THE TRUTH ABOUT NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES

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“Once I felt better, I went back to work. I bought a new gas-fired boiler and stayed in that house a few months longer. In the evening I used to stroll in the street with Giuseppe and Umberto. ‘Have you ever heard about near-death experiences when one comes back to life after a deep coma?’ I asked Umberto. ‘Yes, Carl Gustav Jung told of his own near-death experience.’ ‘Some people have reported that they were in the light and felt bliss while they were dying. It is evidence of life after death.’ ‘No, it isn’t. The experience of a near-death happens inside, not in the external world. In other words, you can’t declare the existence of life after death on the basis of your dreams, reasoning, and thoughts which are confined inside yourself. I’ll give you an example. If you imagine or dream a hippogriff, a mythological creature that is half horse and half griffin, it doesn’t mean that hippogriffs really exist. The whole process of imagining or dreaming a hippogriff happens inside yourself. But that creature doesn’t exist in reality. The same goes for near-death experiences. The whole experience happens inside the dying man, not outside him. The paradise he thinks he sees outside him may not exist in reality,’ Umberto answered coldly.
“I was not convinced about his words and retorted that Descartes, a philosopher, proved the existence of God. But Umberto knew the topic well and answered without getting flustered. ‘Yes, you are right, but another philosopher, Emmanuel Kant, confuted Descartes’s theory. In Descartes’s reasoning, as well as in the reasoning of anyone who wants to prove the existence of God and life after death, there is an inexplicable gap between the logical and the ontological field.’ ‘Could you speak more plainly so that I can understand?’ ‘Yes. You can’t extrapolate the reality from an idea or reasoning. It is not correct to reason that as there is a creature, then there must be a creator. In fact, reasoning can never give existence to a being in reality. If you dream of being a rich and powerful man, you will discover that you don’t have those attributes when you wake up. In your dreams your mind creates objects that will disappear when you awake.’

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

HOW TO SOLVE INNER PROBLEMS

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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 anymore. 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…

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

MARTIAL ARTS TO STRENGTHEN BODY AND MIND

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

WHAT IS A PLACEBO?

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Without a doubt, Shikido produces positive effects on the body and mind. In regard to me, it made me more open to others and steadier. Is it possible that these positive effects are due to autosuggestion rather than to the real effectiveness of the discipline? What is autosuggestion? What is the difference between reality and illusion, waking and dreaming, existence and vacuity?
When I was about twenty years old, one night my Belgian friend, Brigitte, gave me an effective pill to sleep peacefully. It worked perfectly, and I slept well all night. The following day, she showed me the capsules that seemed to contain the drug inside. But they were all empty. The pill I had taken was also empty! I didn’t know it. Nonetheless, it was effective to me. Did the same happen with regard to Shikido?
What is the criterion that makes us distinguish between reality and illusion? In pharmacology, the effectiveness of drugs is often tested through a placebo. Without their knowing, a group of patients is given a dose of a placebo drug while another group receives the real drug. Even though the placebo contains nothing effective, it often produces the same effect as the actual drug. Sometimes, so-called magicians, healers, and
clairvoyants provoke a placebo effect in their clients who are really convinced of benefiting from them. Do meditation and prayer produce placebo effects as well?
When I attended secondary school, before a written test, I entered the church and lit a small candle to Saint Joseph. My grandmother told me that, if the flame of the candle was
brilliant, the result of the test would be good, but if it was feeble or flickering, the result would be not good. Almost always what my grandmother said happened to me! Was it a placebo effect?
In ancient times, predictions were sometimes gotten through the observation of the flight of birds or their entrails. In Greece, the Delphian oracle was renowned. It seems that its predictions were infallible. But we can’t know whether it was true or not. For some people, even stigmata are the fruit of autosuggestion.
How to distinguish illusion from reality? Once, a friend of mine gave me his answer on this topic.
“I can state, with absolute certainty, that everything we can touch, see, and hear through our senses is true and real.”
The answer is only partially correct. At that time, I felt that his opinion was materialistic. There are many invisible truths. Senses are connected to the mind, which rules them. We sense things through the filter of the mind. So, how can we be sure that what we see, touch, and listen to corresponds to the absolute, true, and ultimate reality? We can’t know the truth! This is the human condition! From this basis, the path of knowledge has to proceed toward the search for another dimension where we can perceive the ‘source of the universe’ from which reality derives.

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

CAN WE CONTROL OUR MINDS?

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Lorenzo, the classic literature teacher, broke in on Mario’s story, allowing him to get his breath back . . .
“The guilt complex was largely treated and described in their mythology by the Greeks. Orestes, Agamemnon’s son, committed an awful crime; he killed his mother Clytemnestra. The Erinyes or Furies, who symbolized remorse, haunted him for all his life.”
“I have been plagued by the Erinyes as well,” Mario said, turning pale, “because of my fatal fault. Nevertheless, Orestes committed his crime with intention and premeditation, fully conscious.”
“That’s wrong!” Giovanni, the criminal lawyer objected. “Intentional crime doesn’t exist. All human actions are unintentional. They derive from the frailty of the human being. The external world is like a picture painted by the mind. If it is calm and serene, the painting will be magnificent. Yet, if the mind is uneasy and suffering, it will paint an ugly picture.”
“Do you mean that intentional actions and free will don’t exist?”
“I don’t want to arrive at such a conclusion. Nevertheless, I can say that almost all my clients in the prisons are ignorant with uneasy and dull minds. It is rare to find a scholar in jail. That means that crime is mostly caused by ignorance and fault. Hence, where is the intention? Where is the conscious mind? Everything depends upon our mind. But who controls the mind? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it is I who controls my mind. Or is it my mind that controls itself? If it is so, I want to know how. If the mind is fidgety, how can it calm itself down? And, if it is peaceful, how can it keep itself calm? It is not possible that the controller and the controlled coexist at the same time. Therefore, we can’t think about the mind that controls itself.”
“It is obvious that it is the ego that controls the mind. So, I can say, with absolute certainty, that at this very moment I, Lorenzo, am controlling my mind, keeping it either calm or uneasy according to my will.”
The discussion in the lounge of The Club of the Noblemen became animate. My Uncle Salvatore also joined in.
“That is not exact!” he said. “If it were true that I can control my mind I would never allow it to become uneasy or dull because I would turn against myself by doing that. Nobody chooses to have a restless or a dull mind. It follows that I can’t control my mind. However, I want to know whether the mind is something material or immaterial. Where is it in our body? Inside the head? Or in another place of the body? Is it just an illusion? Maybe only the body exists, ruled by its brain. Nothing else, nothing else!”
“It is possible,” replied Giovanni, “that the mind or soul, whatever you like to call it, doesn’t exist at all. In this case, we are composed of two elements: the body and the ego, which I define as self-perception, self-consciousness, or the thought of ‘I am.’ I wonder, where is the ego that decides, acts, has self-awareness, and aims even at surviving physical death? Is it inside the brain? Inside the heart? Near the heart? We don’t know. It
is invisible. How can we know? If you know something about this, tell me! Anyway, my opinion is that we act unconsciously and are not fully aware of what we do. Therefore, we can’t label ourselves guilty or not guilty, good or bad. Good and evil don’t exist indeed. We act out of ignorance and unconsciousness.”

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

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