Singing Gecko

WHY the name of this site. 

The story I’m about to share took place more than ten years ago, and so much has happened since then! Still, it’s a feel-good and quite whimsical tale, illustrating a pivot point in spiritual evolution, and holds a sweet spot in my heart.

Let’s begin in the therapist’s office, where books line the wall across from a comfy sofa I relaxed into at least twice a month for a little over a year.

When I imagine myself there, I see myself small and anxious, eyes darting back and forth, tissue box near to hand. I feel the way I wanted to share only what I want to share.

I was afraid to see too clearly, then.

My therapist has tall curly hair (yes, his hair was tall!) and a yellow tablet in hand. He’s patient with me, but can’t go back to be a parent to me in childhood, make different choices for my younger self, or affect others in my life at present.

Back then, I felt deeply out of place in the life that I’d wished for and co-created; my health was weak, family life turbulent. After a year of keeping steady notes, I could see that things were just not getting better, even though those around me seemed to act like it was all just fine.

It wasn’t that they said so, they just praised me for never being (never showing when I was) upset or dramatic.

In retrospect I understand that I wasn’t actually in therapy to change myself, so much as to receive permission to change my situation. I was looking for validation from outside, which remained illusive through the process.

What I did receive in therapy, were techniques to contact greater spaciousness in my thinking. I learned to expect be listened to, and to slow myself down with lots of simple rituals, like daily tea.

Originally, I sought out a therapist with a hypnosis background, because ‘while I was there’ I might address shyness and anxiety that had plagued (no hyperbole to that word here) me over the years. I envisioned he would put me under, talk to me positively and make that stick, then voila! I’d emerge with the kind of confidence (sans recklessness) I had as a teenager after a few drinks.

😉 But no.

Instead, along with asking good questions, he led me in a personal guided meditation he then burned to a CD so I could play it at home a few times a day. His meditation was a visualization of support, walking me through layers of firm ground beneath me, a stance from which I could take in a more generous perspective.

I thought, for many months, that this wasn’t working at all, but I did start to notice a couple of things:

1 – First, I noticed that I could see farther. While I was driving especially, or out and about, what was familiar to me no longer felt as familiar. My sense of distance was clearer, just as a result of being slightly more relaxed. I could also see in much more colorful detail!

2 – Then, Standing in lines wasn’t as much of a burden. Rather than feeling restless waiting in the many lines my modern life entails, I could locate ease, even pleasure, simply taking in surroundings, testing the new limits, “noticing what I was noticing.” For once, I didn’t feel like I was taking any space by being in the room.

Since visualization was actually helping, I sought out others… more esoteric and elaborate meditations. Guides would take me along streams, to encounters with animals and wise others, or into libraries housing every answer I could wish for. These were relaxing, sometimes emotionally moving, but not personal in the same way.

Eventually, I encountered Eckhart Tolle.

What is somewhat odd, is that for many many years, I had blazed through many books about mind-body connections, especially when on vacations. Nearly all of these books led through visualizations I happily went along with, but it was Tolle’s simple guidance to notice breath at natural openings which proved revolutionary in me.

The timing may have been right because I was receptive, due to therapy; much his guidance, like counting breaths at stoplights, was something I could easily incorporate into my busy life.

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I started with five breaths at each stop, steadily increasing the number, then found myself going out driving just to do so. I stopped counting once the response became automatic. In fact, shifting into a more spacious gear at every opportunity became quite natural. Every stoplight, but also every odd or irritating situation, would become a moment to retreat. It was like a secret affair I was carrying on.

I must have been unintentionally smiling at the salon one day when my stylist asked, “You’re doing it, aren’t you?”

Perhaps the timing was also right because of the collective awakening just beginning to find lift-off then. More and more people were becoming more receptive to meditation and active, experiential spirituality. The conversation was in the air.

It is still hard to pinpoint how long this phase went on before I began noticing other changes, like laughing louder (and more, according to my daughter), but I knew I was on the cusp of something even more durable.

Part 2

Like most “serious adults with responsibilities”, I can find it hard to relax, to allow myself to open up and really play with life. Perhaps that’s why I remember the moments in which I have done so clearly.

I felt content with progress I made that year, especially having learned to make or find that retreat zone when necessary. A vast new world of new learning and curiosities had opened before my eyes.

So, I quit therapy.

True, I hadn’t conquered my anxiety nor faced the issues in the family, but I reasoned that those changes would come in time, now that I had these tools… this new “magic” vision.

I had a more dualistic ‘redemption’ sort of mindset then, and every step forward felt earth shaking… something I was supposed to” testify” about. I harbored a lingering fear that if I didn’t give the shifts proper due and gratitude, I would, after having climbed so far, find myself sliding down the chute again.

Naturally, having taken everything back onto my shoulders before quite ready, I wobbled… got distressed… struggled with my health again… began to lose faith.

Until one day, shoe shopping.

Wandering the the aisles of DSW was the most ordinary kind of event in my world. I was with my daughter, who generally takes forever to find what she likes, so after a while, I left her to it. I stood off to the side, people watching to pass the time.

Then at some point this happened: I noticed I was not thinking. 

It isn’t that I’d gone unconscious or on auto-pilot into memories or scenarios,
but that a quality of mind vividly different from anything encountered before, had arisen. Unique from spiritual experiences I’d had – quite dramatic visions and insights that characterized my later teen years – this was non-intrusive.

I’ve come to describe the shift as happening upon the sky.

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Noticing ‘not thinking’ did  bring the thinking back – but not right away, and the thinking that re-entered didn’t feel to lessen the ‘new’ awareness. It sat alongside it like a stealthy, big-eyed cat.

I stood in that spot grinning, until my daughter was ready to go,
just basking in awareness.

I knew this was something that wouldn’t ‘undo’, because although amazing, it was also, so so so normal. I just didn’t know that I hadn’t experienced normal before.

Since then of course, I’ve learned so much, and talked with so many others who have had such experiences. Some I’ve talked to even tried to work their way out of the new openness just to see if they could. But what I’ve found, is that although you can forget, sort of, forgetting is a state which becomes an exception.

Not that which the eye can see, but that whereby the eye can see: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore;

Not that which the ear can hear, but that whereby the ear can hear: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore;

Not that which speech can illuminate, but that by which speech can be illuminated: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore;

Not that which the mind can think, but that whereby the mind can think: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore.

(from the Kena Upanishad)

Part 3

Wondering where the Singing Gecko part of the story is? 

Now we’ve arrived.  🙂

Many changes flowed from the moment I’ve just described, almost all of them very subtle. I felt a breezy new energy and wanted to read more, meditate more, ‘just be’ more.

But, we’d bought an older house which needed constant repairs and improvements, taking up a lot of attention. It isn’t that the work wasn’t enjoyable, but it felt endless. There was always something to work on next, and ways of avoiding the issues that had brought me into therapy… sparked my deeper questing.

gecko

The yard of the house had been quite neglected, so the trees in back had grown without trimming or care.

An old black olive tree just outside the bedroom had grown too large for its space, so branches left streaks and scars as they scraped against the roof, and roots endangered the home’s foundation.

But the tree also provided shade from the intense Florida sunshine, a home for many orchids, and a resting spot for a wide variety of birds. Along with, a gecko.

A loud gecko.

A loud gecko who, every night when I would crawl into bed, would make a loud and horrible noise —> something like >rwaaaaaaaak< >rwaaaaaaaak<  >rwaaaaaaak<.

I saw it just once, and couldn’t believe the giant sound came from such a tiny creature!

This went on for weeks.  Some nights I was almost in tears, pleading into the air, “Please, please stop…” To no avail. And during the day, I leaned on friends’ sympathy so hard that the gecko became daily news.

I even wrote one night in my journal, “I’m sure he’s here to teach me something if I’ll just let him.”

Not realizing it was a prayer.

I don’t think it was that very night, but it may have been…

I fell asleep early and very deeply, and at some point, began to be stirred by music. As I woke, the most Astoundingly Beautiful Music seemed to be playing both within and without my perception (Whether inside or outside, I couldn’t tell.) — a layered, heavenly sound I wished would go on and on.

I remember trying to linger just so, so that I was not too awake nor too asleep, desiring to extend the experience.

Yet, I couldn’t help but continue to wake, and as I did, the song began to change, warping into a different sound… one I thought I recognized. It was…

Sigh. Yes, there it was. It was the >rwaaaaaak< of the gecko.

I then came completely to myself and into my room, except not then hearing the >rwaaaaaak<, alone.  I could also hear, as if alongside, this deep and ethereal music.

And like that, the gecko was gone! Or, at least he was gone from the tree.  I never heard the creature again.

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End Comments

There is a lot here to consider inspirationally, as I’ve done since then quite often. It’s my favorite story to share, because I think most people can relate to boundary experiences like this, or at least vague memories of having them in sleep.

There is just so much to see about our minds in stories like this… the wonders of consciousness.

Here is a fascinating link that showed up in my life later, helping to convey:  Someone Recorded Crickets then Slowed Down the Track, And It Sounds Like Humans Singing

“Composer Jim Wilson has recorded the sound of crickets and then slowed down the recording, revealing something so amazing. The crickets sound like they are singing the most angelic chorus in perfect harmony. Though it sounds like human voices, everything you hear in the recording is the crickets themselves.”

Just, I mean, Wow.

One of the richest places for dream or meditative practices, is in what some traditions call the amrit vela (nectar veil).  Sikhs call it the ‘hour of God’. It is around 3 or 4 am, when barriers are softer, before we’ve put on our roles and agendas.  It seems to be a natural ‘thin place’ opening for many people.

In my hynopopic state, the gecko transformed from a nuisance that didn’t fit in to my plans nor benefit my life, into a pure blessing ~ a guide who further lowered my guard to trust (the groundlessness, openness, emptiness, vastness) what Life is doing.

One could say the singing gecko gave me ‘ears to hear’.

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