Making Space for Personal Growth

In my own life and as a therapist I witness the huge amount of space taken up by drama, conflict, and a continual repetition of conditioned patterns that no longer serve us. Being too busy is a dis-ease of modern society. One of my teachers, Zen Master Thich Nyat Hahn says

"Life waits patiently for true heroes. It is dangerous when those aspiring to be heroes cannot wait until they find themselves. When aspiring heroes have not found themselves, they are tempted to borrow the world’s weapons — money, fame, and power — to fight their battles. These weapons cannot protect the inner life of the hero.

To cope with his fears and insecurities, the premature hero has to stay busy all the time. The destructive capacity of nonstop busyness rivals nuclear weapons and is as addictive as opium. It empties the life of the spirit.

 False heroes find it easier to make war than deal with the emptiness in their own souls. They may complain about never having time to rest, but the truth is, if they were given time to rest, they would not know what to do.

People today do not know how to rest. They fill their free time with countless diversions. People cannot tolerate even a few minutes of unoccupied time.

They have to turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper, reading anything at all, even the advertisements. They constantly need something to look at, listen to, or talk about, all to keep the emptiness inside from rearing its terrifying head.

Present-day heroes think they are real heroes because they are so busy, but if we could see their inner lives, we would see desolation. Present-day heroes descend the mountain intending to transform life, but are instead overcome by life. Without fierce resolve and a mature spiritual life, private demons cannot be controlled”

Therapy, therapist and clients fail when space is not created to feel yourself. The challenge is to open a space for deep experience, consciousness and the ability to really see yourself. At first there may be pain, sadness, anger and confusion. Remember always that depression come from a focus on the past and the gap between your dreams and your present reality. Anxiety comes from a focus on the future and projecting your fears or expectations on the unknown. I have a friend who has had a great deal of therapy and he just now told me he never mentioned to the therapist that his son committed suicide a number of years ago. Such avoidance denies the opportunity for genuine healing to take place.

Learning to be in the present moment is a major tool needed for personal growth and peace of mind. This ability needs dedication and practice. Learning to breathe, really breathe is a key to this practice. Meditation, mindfulness and radical self-honesty play a major role in creating space for growth.

My own therapy methods incorporate this understanding of making space by teaching clients to learn to observe themselves, to step out of the dysfunctional drama whether as a single person or in a partnership. My close friend and colleague today called me a “Therapist Provocateur” meaning I say things to help clients look at their words, behaviors and life choices from a fresh perspective.

Become unbusy from all your distractions and stories and learn to create real meaning and forward progress. Open the space to hear the voice of the “Soul Directed Life” and follow its direction toward happiness and fulfillment.

To read more about the Soul Directed Life and to see testimonials from clients and colleagues please visit my website at

Eliezer “Robert” Newman is a psychotherapist listed in Get Help Israel and has clinics in Tzfat and Pardes Chana, Israel. He sees both individuals and couples either in person or through Skype. Contact him at 0526760840 or via email at [email protected].