The Trial by Existence


One f my favourite poems, The Trial by Existence


The light of heaven falls whole and white
And is not shattered into dyes,
The light forever is morning light;
The hills are verdured pasture-wise;
The angle hosts with freshness go,
And seek with laughter what to brave;–
And binding all is the hushed snow
Of the far-distant breaking wave.And from a cliff-top is proclaimed
The gathering of the souls for birth,
The trial by existence named,
The obscuration upon earth.
And the slant spirits trooping by
In streams and cross- and counter-streams
Can but give ear to that sweet cry
For its suggestion of what dreams!

And the more loitering are turned
To view once more the sacrifice
Of those who for some good discerned
Will gladly give up paradise.
And a white shimmering concourse rolls
Toward the throne to witness there
The speeding of devoted souls
Which God makes his especial care.

And none are taken but who will,
Having first heard the life read out
That opens earthward, good and ill,
Beyond the shadow of a doubt;
And very beautifully God limns,
And tenderly, life’s little dream,
But naught extenuates or dims,
Setting the thing that is supreme. Nor is there wanting in the press
Some spirit to stand simply forth,
Heroic in it nakedness,
Against the uttermost of earth.
The tale of earth’s unhonored things
Sounds nobler there than ‘neath the sun;
And the mind whirls and the heart sings,
And a shout greets the daring one.

But always God speaks at the end:
‘One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for friend,
The memory that he chose the life;
But the pure fate to which you go
Admits no memory of choice,
Or the woe were not earthly woe
To which you give the assenting voice.’

And so the choice must be again,
But the last choice is still the same;
And the awe passes wonder then,
And a hush falls for all acclaim.
And God has taken a flower of gold
And broken it, and used therefrom
The mystic link to bind and hold
Spirit to matter till death come.

‘Tis of the essence of life here,
Though we choose greatly, still to lack
The lasting memory at all clear,
That life has for us on the wrack
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stipped of pride
In the pain that has but one close,
Bearing it crushed and mystified.

Robert Frost


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— Peyton Dracco

Awaken, an Incomplete Poem


I posted this (so far) incomplete poem In March of 2012 and I never looked at it again. I wonder if I will ever complete it. I post it here again unedited and needing and end.


Awaken, an Incomplete Poem
An old Poem

I started to write this about 2 months ago while in a weird state, It needs to be finished…

A new day and new opportunities arrive with the risen sun. Many questions about the day and the realization of mysteries it will bring are made evident by the clarity of the light shining through the dormer-window. The light appears to the boy who greets it with a smile, to have been turned on just for him. He’s happy, and wonders how anyone could be otherwise when sharing this gift of warmth and comfort. A comfort, which like the embrace of a dear, faithful friend reminds him that he is loved and cared for, that he is not alone – that any challenges the day might bring can be triumphed over.

Love is the only feeling in his heart, joy is his only expectation, and his only wish is to share both with the world he knows.

A leap, a bound, a happy hurdle over the small space of floor separating a fantasist from the waking dreams just past the door frame; a portal to an infinite space of possibilities. Possibilities, which like any boy, born of another human, he sees as simple, common occurrences of life. It is in this simplicity that he contemplates the complexities of our universe, giving them a chance to be understood again in time and with effort. A boy, just a boy in all his innocent perfection – full of curiosity yet fearful of the unknown, he knows just how far from home to meander, but takes that extra daily step challenging of all that makes him fearful.

Fear, he knows as that which prevents him from going too far, from staying too long or saying too much; it is a contradiction of his need to dig deeper, to stare longer and to say more – it is logic.

He knows of life, and being alive – the feeling of his hands in the dirt while exploring the depth of his earth, and when held by those whom have given him life and chance. He knows of laughter and tears, of pleasure and pain, which come and go like the same sun that makes him smile when it rises to deliver the gentle morning kiss; and waves goodnight as it lingers on the horizon before their slumber. He knows of heroes he will become, damsels he will rescue and seduce, and of magic and monsters he must encounter with every step he ventures farther from his safe quarters.

He lives and he understands without knowing, and is complacent in the idea of not understanding for he knows he will in time; though time itself seems mysterious. He grows, as that same time limiting his experience brings about new lessons. He learns and as he does his innocence begins to die and he inevitably discovers the true essence of his fears. To loose, to die and to be lost – to be separate and distant, devoid of the feeling of discovery and love his hands so perfectly understood a short time ago. To know that the heroes of yesterday are hollow figurines of his limited perception, who shatter under the pressure of his own scrutiny. To feel that his damsels may only look to him for rescuing if his armor may not shine as much as required. He knows that magic cannot be, though monsters abound; and that every extra step he takes can only move him farther from home.

He is a boy, but not just a boy, for in the funeral of his sincerity and innocence, he became a man with different expectations…

— Peyton Dracco


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Self-Transcendence through Dance


Let’s now think of music, which has an undeniable and profound effect on the human psyche. Most, if not all cultures and civilisations have expressed their emotions artistically through music or singing. Its rhythmically repeating patterns are pleasing to the human ear and, in context, soothing to the emotional brain.

Hypnosis and the ART of Achieving Compliance (Reworked)


When I write Hypnosis and the ART of Achieving Compliance, I purposely emphasise the ART part of it. Whilst there is some science on the topic of hypnosis it remain contentious amongst scholars and neuro-scientists. Here I give you a piece I wrote in 2014 on the issue; it reflects my scepticism, which abides today.


Hypnosis and the ART of Achieving Compliance
Hypnosis and Compliance

For those involved in the practice of hypnosis, it is difficult to deny that something is taking place in the “mind” of those who undergo the so-called “induction process”. The operator or the person conducting the session delivers a set of verbal commands explicitly designed to take control of the subject or the person being hypnotized.

More often than not, this interaction leads to apparent changes in behaviour on the part of the subject. As they sit and listen to the operator’s words, they become more relaxed, more withdrawn into what seems like a different state of awareness, and eventually more compliant.

For centuries, since the time of Dr Franz Anton Mesmer, an Austrian physician in the 18th century who claimed to be able to render his patients suggestible to his will through the use of magnets, weird concoctions, and ritual movements; people have reported experiencing altered states due to the conscious influence of another person.

Mesmer called this phenomenon Animal Magnetism. He believed that every individual had their own magnetic flow, which could manifest as different maladies when disturbed. Furthermore, he thought himself able to perceive this flow and to be able to affect it through some of the techniques mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

Mesmerism, as it would eventually come to be known and whence the term “mesmerized” comes, has since been relegated into the obscure circles of esoteric practices and magic.


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However, this relegation has not lessened the reports of altered state of mind induced by seemingly well-versed operators. Even today, a Google search for “hypnosis clinics” returns thousands of hits. It is possible to refine this search by adding the name of a particular city to it, which makes these clinics ubiquitous in North America.

These sessions range from as low as $50 per session to several hundred dollars—most of them guaranteeing positive results at the conclusion of the sessions. Apparently, something is happening – at least in the subject’s experience.

In the 1950s, Dr Milton H. Erikson became a very influential figure in the field of hypnosis, and perhaps personal communication is general. Erickson was allegedly able to affect miraculous changes in his subjects.

Anecdotal and apocryphal stories show him curing bed-wetting, depression, chronic pain, and other psychological conditions. Something more interesting about Dr Erickson was his ability to read and decode nonverbal cues from his patients. His works were used by prominent communication and therapy experts like Gregory Bateson and Margaret Meads, eventually leading to the foundation of the American Society for Clinical hypnosis, which was an affiliate of several respected organisations.

Dr Milton H. Erickcon
Milton H. Erickson

His communication models were also studied and used in the development of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, an attempt at a pragmatic psychotherapy approach. Unfortunately, NLP has also gone the way of Mesmerism due to its reception by the new age community.

The scientific consensus on hypnosis is that something is occurring in the subjects’ brains in terms of activity. However, this activity is not dependent on external influences like the guiding of an operator. These brain functions are similar to those expected from individuals in deep meditative trance or contemplative prayer.

It is necessary to look at a different dimension of the individual experiencing hypnosis to understand its occurrences better. It is critical to explore the psychological dimension.

To what extent a person is genuinely in a different state of awareness remains undetermined and, thus far, not easily quantifiable by direct observation of the physical brain. When we look at the psychology of the social being, we encounter factors that vastly determine and affect behaviour.

Individual and group expectations play a role in decision-making processes; moreover, our inherent need to comply with expectations can cause us to bypass our critical factors and reorganise reality according to said expectations. We can say that an individual in a deep hypnotic trance may simply be giving in to patterns that will ensure successful interactions within the context of their experience.

Personally, and though it seems to be that some people make better subjects than others, I think that hypnotic trance is heavily dependent on context and the operator’s ability to present this context to the subject in a manner that they can, through their own ability to comply, change it to suit a particular need or expectation. It seems easier to compare the hypnotic process to the craft of an actor in which their character is essential to the production’s success.

It is, in a sense, a higher level of persuasion or the seduction of the mind.

Even in Dr. Erickson’s case, it appears that his success (at least those instances that we can corroborate as actual events), may have more to do with a certain charisma, and deeper, enhanced communication.

— Peyton Dracco

An Exercise in Introspection


I wrote this in October of 2011 as an exercise in introspection. It is part of the work I undertook with my dear Friend Dr Igor Malakai, of whom I write in the 8-13 project. It’s a meditation on how we feel, and how honest we can be about our condition.

I wrote this under a different name, and while somethings remain, I was, if I’m honest with all who read it, a different man when I wrote it.

An Exercise in Introspection
Feelings

The Way I Feel

Amongst the many proverbially complex questions, and the true paradoxes I have found in life, this is by far the most difficult not only to understand but also to explain to anyone other than myself. And that in itself seems to betray the idea of honesty, especially with self, as even I cannot seem to appreciate what is currently happening to me.

The inevitable contrast between feeling and reality and my observation of their discrepancies create quite an uncomfortable set of circumstances that may lead to emotional and even physical maladies.

Discomfort briefly, yet unfairly summarizes my affliction, and the perpetual question of “why?” torments my mind incessantly.

Peyton Dracco: An Exercise in Introspection

I think I know what my problem is. I think I clearly understand where these unsubstantiated feelings arise from. Yet, as they are, according to my own senseless rhetoric, of a tenuous nature, I don’t know the first thing about my confusion. That word has come to carry so much weight and merit, becoming a permanent and popular addition to my own limited lexicon.

Silly, how a word that indicates bewilderment and represents lack of clarity can have perfect meaning in my own meaningless search for self.

“Self” – Now there is a big one! Or is there anything at all?

My enduring exploration of the human psyche yields countless understandings and discoveries about the human mind and, at the same time, left me wandering, and wondering why my own is so different from the rest.

Different in terms of knowing more than the rest, as with much arrogance, I think that I know more. Thus, my knowledge becomes useless and futile – no wisdom!

How do they do it?

How do they get on with their lives?

How does one exist in ignorance?

And then again, one does not, but the many do. Yes, it seems that our cultural cluster has accomplished something amazing; they have normalised ignorance and made it a virtue.

Peyton J. Dracco: Introspection
Honest Introspection

I look for answers out there, and I find many yet continue unsatisfied with what I know. I look for solutions inside, in the dark corners of my own mind and find none. Yet, the silence is pleasing, the emptiness comforting, the solitude gratifying. I can stay here forever, and without yet wanting to, because as I think about my meaningful connections, I crave those unsatisfactory answers that lead to further confusion.

Oh, What a beautiful confusion! I’ve come to love it.

How noble is it to not know why?

How wise is it to allow oneself to embrace a mystery without genuinely wanting to solve it? My latest mystery has a peculiar name. And I love to wonder why. Why? How did this come to pass? Why such choice to allow another to enter my private space, my inner sanctum?

NOT LIKE ME!!

Not a very logical choice! There is so much to speculate about the reason. Yet, in light of humility and my redundant declaration of true honesty, I must admit that I enjoy it. This feels new and refreshing. Still, honesty must be dealt with first.

Why is there such an intriguing person I do not own in my life?

When did my perspective change? Or has it? Is this a vain attempt at learning a new lesson? Such an abortive gesture may only culminate in loss, and that loss may be more than I can or want to handle. How do I proceed? Why so many questions? Why not use my flawless approach to persuasion and seduction to happily anchor this fascinating being to me and to my will?

Finally, a meaningful and honest question and one that deserves honest answers that can only be given by a righteous person – and that is not me.

As a result of my ephemeral condition, there is a sense of trust and belief in myself combined with a permanent return to my lack of faith in everyone else.

It has done it: brought me to my knees in an unconscious effort to quicken myself once more.

I am of it, but with a lingering feeling that not much is mine because I have allowed others freedom, I often and unnecessarily doubt my stability.

Control seems to be the one true illusion that eludes me when contemplating eternity in this comfort zone. Now, that has little sense at its base, more groundless and tenuous than my own feelings of admiration for such a mystery.

I must run! I must hide from this excess trust and comfort, it’s the only way I know how to survive, and now I remember how I once almost did not. Nearly perishing for love seems, in the mind of the romantic fool I thought I was, to be the most righteous way to go. Yet, I say this without remembering the painful cancellation of my debt to the Karmic world.

Haha! And yet again, I resort to feeling and allow it to eclipse my critical thinking, a clear sign that I have learned nothing from my experience.

That’s right, I have learned nothing from my experience. And when teaching, I appear to know more than nothing. I am a teacher; I am also a doctor who, without hypocrisy, lacks all powers of edification and healing.


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In the vacuum of solace provided by those I have helped to change, I have erroneously found consolation. Here I think about my Alex, and I feel worthy of respect and admiration. I think of nothing that can eclipse that impressive ray of sunshine and the fantastic feelings that such purity and power bring to my heart.

And the ones I have changed without the intent to help? There are many, I must admit, who owe it to me to be complete human beings.

And that lifts my spirits. But only until the memories of those I have pushed to the very edge rush into my mind and again take control of the insecure bastard who wishes he never had.

Who is he? How did he ever have so much control? The answer to that can be found without honesty or intelligence, as it is pretty evident that he didn’t care. Not for a second, nor for an instant, did he hesitate to take what he wanted nor what he needed, and that gave him power, or rather that still does.

And then, a sudden yet expected regression to the mean, my own mean.

Where all is perfectly balanced, and power and control are no longer the elusive substances they were just seconds ago. They are real, as real as my mystery, and the merger of the two will give me closure.

I am strong and confident, and I have created order out of chaos and confusion. I am not afraid to lose, for, in my mind, I have lost it all already.

I have no doubts, I am empty, and it is fantastic, like the gratifying, comforting and pleasing silence and solitude of my mind. I feel rested, like returning home from a long trip where everything has been forgotten.

I am home, and though I find my house in disarray, I can now rebuild.

That is truly…

The way I feel.

In memory of great men


Written with Cisco Jose 

June 30th 1977 – March 21st 2011

For Dr. Igor Malakai 

September 17th 1970 – March 29th 2009

— Peyton Dracco

Learning as a Positive lifestyle


When I talk about Learning as a positive lifestyle, I am referring to the use of that intense desire to know more about the things you enjoy and love for your benefit. You may have already thought of several of these “things”. In fact, I know you have supposed of at least one by the time you finish reading this sentence.

Learning as a Positive lifestyle
Learning

Take that feeling and focus on it for an instant; let that happy feeling that you get when news about your favourite gadget, book, or NetFlix series appears on your newsfeed. 

That pleasure can drive you to behave in ways that (perhaps) you had not intended; it’s a motivator to action. If, for example, you planned to go out with your mates at 5:00 pm, but at 4:00 you found out that the newest episode of Lucifer had been released. You might delay that meeting with your friends until 6:00 or when the episode ended. 

Suppose the person you were about to meet held more value regarding what information you would receive. In that case, it is not unlikely that you would happily wait to watch The Walking Dead at a different time.

You see, it’s all about information and how important that information is to our experience. 

Some of the best people I know place a high value on information that benefits them financially, intellectually, or even physically. This is also the case with most of the athletes I work with. 

The most successful people I know have developed beneficial information into a lifestyle – they actively seek to learn more about the things that help them grow. 

They are happy to learn how to become better at what they do.

I want you to think about how you pursue excellent notions for yourself and, more importantly, how you do the same for ideas that hinder your development.

Peyton