THE HISTORY OF INDIVIDUALS

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Everyone has a unique history and a special life. Some people— prophets, great philosophers, musicians, artists, kings, heroes, and so on—have left a mark on the books of history. Good or evil, the ones who have stood out are remembered by posterity; people like Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin, and others. At their demise, the lives of ordinary people are like dead leaves swept away by the wind when fall arrives. They sink into oblivion as history pays them no mind. In addition to the history of individuals, there is that of nations, but no book can include the biographies of all the people who formed the nations of the world.
In truth, if it were possible to write an enormous book of history, it should record the life stories of everyone who has populated the earth through the centuries and millennia, for each living being has something different and particular to say, often worthy of being handed down through the generations.

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
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

SICILY UNDER THE SPANISH: THE INQUISITION

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The main difference between the Medieval Inquisition and the Spanish Inquisition is that the former was directed by the Pope, while the latter was under the authority of the king of Spain, who enforced the Inquisition’s rules not only in Spain but also in the Spanish possessions like Sicily, Sardinia, and Mexico. Spanish kings used the Inquisition not only to judge heretics and witches, but also to get rid of their political opponents, on the pretext they were heretics.
One of the most atrocious instruments of torture was that called “the mouse.” The inquisitor inserted a live mouse into the vagina or the anus of the person suspected of heresy or witchcraft. The head of the small rodent was directed towards the inner organs of the prisoner. Sometimes the anus or the vagina was stitched closed. The little animal, striving to find a way out, penetrated the victim’s body, scratching and biting it, provoking shooting pain.

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
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY VISIT TO MONTE PELLEGRINO (PALERMO)

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To go to Monte Pellegrino, I drove towards Mondello and took the panoramic road that leads to the top of the mountain. The road was full of sharp U-bends.
“I feel dizzy if I look down,” Giuseppina said.
At the end of the winding road we arrived at a square. From there, a flight of steps led to the Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia, also called the Santuzza, who is the patron saint of Palermo.
It is said that in 1624, when the plague was causing many deaths in Palermo, Rosalia appeared to a shooter and led him to the cave on Mount Pellegrino, where her bones could be found. Then she asked him to take her bones to Palermo to be carried in a procession along the streets. The hunter did what Santa Rosalia wished and, after her remains were carried in procession three times, the plague ended. From then on, Santa Rosalia has been the patron saint of Palermo.
The sanctuary was inside the cave where Santa Rosalia’s remains were found. Entering the cave, I was enchanted by the silent atmosphere. The German poet Wolfgang Goethe, who visited the place, described Monte Pellegrino as the most beautiful promontory in the world.
Not far from the entrance of the cave were some votive offerings from people who had been granted a blessing. Going forward, my attention was attracted by the drops that came from the top of the cave. The drops were canalized on thin silvery metal sheets to a basin, and were used to fill the holy water stoup at the entrance of the church. I don’t know why, but I had the sensation that the dripping water was teardrops, as if that holy cave were shedding tears for me.
At the end of the cave was a marble statue portraying the Immaculate Conception. I genuflected and, watching Mary’s statue, asked her to lead us in the best way according to her will. Unfortunately, Giuseppina and I couldn’t escape our fate!
Before long, a thunderbolt would fall on us.
At that moment, I recalled one of my mother’s poems that I had read when I had found Vincenzo’s diary.
LIFE
We were sitting on our stone staircase.
What is life? I asked my siblings.
“Life is breathing,” answered Biagio. “Even trees
breathe.”
“Life is a tiny bird on a small branch,” said Vincenzo.
“Unexpectedly the sprig snaps,
and the little bird flies away.”
“As for me,” replied Carolina, “life is a dream,
sometimes beautiful and often nightmarish.”
“Life is destiny!” I ended off. “It is a beautiful drawing
on the sand,
and the drawer already knows when the tide will
erase it.”

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
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

AUM, THE BASIC SOUND OF LIFE

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“Yes, he was a pure spirit who loved music. I asked him, ‘I want to know something more about the sound OM.’ He answered, ‘AUM, pronounced OM, is the basic sound of life. When you utter OM, your energy level increases. The sound OM creates silence. It’s not a common sound. It’s the sound of silence. When you are listening to good music, it takes you to silence because you feel relaxed. It seems a paradox, but the sound of music takes you to silence. In India, people believe that the sound OM already exists in the universe. You can hear it when you are silent.’
“I asked him, ‘You said that if you tune the C-sharp of the harmonium to OM, the effect is increased when you sing it. Is it right?’ ‘You can use any note, but the lower notes like the C-sharp are better. If you sing the mantra OM every day, you’ll feel energetic and get into silence. When you are silent, you can get rid of what disturbs your mind, and then you can think more clearly. If you are not silent, the clouds and the garbage keep moving in your mind and you can’t think or act properly. First, you have to throw out your inner garbage, and then you can get peace of mind. My teacher who taught me to play the sitar is eighty-two years old, but he looks young and his face radiates good energy, for he plays music every day. If you play music, your heart never gets old.’

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TO BE AND TO BEHAVE

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“Yes, gibberish helped me to clean my mind and meet my authentic being. Not only by doing gibberish, but also by studying, traveling, and attending religious meetings, I realized that what I am and how I act are not the same thing. You can be a good person but sometimes act badly, and vice versa, good actions can come from a wicked person sometimes.
“Therefore, don’t try to change your nature, rather change your actions! Accept whoever you are and don’t suppress your nature. Instead, try to act well. Your shortcomings are a part of yourself. ‘What I am is nothing, what I do is everything,’ someone said. What a person is and what a person does can be likened to the fruits of a tree. It is not important that a tree is good or bad, short or tall, upright or bent. What matters is that it brings forth good fruits.”
“Your opinion, Uncle Salvatore, doesn’t match with Jesus’s teachings. According to Matthew’s Gospel, it seems to be impossible that a bad tree can produce good fruits, and vice versa. Do you agree with Jesus?”
“Not much. Despite the great love I have for Jesus, I want to keep my opinion intact. On the other hand, all good masters set their disciples free to think in their own way. I think Jesus also allows me to express my opinion.”
“So, don’t I need to change myself?”
“Don’t change yourself, Benedetto! You must accept yourself as you are. A human being is like a beautiful painting with a variety of gradations and a myriad of colors. For instance, if you don’t like the color black and cut it off from the painting, it loses its originality and harmony of colors. If you change your nose, teeth, shyness, impulsiveness, and so on, you will be a different person, quite different from the original yourself.”
“I think the same goes for society.”
“Yes, Benedetto! The world is like a gigantic tapestry. Its weaving shows all the figures existing on Earth. There are vicious and meek animals, all kinds of plants, good and wicked people, and so on. Seen from the sky, the tapestry is fantastic. When you cut out what you dislike, for instance, mice, spiders, wild animals, bad people, and so on, many figures will disappear from the tapestry. It will be a different tapestry and will lose its unique beauty and splendor.”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

A QUESTION TO A WOULD-BE INITIATE

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“The forth question was, ‘What is your void?’ At first, I couldn’t understand the grand master’s question. I mulled it over for a while, and then I realized that my void meant a gap inside myself, or something that bothered me, or even an unresolved problem. Then I decided to open my heart, but I thought that none of them would understand me.
“I answered, ‘I can’t distinguish dream from reality. Like Chuang-Tzu, last night I dreamed I was a butterfly. Now I don’t know whether I was a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. I see reality and dream as an indistinct whole. Everything seems confused or unclear to my eyes. I see houses, streets, people, and events as if they were surrounded by a dense fog. This is my void. I want to see people as they are, not through my confused mind or an illusion that distorts my relationships with them. I want to have a clear mind so that I can have self-confidence when I decide to do something. Before making a decision, I often hesitate too long, and then I don’t do what I want to do. Sometimes I am like Buridan’s donkey, which stood between a haystack on the right and a pail of water on the left. The donkey couldn’t decide whether to drink water or to eat hay first. At the end it died of starvation and thirst.’”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

A LITTLE TASTE OF ESOTERICISM

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“As if by magic, suddenly the whole square swarmed with cars. The plates showed that they came from all over Sicily, many from Palermo and Catania. Everybody got out of the car and gave one another very friendly kisses. I noticed that their way of greeting and kissing was unusual. It was as if they had a secret sign to recognize and greet one another. If I had seen only a couple of them acting in that way, I would have missed the details. But since all of them kissed one another on the cheeks in the same way, I inferred that there was something unusual in them…

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words – second edition- by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

THE RECIPE FOR PASTA WITH TOMATOES

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“I chop the green onions into small pieces and fry them for a few minutes with olive oil. Then I add salt, peeled tomatoes, and a half teaspoon of sugar. This small amount of sugar is very important, because it removes the sourness of the tomato. Finally, I season the sauce with two teaspoons of raw olive oil and some basil. Our traditional Sicilian basil has small leaves. The fragrance of this basil is unique. But the real secret is these three things: first, to have good ingredients, second, to love cooking, and third, to love those who you are cooking for. In the end, love is the basis of everything, including cooking!”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words – second edition- by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

LET’S TALK VIBRATIONS

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“The first time I came across resonance and vibrations was after I bought my first SPA truck. I have talked about that truck in the first part of my memoir. Do you remember?”
“Yes, of course, Uncle Salvatore. But what does your truck have to do with resonance? Are you going off the subject again?”
“No. Let me tell what happened. Can you see those two small windows? Well, whenever I warmed up my truck’s engine in the square in front of my house, leaving it on and in neutral, my mother leaned out of the terrace and shouted, ‘Salvatore! Turn off the engine! The windowpanes are rattling because of your truck!’
“I looked up at my mother with surprise, doubting her words. Maybe my mother doesn’t want me to drive this truck. Surely she is making an excuse, I thought. Actually, she didn’t like new technology. Furthermore, she was always worried about me when I drove my truck.
“One day I left the truck idle with the engine in neutral, the brakes on, and four big wedges against the wheels, and then I went to the kitchen where my mother was cooking. All the windowpanes were rattling! My eyes grew round. My blood froze. How is it possible? There is something eerie behind the rattling, I thought. ‘Go and sell that goddamn truck right away! It doesn’t bring us good energy. I don’t feel good with this rattling,’ said my mother with an angry face.”
“Uncle Salvatore, insofar as I know, windowpanes are thick and well-set in the window frames. It is impossible that they can rattle.”
“Seventy years ago, windowpanes were thinner than nowadays. Furthermore, they lay a little bit loose in the grooves of the windows.”
“I get chills of fear, Uncle Salvatore. What did you do to solve the mystery?”
“At that time, I had a friend who helped me with debt collection. He was a lawyer and also a member of an esoteric society. He had studied the occult for a long time. I had an
appointment with him. I wanted to entrust him with two past due bills so that he could recover my money. His house was Baroque style, opposite the Palace of Prefecture. After I entered at the iron gate, a path, flanked by flowering plants and deciduous trees, led me to the main door. The house served as his office as well, which was in a large room on the left after the entrance. His desk was very simple, compared with the magnificence of the house. The windows of the room were adorned with reddish colored drapes. Opposite the desk were a couch and an upright black piano. The lawyer, Bruno, was quite tall, had an olive complexion and black, bright eyes. When he was in court, he pleaded his cases with great enthusiasm and heart. He was a handsome man married to a blue-blooded woman.
“We talked about the bills for a while, and then I brought up my issue. ‘Bruno, something strange happens to my house when my truck is in neutral with the engine on. The windowpanes in the kitchen rattle. The windows are a little far from my truck. How is it possible? You have been studying the occult for a long time. Tell me the reason. Do evil spirits haunt my house?’
“While I was talking, Bruno smiled and glanced at me mischievously as if I were one of his peasant clients with their heads full of superstitions. ‘Don’t be afraid! There are no
ghosts in your house. Now, I’ll show you something unusual.’
“He got up from his chair behind the desk, headed for the piano, sat on the piano stool, and tapped on one key. Then he turned his head back to me. His black eyes were bright like those of a little boy. ‘Now, pay attention to what I am doing. Look at the thin crystal hanging from the chandelier. I will tap the F-sharp key, and then the thin crystal will vibrate.’
“I kept my eyes fixed on the chandelier, but I was quite skeptical. I doubted that the crystal would vibrate without touching it. Bruno hit a key, and then the thin crystal vibrated like a leaflet in the wind. ‘Can you see?’ ‘Yes, of course!’ I answered with open mouth. ‘Now I’ll play a piece of music. Keep your eyes fixed on the crystal while I am playing the piano. Tell me whether it vibrates or not.’
“This time the thin crystal remained still. Apparently, only when Bruno hit the F-sharp key would it vibrate. ‘There is nothing diabolic,’ said Bruno. ‘It is a physical phenomenon. Including human voice, every sound creates vibrations which are propagated through sound waves that can even cross walls. A part of the vibrations comes back to you through reflection. Next time, instead of leaving the engine of your truck in neutral, rev it up a little. The windowpanes of the kitchen won’t rattle. After that, come here again. I will tell you something more about the interaction between sound and matter, music and religion, sound and the creation of the universe. I predict that your mother won’t shout anymore.’”
“It’s very interesting, Uncle Salvatore. Did you try what the lawyer told you?”
“Of course I did. I asked my mother to check the windowpanes. Then I parked the truck in front of my house as usual. I revved the engine a little bit. My mother leaned out of the terrace, and her face was quite relaxed and smiling. The windowpanes didn’t rattle!
“On Saturday evening, I met Bruno at his home again. As usual, he was very kind to me. We sat on the couch. A beautiful blond maid with a lacy white apron and white gloves brought us two cups of coffee on a silver tray. She waited until we finished our last sip. Then she put our empty cups on the tray and went out of the room with a slight bow. ‘Bruno, I did as you said. This time the windowpanes didn’t vibrate. Could you explain to me the reason?’ ‘Yes, of course. Wait a minute.’
“Bruno went to another room and came back with an old musical instrument that looked like a violin. ‘This instrument is called viola d’amore. Amore means love, but it has nothing to do with love. This kind of violin has fourteen strings. Seven strings are located in the upper part and seven below. The player of the viola d’amore plays only the strings on the upper plane, while those below vibrate in sympathy with the upper strings…

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words – second edition- by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

WHOLESOME BOOKS IMPROVE PEOPLE’S LIVES

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Any person of average intelligence, if he knows a particular field well, can write a thematic book easily, for instance, on gardening or on cooking. But things get complicated when he aims at expressing what he harbors in his heart. In this case, he has to find the proper words to convey his feelings and emotions. Words are supposed to
mirror the mind, but sometimes they misrepresent concepts and feelings. Some states of the soul are even inexpressible. It may also happen that written words are unclear and
inevitably give rise to misunderstanding.
In the past, whenever I attended important meetings, I worried about finding the right words to express my ideas. The same happened to me at school. When I was a student, sometimes I couldn’t express in words what I had in my mind. My difficulties were so great that a teacher of mine spurred me to answer his questions in the Sicilian dialect, because what mattered for him was the concept, not the form.
How does one start to write a book? I feel a fire inside myself, a volcano filled with magma ready to erupt. How can I turn my ideas and feelings into written words?
Once there was a great Italian poet who withdrew from the world. His name was Giacomo Leopardi. He was a nobleman. Secluded in the tower of his gorgeous manor house, he wrote wonderful poems.
Maybe I should do as he did to create good writing. I should isolate myself to write my book, I thought. I talked with a friend of mine, who was a critic, about literary work that springs from the solitude of the author. She said, “If you seclude yourself, your writing will not be good. It will be dead writing. Conversely, if you live in the world, you will write something good and interesting to readers.”
She went on, “Words are like seeds. If you sow good seeds, they will sprout and flower. If you sow bad seeds, they will produce poisonous weeds. Passing from mouth to mouth, from ear to ear, or from eye to eye, good words will spread their beneficial energy to the whole universe, while bad words will pollute the air. Words are like boomerangs. Good or evil, the fruits of your words will come back to you. So you have to be careful about what you write.”
I pondered on what my friend said. I recalled an episode that caused quite a stir in my hometown when I was a high school student. A girl had committed suicide in her car. I still remember her blue car and even the number plate. She had fired a gun against her head. A book was found close to her. She had read that book before committing suicide. Was it possible that the book she had read gave rise to her self-destruction? Suicide has many causes. In this case, one of the causes could have been the reading of that book, whose words were not favorable to life.
I want mine to be a living and wholesome book that generates good energy and improves the lives of those who will read it.
A friend of mine, who was a lawyer in Palermo, used to go to a bookstall and purchase a randomly chosen book. He said that a book bought by chance opened him to new horizons. Someday, if someone picks up my book randomly from a bookstall, he will come in contact with the vibrations of words.

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words – second edition- by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo