It was written in English. I was happy to have found a remedy for my friend, so I translated it into Italian – the language spoken by my friend – and presented him with the translated book.

I have found this book for you!” I said.

Thank you!” he answered, “I’ll read it, but I am convinced that vililigo is incurable. In fact, I have been hospitalized in a specialist clinic of Rome, which is advanced for the treatment of skin diseases. The doctors’ opinion was unanimous: there is no cure for vitiligo.”

Six months elapsed. Hence, I asked my friend if everything was OK. “Did you follow the instructions in the book I gave you?”

Not much! As I told you vitiligo has no cure.”

Okay, do as you like!” I said, “but allow me to tell you an old story I heard some time ago.”

Once upon a time, in a faraway land there was a rich merchant. He was very fond of his wife and child. Nevertheless, he often moved from one country to another to sell his goods, and had to stay away from his beloved family for long periods.”

While he was trading abroad, pillagers burst into his house. They killed his wife and abducted his child.”

A month passed, and the merchant went back home. In the courtyard he found a little human body, which was charred and unidentifiable, but he was sure that it was his son’s dead body. He picked up the little corpse, put it into a box and prayed in front of it every day.”

Fifteen years went by. In the meanwhile, his son succeeded in escaping from his abductors and returned home one night. He knocked on the main door and besought his parent to open it, but his father was unshakable; he was convinced that his son was the charred little body that he had found in the courtyard long time ago, and now his real son seemed to him to be a robber. He didn’t open the door. His son knocked and knocked until he gave up and went away.”

The moral of the tale is intuitive: we humans cling to fixed ideas, which we erroneously believe to be absolute truth. Sometimes, we had better open our mind, trying alternative ways, leaving aside prejudice and preconceived ideas.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind