I have spent two weeks working in my new suite in Katoomba, and it is bringing me so much pleasure!  If you’ve been there already, you know it’s got a great view, lovely art, books, plants, flowers from my garden, and other objects.

But it has one more very important element – space.

The room has enabled me to pay attention to the principle of ma – the principle of the space between things.  In Japanese glyphs, the kanji symbol for ma combines ‘door’ 門 and ‘sun’ 日.  Together, these two characters depict a door with sunlight pouring in: 間.

As a philosophical concept, ma is the space we exist in, the space we originate and evolve from.  It begins as a void of meaning and the meaning is created by the individual (as well as society).  It’s very much a therapeutic, creative, and expressive concept, one where space is seen as an opportunity to step back, think and see from the whole perspective.

It’s like appreciating bonsai or ikebana from a couple of steps away – the composition includes the spaces in and around it.

This leads to growth and progress as an individual, but it also reminds us that our actions play a role in shaping a shared world.  All life begins with the same void of meaning — and everyone has the power to shape their own time and space with lasting purpose.  This is ultimately where fulfillment is found.

The therapeutic process we’re involved in is all about shaping meaning, understanding self, and growing.  And to grow, you need space.  The space between my chair and your chair.  The space between the art and the window.  The voids, the ephemeral emptiness… the silence between sentences.  These are the liminal spaces of beginnings, transitions, and thresholds.  Mannaz Therapy Space is here to support you in the essential work of meaning-making.  Please get in touch if this article resonates for you in light of your own situation.

Length of time depends upon our ideas.
Size of space hangs upon our sentiments.
For one whose mind is free from care,
A day will outlast the millennium.
For one whose heart is large,
A tiny room is as the space between heaven and earth. [1]


[1] Translated from Saikontan (Vegetable Roots Talks), Yuhodo, Tokyo, 1926

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

Disclaimer: This article contains the views of the author and is not a replacement for therapeutic support. Please reach out to a registered therapist if you are experiencing distress and require assistance.