BOOKS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

LOOKING FOR WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

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Nobody knows why mental illness occurs. Doctors can treat only the symptoms but not the cause of deviant behavior. But surely, there is something that triggers the mechanism of abnormality. What could that cause be? Do external circumstances or other people give rise to the weakening of mental faculties? Or, in some manner, even without willing it, are we ourselves the ones who cause our disease? Are we already born with our sick brain and mind, or does our illness develop little by little as we live our life? To what degree have outside events affected us, and how much have we ourselves contributed to our disease?

Each one of us is able to know his own mind, not that of others. Supposed knowledge of others’ minds is just the fruit of analogy, since mental and logical processes are the same in all humans.
I intend to set out on a journey through my mind to find out the cause of my anxiety and depression, so others also will be able to do the same by analogy. Let me start my travel from the beginning, that is, from my childhood to my teens.

This is an excerpt from Travels of the Mind 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

WHAT AGORAPHOBIA IS

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“Since I was a child, I had suffered from anxiety. It was so much that I couldn’t stand in crowded places. My disease is called agoraphobia. The etymology of the word agoraphobia is from Greek. Agora means square and phobia means fear. So agoraphobia is fear of open spaces and often of any place outside home. The agoraphobic feel comfortable only within their domestic walls. In more serious cases, they can’t leave their home.
“Agoraphobia includes fear of traveling. The world is seen as a minefield. One often feels faint while one is outside home. The more the agoraphobic strive to be normal and at ease, the more this effort of will turns into tension, cold perspiration, and accelerated heartbeats. Apparently, behind agoraphobia there is something related to the relationship with others. Conditioning by religion, society, and family is buried deep in the mind, and it generates a permanent conflict between repression and expression of emotions and feelings. I felt my conflict was unbearable. Accordingly, I fled the external world and withdrew to my home and the office of my haulage company to feel better. I was tortured by a huge ambivalence. On the one hand, I wanted to live my life fully, going out and walking freely on the streets, squares, and crowded places. On the other hand, I felt dizzy outside my home and my office, as if I were about to faint.
“Uncle Salvatore, I didn’t know about your disease. It looks very serious. How did you overcome your agoraphobia?”
“I was helped by the divinity that sent me persons as healers and teachers. Events don’t happen by chance. Our path of life has already been designed by an invisible entity that leads us along the way. An invisible and subtle thread led me to Osho. ‘Please, St. Michael the Archangel, help me and make it possible for me to walk the streets without anxiety and panic attacks!’ I prayed to St. Michael the Archangel when his statue passed by me during the procession on July second.”
“What happened to you afterwards, Uncle Salvatore? Did St. Michael the Archangel answer your prayer?”
“I can just say that from that day on, my life started to change for the better. I met many masters. Little by little, I could get over my anxiety and panic attacks.”

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 BORDER BETWEEN SANITY AND INSANITY

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“I think, Uncle Salvatore, it is not difficult to behave like a madman, because the boundary between insanity and sanity is like thin paper.”
“Yes. The border between sanity and insanity is not based on the quality of abnormal behavior, but rather on the quantity of behavioral abnormalities. In other words, everyone has a certain amount of garbage inside. Madmen have more garbage than those with a normal mind. Neurotics are halfway between sanity and insanity, for they have a lot of garbage inside, but it is not enough to make them cross over the border to madness.”
“You say, Uncle Salvatore, that the state of the human mind depends on the quantity of garbage inside. Can you give me an example for me to understand better?”
“Yes, of course. For example, fear is an emotion that can be considered garbage. If you don’t have much fear inside, nothing bad happens. But if fear is excessive, it becomes pathological and turns into anxiety or panic attacks.”
“Give me one more example, please. This is really interesting.”
“The same happens with regard to paranoia. It is just a question of quantity. Let’s take a suspicious person as an example. Being distrustful is normal, but when mistrust becomes bigger and bigger, it turns into the belief that others may harm you and, finally, into paranoia. As you know, I love money. I consider it God’s blessing. If love for money is not excessive, it is called thriftiness. If greed for money is excessive, it is called miserliness and it is pathological.”
“I don’t think so, Uncle Salvatore.”
“Go ahead!”
“I think the causes of mental diseases lie not only in the amount of garbage inside but also in the quality of the brain. In fact, mental disease often comes from a sick or damaged brain, regardless of the garbage inside.”
“Yes, you are right, a sound brain as well as the chemical processes inside the human body are important, but, this is the point, body, brain, and mind are connected. Therefore, if you reduce the quantity of garbage inside your mind, also your brain will benefit from it, and the body’s chemical processes will work better.”
“According to you, Uncle Salvatore, what causes fear, anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia?”
“Sometimes we can’t control those states. It happens because there is a substratum under the mental condition. What is the basis of neurosis? Can you answer, Benedetto?”
“I think the substratum is our past failures, the emotions we have suppressed over the years, trauma, and, above all, our difficult relationships with others.”

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

USEFUL TIPS TO CURE PARANOIA AND ANXIETY

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While I was staying in the ashram, I finished writing the first draft of this book and gave a copy of it to Baradeny. After she read a few pages of the draft, she wanted to talk about paranoia and anxiety in the class.
“Paranoia,” she said, “is a compound of two Greek words: para means ‘close,’ ‘near,’ ‘sideways,’ ‘similar,’ ‘resembling’; nus means ‘mind.’ So, we can define paranoia as an artificial mind close to the real one. It looks like a real mind, but it is a false mind. Whenever you let that artificial mind loose, it takes you by the hand, and you are led by it. Then, you stop thinking with your real mind and begin to think with this artificial mind or paranoia. It has the power to lead you into an illusory world. Gradually, you lose contact with the real world.
“What can you do to fight paranoia? What is the method to overcome and eliminate the artificial mind definitely? It’s not difficult. You shouldn’t try to suppress it. If you attack paranoia frontally, as in an open field battle, you will lose and end up strengthening it more and more. Instead, all you have to do is watch paranoia! Yes, just watch and watch this artificial mind. At last, it will fade away, because it can’t exist by itself. It is like a mirage bound to disappear as soon as you realize what it is.”
I tried to keep those words in mind. Whenever my artificial mind allured me into the twists and turns of illusion, I watched it calmly. As I kept watching my artificial mind, it became smaller and smaller like a little shy boy who runs to hide when he notices that a stranger is watching him. As the darkness of the night disappears when the day dawns, my paranoia faded away after my watching, at last.
During a break, Baradeny told us an old Indian story.
“Once upon a time, there was a bee that flitted over the flowers in a meadow. Now and then, it alighted on a flower to suck the nectar. Finally, the bee settled on an extraordinary flower, the most beautiful in the meadow. Its fragrance was intense and attractive enough to spellbind the bee. It didn’t want to leave the flower and lingered inside the corolla, forgetting to go back to its hive. While it was enjoying the nectar, an elephant came unexpectedly. With its trunk, it pulled the flower out and cast it away. Without its roots in the ground, the flower shut itself up immediately. The bee remained trapped inside the petals and couldn’t get out of it. Do you know what the significance of this story is? You ought to strive not to become attached to earthly pleasures too much. Otherwise, you will get trapped, as it happened to the bee.”
Then, Baradeny talked about anxiety.
“We can define anxiety as a kind of self-defense. It is not harmful if it is necessary. Anxiety makes us alert and aware of danger. But when anxiety is excessive, it becomes pathological. Once, I knew a man who couldn’t get out of his house because of his anxiety. Some people fear traveling by airplane, and some can’t drive a car because of fear. In extreme situations, some people can’t even walk in the street. They are much too anxious to do the usual things for others.
“There are many effective methods to treat anxiety, but the best of all is ‘watching yourself.’ In fact, anxiety, just like paranoia, doesn’t have a real basis. It is the fruit of your imagination. Anxiety is like being scared of your own shadow. But anxiety, like a shadow, is just a projection of your mind. If you keep watching yourself without striving to suppress anxiety, you will realize the difference between reality and illusion. Instead of running away from anxiety, watch yourself. You will understand that neither the shadow nor anxiety can hurt you because neither of them can stand alone. They are just projections!
“When I lived in Germany, I had a horse that was frightened by his shadow. The horse didn’t know that the shadow of his body couldn’t threaten him. It was not easy to convince him not to get scared. At last, he understood that his shadow was an image projected by his body. After understanding, he calmed down.
“Therefore, whenever anxiety tries to take over you, take a rest for some minutes and sit silently. Watch your breathing, watch your mind, watch your body, watch your thoughts, and watch your anxiety. Gradually, your mind will be purified, and your anxiety will vanish! You can’t find it anymore because it comes from an impure mind.”

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

 

HOW TO DEFEAT ANXIETY

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In the past, I strove to remain serene. But it was very difficult for me, because I couldn’t put into practice my resolution in daily life. Although I deeply wanted to be free from anxiety, I couldn’t succeed. Anxiety and mental confusion always got the upper hand on me. What to do!
When Manuela and I got back to the house of the organization, I went to my room to lie down on my bed, and went over my past experiences and attempts to get over my anxiety and depression.
On the sides of the lake in my hometown, there were some apparatuses for doing gymnastic exercises. My friends used to do rolls on the rings. I couldn’t do that exercise, even though I knew how to do it in theory. I knew that it was not dangerous, and nothing would happen to me. I had a body structure suitable for doing that, but I lacked the courage to grip the rings and launch myself with my head downwards. I couldn’t put into
practice what I knew in theory. I was too anxious to do a roll.
How could I keep my anxiety under control?
There are many methods that claim to be a good treatment for anxiety and depression. Many of them consist in taking medicines. I have always viewed those chemicals with suspicion. They are artificial treatments for temporary serenity. Tranquilizers and medicines for mental diseases and personality disorders also have side effects and are addictive. A person’s inner balance is kept artificially on these drugs. If treatment is stopped, the frail equilibrium breaks. Drugs fight the symptoms, not the disease. Undoubtedly, the medicine triggers a chemical, artificial reaction that affects the person’s behavior and impairs his free expression of emotions and ideas.
Once, I talked about this issue with a psychiatrist. I expressed to her my opinion about drugs and addiction. If mental disease is kept under control by medicines, then the patient has to take them for his whole life.
“Don’t be so upset! Many body diseases can be controlled by taking medicines. For instance, think of the pills to control diabetes or high blood pressure. They must be taken daily and for life. That kind of medicine doesn’t provoke any scandal. Unfortunately, people are embarrassed to take drugs in the treatment of mental or emotional diseases,” said the psychiatrist.
As for me, I have always refused anything that was artificial and unnatural. I was convinced that if I had taken drugs to cure my anxiety and depression, my spontaneity would have been impaired. They would have undermined my spirit of adventure, my desire for knowledge, and my spiritual quest to understand the meaning of life. Furthermore, my critical and judgmental capacity would have dwindled away, as well as my passion for travel. So, I never turned to medicines to resolve my emotional, existential, and psychological problems.
Once, a Buddhist friend of mine taught me a kind of meditation.
“The technique I will teach you,” he said, “doesn’t provoke any side effect. It doesn’t break the natural equilibrium of your character. It strengthens your spirit of adventure and desire for knowledge instead of reducing them. In fact, this technique removes the negativity inside you and the hindrances that interfere with your inner growth. Hence, whenever anxiety and depression are about to invade you, use this technique.
“Just sit down and watch your breathing. Watch as if you were an external watcher. Don’t judge the thoughts that pass through your mind. Confine yourself to watching them. Pay attention to the air that comes in and out of your nostrils. Then, when you inhale, imagine that a white light passes through the crown of your head, floods into your body, and purifies it. When you exhale, imagine that your exhalation is a black smoke that carries out your negative thoughts, worries, and delusions.”
From then on, whenever I meditated in that way, my anxiety subsided a little. One day, when I was jogging around the lake, I stopped by the apparatuses. I stood facing the rings and meditated for a while as my Buddhist friend had taught me. Then, I grasped the rings, bent my head downward, made a jump, and lifted my feet toward the sky, without hesitating. Finally, I had done it! It was an easy exercise. My anxiety had prevented me from doing that. Both the white light and the black smoke didn’t exist. They were a figment of my imagination, but so was my anxiety.
While traveling in Tanzania, I resumed that meditation technique. I did it whenever I could, even that day, in the organization’s house. The results were good. My depression and anxiety subsided a little.

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

TRAVELS OF THE MIND (second edition)

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Mindful Travel Book Inspires Personal Growth & Happiness

World traveler Ettore Grillo remembers a special conversation at a noblemen’s club in Sicily, where members relate their travel stories. He records their talks, and the result is Travels of the Mind, a mind-expanding book with travel tips, stories, and deep conversations.

Adding his own travel experiences, the author’s Travels of the Mind becomes a spiritual inner journey as well as a self-help book. These discussions are helpful for getting over anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. The author overcame his own anxiety and panic attacks by undertaking meditation and travel, and by opening his heart to God.

Travel along to such widespread places as Tanzania, Medugorje, London, Paravati (Calabria), Rome, Paris, Tokyo, New York, and small towns in Germany and Switzerland. But travel is not the only thing discussed. The men speak openly of love, spirituality, mind, life, and death. They debate the biggest puzzles of life: What is love, can people control their minds, and is there life after death?

About the Author: Ettore Grillo is a retired criminal attorney from Enna, Sicily, who spends his time writing and traveling. This is the second edition of his first book. He calls himself a citizen of the world. “All people are my friends, whatever race and social class they belong to.” He adds that “readers can see something of themselves in the pages of this unique book.” See his blog at ettoregrillo.wordpress.com.

“This book goes where no other travel book has gone before. Full of philosophy, meaningful discussions, as well as travel tips for the discerning traveler. Travels of the Mind is not only fascinating, but journeys deep into cultures around the world. Don’t leave home without it!” said Robert Fletcher, CEO of Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency.

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