Posts tagged ‘buried treasure’

Snake Guarding Treasure

“You have heard that every buried treasure

Has a snake guarding it.

Kiss the snake to discover the treasure.” – Rumi

Let me tell you two stories, one about a man who has learned to kiss the snake, and one, about a woman who also, slowly, made friends with the snake guarding her treasure. Suspend your disbelief as you hear these stories with your heart, not your mind, and do not interpret the words “snake” and “treasure” literally. Both are metaphors. They create a visual image that helps us see and understand deeply.


Once upon a time, there was a little boy born with a spinal deformity. He grew and developed normally although he could not run and roughhouse with the boys, so he spent a lot of time reading and studying. He became very good at learning. He grew into manhood, a brilliant and talented man, in constant pain from the back he was born with, a back that could not support and sustain him. He worked, raised a family, loved his wife and children, went to church, and served God.


He lived in constant discomfort that sometimes expanded into unbearable pain. For a period of time he was discouraged. Because he could not control the pain, he gave up trying to control his life. He gained a great deal of weight and had more and more physical consequences. Then he had an epiphany. He realized he needed to kiss the snake. He needed to accept this pain and work with it, relax into it, sit with it, and learn from it. He lost all the weight and recovered from all the consequent problems.


Yesterday, he had his fourth major surgery to try to solve this congenital problem.  Assuming that he would be worried and scared, I asked him how he felt about this surgery.


I’m looking forward to it,” he answered calmly.  Each previous surgery has drawn me closer to God. Recovery is so profoundly and excruciatingly painful that the only comfort I get is reading the Bible. So, it’s a period of one-on-one time, just me and God. We hang out. I can’t work. I can’t think. I can’t move. But, I can read the Bible and listen to God. I see it as an opportunity. I’m grateful for it.” He has kissed the snake and found his treasure.


The young woman who made peace with her guardian snake was in her forties and the mother of two children. She and her children were good friends and easy with each other. They all loved the husband and father. He was, however, very controlling, non-expressive, and added a great deal of tension to their home. But, he was not abusive or mean or cruel in any way and was a good provider and a decent man.


She developed a strange and almost debilitating symptom about seven years into her marriage, when she was a stay-at-home mom of two small children. She started having pains in her chest. These pains were sometimes shooting, sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes throbbing. The site of the pain was just above her heart.


For years, she endured all kinds of tests, probes, and medications to attempt to diagnose and reduce the pain. Nothing helped. The pain ebbed and flowed in intensity, but the pain never went away.



Finally, she realized she was going to have to make friends with the snake, this pain in her chest. She started paying attention to when the pain seemed to get worse.


We decided that when she felt this pain starting to rev up in her chest, she would put her hand over the place where the pain emanated. She would talk to the pain. “Thank you. I hear you. Something is out of whack in my life, and I need to pay attention. You are my warning system. You are alerting me that I need to make some changes. I hear you. I am listening.”


Every time she felt the pain, she went to her journal and wrote about what was happening in her daily life. It is a gross oversimplification to say that each time it was some critical or disconnected response from her husband that seemed to start the cycle. But most of the time, she felt the pain worsen in direct response to a critical, dismissive, argumentative, or controlling response from someone in her life, and the someone was most frequently her husband.



In Harville Hendrix’s book, Getting the Love you Want, he helps us see that we often marry a person who resembles the parent with whom we had the most difficult relationship. We do this so we can vicariously “fix” that early hurt and pain and, in effect, re-write history by finding someone else, judgmental or demeaning, let us say, who then, through the power of our love, stops being so negative and realizes that they love us more than they love being right.


So, the real question was, when her husband said something or did nothing or seemed disinterested, of whom did he remind her? There are only two choices because there are only two people who have such power in our lives. When we find ourselves triggered by a current situation out of all proportion to the actual relevance of the present situation, we can thank either our mother or our father.


It was her mother. As my darling friend, Gina, likes to say: “If it isn’t one thing, it’s your mother!”



We talked a great deal about her mother. Finally, we started speculating about her mother’s motive. This was astonishingly clear: “She was trying to protect me.” We sat and took that in. Then I asked if it was possible that her husband had the same motive. She burst into tears. “Yes,” she sobbed. “How could I not have seen that? That is what he has been trying to do all along, protect me and the kids.”



She sighed. “Oh, I have so much to make up to him. I see it so clearly. He was trying to do what my mother was trying to do. The criticism was an attempt to keep me from making a mistake. It bled over unto our children. The intention was so sweet and was so terribly misunderstood. Neither my mother nor my husband could articulate what they were trying to do. I took it at face value. Shame on me for not having more of an understanding heart.”


She almost ran out of the session, calling her husband on her cell phone.




Whether we are survivors of posttraumatic stress disorder or sufferers of anxiety or depression, the same basic idea will save us and give us a new beginning. We must befriend the problem, the snake, to find our treasure, the issue the snake is guarding. If I am anxious, I must befriend that anxiety and see where it leads me. If I am depressed, I must embrace my depression and see what it has to teach me. We must no longer run from our problems and issues instead of welcoming them and inviting them in.



Hello. Sit down. Have a cup of tea with me, and tell me what you have come to give me. What wisdom and insight are you here to share?


Imagine how we would welcome adversity. Imagine how we would re-conceptualize all the problems we face. “Ah, yes, the snake is guarding and protecting our treasure.” I have simply to embrace the snake, even give it a kiss, and I will be shown the treasure – the knowledge, the awareness, the understanding, the sweet, soft message that is mine, if I only have the courage and wisdom to “kiss the snake.”


Blessings, wisdom, and courage for this amazing journey – from Tony, who trusts the process, and Susan who trusts Tony’s wisdom. May each of you reading this feel God’s love in your bone marrow.


Prayer Page:

Please leave your prayers and concerns at link below:


Supporting Scripture:

Our journey through life bring many opportunities, challenges, and lessons.  The important aspect of these lessons, is how we deal with the lessons? Do we become angry or do we embrace the opportunities to learn and grow spiritually. God gave us all free will so that we can choose to believe in Him through faith alone (build treasures in heaven), or will we become selfish and live for this world? I Choose build treasures in heaven. Christ’s return will usher in a new era, a new heaven, where there will be no disease, no pain, and no death.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 (ESV)

“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” James 5:15 (ESV)

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (ESV)


More support is yours at the following websites:


September 11, 2015 at 8:34 AM Leave a comment

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