A QUICK LOOK AT THE MAFIA

 

A man with a beard in a hat, tie. Logo for barbershop, men's store
A man with a beard in a hat, tie. Logo for barbershop, men’s store.

Once,  the Italian public television interviewed a mafioso from Corleone, a town in the province of Palermo. He served his life sentence in a prison in Sardinia. During his captivity he painted oil paintings. Seen on the small screen, his paintings looked beautiful. Then, the interviewer asked him if it was true that he was still a Mafia boss and wielded power from prison.

“Every time a Mafia murder occurs, the authorities charge me as the mandator in the murder. This is absurd! I have been locked in this prison for many years. Do you think I can keep control over the Mafia from my cell?” replied the Mafia boss.

In my opinion he was right. If a lifer can still have influence over a criminal organization while he is locked in a prison, it means that the prison administration is inefficient.

Actually, some murders were charged to that life convict from Corleone. I can assume the reason. When a serious bloodshed happens, the general public wants a culprit. Why not give people an easy-to-find culprit, that is the indistinct Mafia, which has neither name nor surname, or a lifer?

This is an excerpt from November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2 The Day of the Dead in Sicily
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF FACING YOUR GIANTS

LUCADO
Facing your Giants by Max Lucado has helped me overcome some of the challenges I have encountered in my life. While reading it, I have also looked inside myself to understand my real nature. I consider this book as powerful as psychoanalysis, maybe more.
A maxim in Max Lucado’s Facing your Giants impressed me a lot: “Focus on giants, you stumble. Focus on God, your giants tumble.” David could kill the giant, Goliath because he focused his attention on God, not on the giant who was facing him. Obviously, the giants are just metaphors that symbolize the difficult situations we encounter along our way.
I have applied this maxim to my ordinary life and I have to say that it has always helped me. Whenever I confronted a giant, that is a very difficult situation, I tried to overcome it not through my reasoning, but simply by trusting in God. Through God’s help, I have always succeeded, while through my reasoning, sometimes I lost.
I would recommend this book to whomever wants to proceed on their spiritual path toward the final destination, which is to be one with God.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

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

WONDANGAM, A GOOD TEMPLE FOR ZEN MEDITATION IN KOREA

20191006_163725
The Zen Center was in the woods. The drinking water flowed from the ground naturally. There were about ten buildings in the area. All of them were made of wood in traditional Korean style.
My roommate was the only one who spoke English fluently. As soon as I arrived, we met the Zen master. We bowed in front of him and then he started talking, while my roommate translated his words into English.
“I’ll give you something on what to meditate. This something is just a question: “WHAT IS THIS?” said the Zen master.
After the meeting was over, I asked my roommate the meaning of this words.
He answered, “The question “What is this?” implies something or somebody that asks the question. “This” can be considered the original engine of your actions.”
While I meditated by asking myself “What is this?”, I watched myself to find out whether I was made just of flesh, bones, and blood or there was some energy inside me. I couldn’t find the answer, but by meditating on such a question for twenty days, I purified my mind. The question “What is this?” chased away all the thoughts that had crammed my mind for a long time. My mindset changed, and I felt almost reborn.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

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

TWO WAYS TO LIVE LIFE

flying-doves-two-together-harmony-interesting-to-see-similarities-difference-feathers-104346959[1]

There are two ways to live our lives. One is to be content with little, remain confined to one’s own birthplace, and lead a peaceful life. The other is to get out of one’s friendly environment and venture into the unknown for the sake of knowledge and exploration. Opting for one way instead of the other doesn’t depend on one’s merit, but on the inner psychological makeup. As for me, if I didn’t suffer from a pathological anxiety and fear of death, I would never have started my journey around the world in search of a solution to the issue.
My mother always used to repeat that neither bad weather nor good weather lasts long. It was a good lesson, and now the bad weather in Rishikesh seemed to be an allegory of life, which passes through sunshine and storms. Sometimes it flows smoothly and sometimes stormy, but it is worth living to the fullest.

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

LIFE IN ARAMBOL BEACH, GOA (INDIA)

wp_20170105_001

The Arambol beach has a different look in the morning than it does in the evening. Usually my wife and I went to the beach at daybreak. The sun had not risen yet behind the hills, and the fishermen strained to beach their heavy boats. Sometimes I helped some of them with that hard effort. Some people enjoyed jogging, while others did Tai Chi. I noticed that a great many had themselves tattooed. An old man even had a tattoo on his face, while other tattoos on his body depicted barbed wire and scenes of violence.
Each person seemed a separate world. It happened that a man who brought his chessboard to the beach invited me to play with him under the scorching sun. I didn’t feel like playing chess at the time and kindly declined his invitation, but I later saw him playing with someone else.
What struck me was the solitude of many people in Arambol. I observed the solitary souls in the early morning at the beach and in the evening at the restaurant.
“I would not be able to spend my holidays alone at a beach resort,” my wife said.
“Me either!” I answered.
Indeed, during my youth it was quite unusual to see a person walking alone in the streets; a lonely person was considered mad. In the summer when I wanted to go to the beach, I was careful not to leave Enna alone. I feared that if someone from the town saw me alone they would have pity and say, “Look at poor Vincenzino. He is alone like a madman.” Therefore, I was never alone, and it didn’t matter if my fellow traveler was smart or cheerful. The important thing was that I had a companion. One year I went on holiday at a seaside resort with a companion who wasn’t very intelligent, just so that I wasn’t alone.
In Goa, I had the opportunity to see the absurdity of my previous behavior. There is a basic distinction between solitude and loneliness. The former is free choice, while the latter is feeling, usually linked with melancholy or sadness. You can be in solitude without feeling sad. Many people in Arambol were living in their freely chosen solitude, but I didn’t get the feeling that they felt alone.
Walking along the beach, I saw a lady that danced before the sea, a man playing the flute, and a group of Indian young men who played cricket. As for us, my wife suggested saluting the rising sun and imagining that its golden light pervaded our entire bodies, healing and purifying them.
In the evening, the atmosphere was completely different. Many people walked along the beach. It was like being at Belvedere in Enna during the summer, where people enjoyed strolling on the crammed public walk. Little by little daylight gave its place to night, and every now and then the disgusting smell of marijuana wafted in the air. It happened that some drug peddlers approached to try to sell us marijuana. I was looking for natural paradise, not an artificial and transient pleasure like that given by drugs, so I refused.

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

THE OPEN-HEART MEDITATION

SCALA

One morning I was watching the ocean when I had the feeling that Jesus was suggesting a new kind of meditation to me. “Open your heart to everybody. That is the best meditation!” he seemed to say.
I tried this new meditation as the days passed, and I can say that it was very powerful. I sat silently on the beach and focused my attention on opening my heart to all living beings, both friends and those unknown to me. After a while, I felt my body and mind purifying. I talked with my wife about this discovery.
“Yes, I agree with you,” she said. “Focusing our attention on opening our heart to everybody makes us realize that God is within every person. It is no coincidence that the Indians use the word Namaste as a greeting, which means ‘the godliness inside me greets the godliness inside you.’”

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 REVIEW OF AT THE FEET OF THE MASTER BY J. KRISHNAMURTI

AT THE FEET

When I was a university student, the professor of civil law said, “Don’t take my words as gospel truth! You must check what I say and do your own research.”
Reading At the Feet of the Master, I recalled the words I heard from my professor a long time ago.
In this book J. Krishnamurti answers questions about life, meditation, and the like.
Undoubtedly, he is a great master, but I want to discuss his teachings, instead of accepting them blindly.
A student asks Krishnamurti, “Can you tell us the meaning and purpose of our living?”
The master replies, “What do you mean by life? Does life have a meaning, a purpose? Is not living itself its own purpose, its own meaning? We prefer to run away from ourselves, and that is why we seek the purpose of life away from relationship.”
He may be right, but I think we had better verify what the master, any master, says, living life in our way and searching for the purpose of life!

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 MEDITATION

close-up-hands-woman-do-yoga-outdoor-woman-exercising-vital-meditation-fitness-lifestyle-beach-sunset-background-104776221[1]

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

THE THREE CORNERSTONES OF THE FRANCISCAN RULE

saint-francis-20753906[1]

Only now can I understand the three cornerstones of the Franciscan rule, which are poverty, chastity, and obedience. In fact, to fully love your neighbor, you must get rid of your sexual urges, covetousness, and desire to take the lead. Only when you free yourself from these three hindrances can you start loving. The Franciscan habit has not changed today, and it differs from that of other monastic orders. As it was at the time of Saint Francis, the frock is girdled with a cord with three knots to symbolize the three main vows of a Franciscan friar.
My ex-friend would object, “Don’t censure sex, because life is born by sex. If everybody followed your recommendation to practice abstinence, humanity would become extinct. Saint Francis’s rule is just as absurd and utopian as the new humanism that I dream of. In fact, not only is chastity nonsense, but obedience is also impossible. Think for a minute about what it would be like if everybody practiced obedience. There would be no leaders to obey!”
“The giver of life is God and not sex!” I would answer. “Life was born before sex. God’s love and the vibrations of his voice created the universe, human beings included. As for obedience, I say to you that leaders also obey, just not their subordinates. It all depends on what your idea of leadership is. Kings and subjects are not different in the way they obey. If you consider leadership not as an arbitrary act but a service to others, you will see that leaders also cannot shirk their duty of obedience.”

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

THE BORDERS OF THE SKY

20190809_204218

“What is that long line of clouds in the sky?” I asked.
“Those are not clouds, Vincenzino. It is Saint James’s Ladder, also called the Milky Way. Through it souls go up and down. They come from faraway stars, stay on the earth for a
while, and then migrate towards new lands in the sky, always passing through Saint James’s Ladder.”
“Where are the sky boundaries, Sebastiano?”
“There are no boundaries in the sky. It is infinite, with neither beginning nor end.”
“That’s impossible! I cannot imagine anything without a limit. Everything has a boundary. For instance, our estate borders other neighboring properties.”
“If you are convinced that there is a border in the sky, tell me what there is beyond the border, Vincenzino.”
“Another universe, of course!”
“And where is the border of the second universe? And that of the third and so forth? As you see, we cannot find the last border, and we cannot understand the universe because our minds are limited. It is like trying to teach our dogs to read. You’ll never succeed.”
“When was the universe created, Sebastiano?”
“According to some scientists, it seems that the universe is expanding; in fact, both stars and planets run away from a center. In other words, there was a time when all the matter of the universe was concentrated in only one spot—like a storehouse where bricks are packed. Then suddenly the storehouse exploded and the bricks were cast into the space. They started moving in different directions and are still moving.”
“Who made the storehouse explode?”
“I don’t know, Vincenzino. Christians say that it was God who did it. Atheists, who are people that don’t believe in God, think that the explosion happened naturally.”
“What was there before the explosion? Has the storehouse always existed or was it made by someone?”
“I am not able to answer your question, Vincenzino, but I am sure that when you become an adult you’ll study this subject and find the answer. Now, it is the time to go to bed.”
“Do you know, Sebastiano, where all those souls are going that you say come up and down through Saint James’s Ladder?”

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