Savannah Hanson: The paradox: love or suffering |

Savannah Hanson: The paradox: love or suffering

Savannah Hanson

“If not for the suffering that you see all around you, the choice for Love would have been made. If the choice for Love had been made, the suffering you see around you would be no more. This is the paradox.”

—”A Course of Love”

The power of these times is unprecedented and offers something previously unimaginable — the end of suffering. That is an idea that almost boggles the imagination yet is the gift of current intensity. Suffering may reach such unbearable intensity that many will be willing to choose again, find a new way to look at the now moment.

Spiritual teachers have been pointing us to the power of now for decades, telling us to love what is, yet this can feel absolutely nonsensical when suffering is profound. How is it possible to love what is, to even see it as a gift as spiritually suggest? Impossible! Or is it?

Support Local Journalism

If we allow ourselves to feel what we feel in the body as physical sensation without a story of what it all means, the natural wisdom of our cellular memory is activated. The same Intelligence as runs the entire Youniverse begins to transmute the suffering into what ultimately becomes a spacious Presence. As this Presence begins to occupy more real estate in consciousness, new insights and awareness pile in and suffering begins to diminish. What was a theoretical construct now becomes a lived reality. Ultimately a deep sense of inner belonging grows stronger and becomes the foundation of our being.

To have the courage to turn within and allow the visceral response to suffering to move through the body, to begin to deactivate the stories, limitation and conditioning that seem so real and unmovable may take external, professional assistance. We turn to others who have navigated similar territory to witness how they came to internal liberation.

“Suffering is necessary until you realize it is unnecessary,” said Eckhart Tolle. When suffering becomes unbearable we become highly motivated to find another way. We may develop the discipline to question our thoughts, to do inquiry and what we will ultimately discover is that it is the false identification with the egoic thoughts of the mind that are creating suffering.

Celestial events can become energetic gateways to freeing the contents of the mind. We are now willing to meditate or use mindful practices to see what the mind is screaming at us and begin to disengage our identification from these thoughts. The Buddhist recommend seeing thoughts as clouds drifting across the field of awareness. The great irony is that once we are willing to let go of our fixed attachment to ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, are willing to pass through the rings of fear, life begins to shape-shift into more preferred ways of living.

Yet we must be willing to question our thoughts, willing to exist in the present moment without trying to deny or project what we are actually feeling. We learn to extend compassion to the wounded parts of self experiencing what may feel like excruciating suffering. It may seem ludicrous to love the parts of self lost in depression, anxiety, panic, limitation, scarcity yet this is what unlocks our hearts from prisons of our own making. Right now, in this moment, are we willing to turn towards our fear, our loss, our sorrow and say you are welcome here? Are we willing to extend exquisite compassion to the split off parts of our being, lost in the conscious or unconscious memory of being rejected or unloved? Are we willing to treat ourselves in a way that is different from how we were treated? Too often we treat these wounds part of self with the same lack of compassion they met in childhood, banishing these uncomfortable energies of limitation to the basement of consciousness where they invariably fester.

Over the last weeks, my greatest trigger came to pass and yet it was the gateway to knowing absolutely the Truth of the words above. In such moments, it can be as though a trapdoor opens in the mind and drops us into a place of incredible Knowing. I also had to witness the seeming source of much of the rest of my suffering, the belief my nervous system is too sensitive to live gracefully on this planet. To finally turn within and have compassion for this aspect of self, despite all the incredible bodily discomfort, was a profound turning point. This was the one aspect of self I previously could not extend welcome to.

The great paradox is that to end suffering, to exit it permanently, we must extend the most tender kindness to all the parts within ourselves that are suffering. When we master this art, the gift we receive is our Divine inheritance, joy.

For information on private sessions or classes or to schedule a free 20-minute consultation, contact Savannah Hanson, M.A., MFT #40422 at (530) 575-5052 or

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Connect with needs and opportunities from

Get immediate access to organizations and people in our area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User