THE HAREM OF TOPKAPI PALACE IN ISTANBUL

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Topkapi Palace was the residence of the Ottoman sultans for many centuries. It is said that almost 10.000 people lived in this palace to attend the sultan, who had about five hundred wives and many concubines. Black eunuchs supervised the harem. Every day a huge amount of food was cooked in the very large kitchen for the sultan and his court.

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Visiting Topkapi Palace, I asked myself, ‘Was the sultan happy?’ I don’t think so. A harem, although it is made of the most beautiful women in the world, cannot give happiness. Human desires are insatiable!

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I also asked myself, ‘What was the criterion to select the women for the sultan?’ Of course, it was physical beauty. They didn’t select women according to their wisdom or heart. In my opinion, it was a wrong criterion of selection. An intelligent and wise woman that really loves you is more worth than five hundred beautiful women with no heart!
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

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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

THE NOBLEMEN DISCUSS THE NATURE OF LOVE

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In The old Club of the Noblemen, lawyer Giovanni got up from his armchair and turned to Alberto.
“You are an old dreamer, Alberto! Youngsters look for pure and everlasting love, not old men like you! The love between a man and a woman doesn’t exist at all. It is just illusion. What happens between them is just sexual attraction. Many people think they have found their ideal partner. But then, being attracted by someone else, either younger or more beautiful, they end up leaving the former lover to join the new one! Love is not stable. It exists only in our dreams. True love should last forever. But what we call love vanishes sooner or later, and we move from one partner to another. Often, when a relationship ends, what seemed to be a great love turns into hatred. How many lovers swore eternal love first, and then it becomes eternal hatred! Is this love? I don’t think so! For me, love is just hormonal compatibility.”
“Sometimes,” said Uncle Salvatore, “love is more than hormonal attraction. It is also affection. First, we are attracted by the partner’s shape, but gradually, our love grows more and more. I don’t think that only affection or only sex exists. Love is a mixture of affection and sex. In human love, we need both of them.”
“What is love for you?” Mario asked Uncle Salvatore.
“For me, love is like two wings of an eagle.”
“What kind of answer is that?” said Judge Cangemi.
“An eagle can’t fly with only one wing, so unilateral love is not possible. Love needs two living beings who exchange their love each other. If only one person loves and the other is indifferent, love is not possible. Altruistic and unselfish love is platonic. Every love is a mixture of altruism and egoism. If love is only altruism, it is not love. It is like asking an eagle to fly with only one wing. It can’t do that. But with two wings, it can soar so high that no other birds can reach it. Love is like that, it requires two beings who love each other. I don’t believe in unreciprocated love. It is useless and a waste of energy.”
“There are some kinds of unilateral love!” said old Judge Cangemi, raising his index finger to give much solemnity to his assertion. “Try and imagine the love of Jesus for humankind. It is a typical example of unilateral love. Jesus loved human beings, and his love was repaid with flagellation, mockery, and crucifixion.”
“Objection!” said lawyer Giovanni, irritated and sure of himself. “Jesus’s love was altruistic, not unilateral. It was reciprocated and deeply returned. Think of the apostles or the women who cried desperately at the foot of the cross, or the many Christians who were martyred under Jesus’s name. If Jesus’s love had not been repaid, his death would have been nonsense. However, I don’t want to talk about mystic love, but about the love which happens between a man and a woman — conventional love. I want to know why almost always a man falls in love with a beautiful and pretty woman, not with an ugly one. Why is external appearance so important? Love should concern the soul, but it involves the body, the shape of the body. Why?”
“I can give you the proper answer,” said Lorenzo, the classic literature teacher. “In ancient Greece, love was called ‘the smile of life’ and beauty ‘the smile of the earth.’ Both smiles were embodied by Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty. She was born from the sea foam. Her beauty enchanted the gods of Olympus. We human beings are allured by the harmony of the forms like the ancient pagan gods. We don’t like ugliness. We are reluctant to fall in love with an ugly woman. But beauty and grace are not enough for the birth of love. It needs something more. Lovers should open their hearts to each other and enjoy staying together. If they can do so, they feel natural and comfortable. This feeling goes beyond physical appearance or sex. If you look for your partner only for sex, that is not love. It is the basis of love to feel joyful and grateful when you stay close to your beloved.
“In Greek mythology, Eros, Aphrodite’s son, symbolizes love. He embodies changeable, blind, and irrational love. Eros is blindfolded and winged. He shoots arrows into the hearts of humans to make them fall in love.
“The mystery of love is contained in the myth of Eros and Psyche. Psyche was a very beautiful girl. Eros fell in love with her. In the nighttime, he met her in a house in the middle of the forest, without ever revealing his appearance. ‘If you don’t see me,’ said Eros, ‘our love will last; otherwise, it will vanish like snow in the hot sun.’ But, Psyche couldn’t resist the temptation of seeing her lover. So, one night, while Eros was sleeping, she saw the extraordinary beauty of her man in the light of an oil lamp. Yet, a drop of hot oil from the lamp fell on Eros’s shoulder. Suddenly, he woke up and disappeared. Psyche
couldn’t see him anymore! The meaning of the myth is clear. You can’t understand love or observe it too closely. If you try to know what love is, it will vanish. You just have to live love without ever asking what it is. Love is a mystery! Just live the mystery!”
“For me,” said Mario, “there must be something rational in love. Someone says that love is an art that can be learned and understood.”
“I don’t think so,” replied Lorenzo. “If love were an art to be learned, lovers would have realized how to make their love last forever. Yet, it is not like that. Almost all loves end up extinguishing sooner or later, like fire that flames at first, but with time burns out.
“Someone thinks that it is possible to use some techniques to make a person fall in love. I don’t think so. Love is attraction and feeling. I think no technique can make a person love somebody. The biggest mistake one can make is to consider love as a safe haven to live happily and serenely for all life. Love is unstable!
“However things are, it is certain that you can’t buy love. Even the rich and the potent can’t buy it with their money and power. So, love is the peak of justice because it doesn’t make any distinction between the rich and the poor, the weak and the potent.”
“Nevertheless, I will keep traveling and looking for my ideal soul mate. I won’t give up, even if I can’t find her until the end of my life. I will always cherish in my mind the hope
that somewhere I will find a woman who suits me. Someday, my eternal love will appear to me definitely,” Alberto said sincerely.
“Don’t search for love outside yourself! You won’t find it!” said Judge Cangemi. “Love is a state of your being! If you become love, everything is love. If you are not love, you can’t find love outside. To find the real eternal love is illusion! You’d better try to become love yourself!”
“I agree with Judge Cangemi,” concluded Uncle Salvatore. “Yes, love is important in our life, but I think the most important journey is to search after the immortal soul and the source of our frail but precious life.”
For about fifteen minutes, the lounge of The old Club of the Noblemen fell silent. No one had any intention of standing up. The theme ‘love’ had stirred up their buried emotions.
They were all old men. Many years had gone by since the first date with the loved girlfriend, the first kiss to her. But, time couldn’t wither their hearts. Love has no age. It is timeless and boundless. Love is the source of life in the universe.
The keeper of the club came near the small group of members.
“Sorry to disturb you all. It’s time to close,” he said with
submissive voice.
“Yes, let’s go home!” said Uncle Salvatore.
Everybody stood up and headed for the exit of the club. The keeper lowered the shutter. The last part of the day was painted with a conversation about love. Tomorrow, another story of life would be continued.

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

MY LAST DAY IN GUATEMALA

 

MY LAST DAY IN GUATEMALA

First of all, I went to the Volunteer House to check out and receive my certificate.
Then, I walked to Saint Francis Church to meditate a few minutes in front of the statue of San Benito of Palermo.
This Franciscan saint is popular in South America. He is considered the protector of colored people. In fact, he was a refugee from Ethiopia adopted by a Sicilian family.
Walking in the street, I came across a family of musicians. They played good melodies with their old rudimentary instruments. Although they didn’t go to music school, they have a natural sense of rhythm.
Tomorrow, I am leaving to Korea. From one continent to another. I like traveling throughout the world, so as the musicians of Antigua enjoy playing their instruments.
Unfortunately, I cannot travel beyond the borders of this world. If it were possible, I would definitely do!
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 FOG IN ARAMBOL

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THE FOG IN ARAMBOL

At dawn, I went to the beach for my usual jogging. It was a foggy day, and the sun seemed to be unwilling to rise.

As I jogged on the beach, I felt like running amid the clouds. It was as if maya (illusion) mixed reality with dream.

Then, I recalled an experience that happened to the Chinese master, Chuang-tzu.

Last night,” he said, “I dreamed to be a butterfly. Now, I don’t know if I am a man who dreamed to be a butterfly or a butterfly that dreams to be a man.”

I sympathize with him. We cannot be sure if we are living a real life or we are dreaming.

Anyway, how about following the way our heart directs us? It cannot lead us astray.
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 FROG IN THE WELL

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THE FROG IN THE WELL

Once upon a time, a family of frogs lived in a well. Every day they were waked by the sun. The well got light for a short time and then turned dark again. Down there the sun appeared and disappeared soon.

A young frog wanted to know from where the sun came and where it went to.

To solve the mystery, he needed to get out of the well. What to do! The well was narrow and deep. His hind legs were too weak to jump over it. It seemed impossible for him to see daylight. But the young frog was steadfast and optimistic.

Every day he trained for the high jump.

Some day, I will be able to make a very high jump which will take me out of this goddam well.” He said to himself.

By practicing day by day, finally he was able to take a great jump and get out of the well.

Now I will follow the sun to see from where it comes and where it goes to.”

He kept jumping to follow the sun, until at last he returned to the same place where he had started his traveling.

Meanwhile, his families had succeeded in coming out of the well and now they were sitting silently keeping their eyes closed near the well.

He got near his brother and whispered in his ear, “What are you doing here motionless and with closed eyes?”

We are meditating. We are watching inside ourselves. Where have you been?”

I have traveled all over the world to see from where the sun comes and where it goes to.”

Did you discover anything?”

No, I didn’t. I don’t know anything about the sun.”

I know everything about it.”

How is it possible?”

I watch my breathing, then inside myself. Gradually I come to know who I am. You can do the same. Just watch yourself and you’ll find the sun inside you.”

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

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

WHOEVER WINS, NOTHING WILL CHANGE FOR ORDINARY PEOPLE

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WHOEVER WINS, NOTHING WILL CHANGE FOR ORDINARY PEOPLE

After Donald Trump won the American elections, many people were frightened, stock markets collapsed, while his supporters enjoyed the victory of a man who appeared to be away from party political games.

Will the world change after Trump’s victory? For ordinary people nothing will change!

The poor will remain poor, the rich rich, the weak weak, the sufferer will continue to suffer, and so on. In other words, whether Clinton had won or Trump, neither of them would have been able to give you a guarantee of happiness and success. Our good or bad luck depends on ourselves, not on external circumstances. Politicians change, but we will always remain the same, with our weaknesses and small victories.

What matters is the inner strength and energy that each one possesses. With this we can better ourselves and the world, without expecting much from those who rule countries.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

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