The Relationship Blog

Books about Relationships – “The Hole”

After writing my first two books about relationships I became interested in something that’s written about in a lot of spiritual books in which they end up talking about emptiness and is the conclusion when you attend workshops such as Landmark and EST. The ultimate conclusion of all those experiences is that emptiness is at the core of everything. Sometimes they’ll use the word “nothing” but it’s really referring to the same thing.

And all this so called something we create and believe in is just things that we lay on top of the nothing, and we believe is real. Essentially, these authors propose that there is no reality, it’s all just perception. What we call reality is in truth different people agreeing with what we see. In fact a lot of people surround themselves with people who agree with what they see. Because of all this, I became interested in wanting to present the concept of emptiness, referred to here and is regarded as the most dreaded thing to mankind. But the rejection of emptiness is in my view, the core of all of our difficulties.

The reason for this dilemma is that everyone attempts to fill the emptiness. All that differs is in the way we fill the emptiness. Some people fill it with substances, some people fill it with porn, others with having sex constantly, or some with their work to just name a few. It doesn’t matter what you use to fill it because everyone who tries this is living in an illusion since emptiness cannot be filled by anything from the outside. It can only be filled when you accept it, which is the last thing anyone in the world wants to do. If you walk into a room and ask “how many of you accept emptiness?”, you won’t hear any of them say they accept emptiness. They simply don’t want any part of it. Thus, we are constantly running, in different ways, to try to outrun our emptiness. The problem is that emptiness never gets tired. So those of you who carry this agenda are on an endless path to nowhere.

So I really became interested in wanting to help people support their emptiness and learn to see it as part of their human nature. This also followed my interest and life mission in wanting to accept the unacceptable, as mentioned in my previous book. To me the biggest unacceptable of all is emptiness. Only a really strong man or woman can truly accept it, but when you can life becomes a much easier road.

What interested me as a part of this is that not everyone is going to resonate with spiritual books. So I wanted to find a way to present this concept of emptiness to people in a way that would be much easier for them to let in, and would open the concept up to a much wider audience because not many people read spiritual books, or even go near them.

The idea of “The Hole” was to create a way to reach people and open doors for people who would never even think about this. I decided to do this in fable form. There are a lot of books on emptiness as I stated, but there are none in fable form. They are all narratives. This was difficult because a fable is a visual experience and it’s not that easy to create a visual experience out of nothing. It was a very difficult task and took me 16 years to do this. There were many times when I junked the project because people told me it can’t work, or it’s not working. In many fables you’ll have dragons, or various types of birds, etc, but none of that is relates to “nothing”. I was really struggling to make it come alive because I couldn’t count on visual. So I started it again and used dialogue as my main vehicle to create the struggle over emptiness. I told a story about a couple, who was a perfect couple, as I didn’t want to start with a couple who were already in trouble. My perfect couple one day had everything. In this fable they discovered a hole in their living room floor. It was a very little hole at first, but because of their egos and needs for perfection they freaked out upon seeing the hole.

To solve this problem and their fears, they tried to cover the hole in many ways. But no matter what they used to cover the hole, it only got bigger, because when you reject something it only gets bigger; it doesn’t get smaller. So they struggled with filling this hole to the point where there relationship was totally deteriorating. As a result, this beautiful relationship they thought they had quickly became garbage in the face of the struggle with the emptiness. This was what I wanted to portray to people, and finally when they were ready to give up, a little man appears at their door. He claims that he understands the hole and can help them with it. And the intense dialogue that results between them and this little man, and who is essentially their guide in the fable, becomes the focus of their journey. He addresses them in different ways to help them come to terms with the emptiness and the hole. This, however, involves an entire journey where they actually have to enter the hole and experience the real fear of coming face to face with emptiness. After they go through this experience they are very different people.

The Power of the Myth

The main myth we live under is that you have to find some way that’s going to get rid of the emptiness. The only way we differ is what particular thing we are going to be seduced by that’s going to do it.

Why Is There Such An Intrinsic Emptiness That Is Part Of The Human Experience?

Emptiness is a part of nature. In order to have a figure, you need space. We don’t get that. The only reason we know there’s someone next to us is because we can see space around them and know that they are the figure within that space. To put it in a different way, the only reason you know that there’s a color blue is because you’re able to see colors that are not blue. So everything exists in relationship, especially the relationship between space and form. Emptiness is the space. But we regard it as the enemy. And it’s ridiculous to try to get rid of something that is part of our nature. Everything in my life that was significant, such as choosing to be a psychologist, or choosing my wife, only occurred when I accepted the emptiness and allowed something to emerge out of me, rather than running around like a banshee trying to fill my emptiness from the outside. This is essential to eating disorders, loneliness, boredom, as they are all a result of the rejection of emptiness. If you accept emptiness totally, you can never be bored. The only reason you’re bored is that you’re fighting the emptiness.

How Can You Accept The Emptiness?

By opening yourself to it, and allowing yourself to be empty with no judgment, and no emotional reaction. In other words by simply allowing it. This is the exact opposite of all our conditioning. All our conditioning is to get away from it or get rid of it. But if you can open yourself to it and invite it and become one with the emptiness, then it transforms you.

Is This Similar To Transcendental Meditation?

In order to meditate you have to be open to emptiness. If you’re not open to it, you’re not going to be meditating.

Is Transcendental Meditation A Good Solution For People?

It’s fine, along with many other things, such as anything that supports you in allowing your own silence. In order to be open to emptiness you have to allow your silence. And in our culture we don’t like silence. I see many times that as soon as there’s silence people freak out. They have to get their mouth moving, and they have to get compulsive. I consider silence an essential part of my therapy. I’m not talking all the time. I talk a bit, then I allow a space. I allow the silence. And I see what emerges.

Author: Bruce Derman Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Woodland Hills and Santa Monica, California who specializes in working with people in all stages of relationships. You may reach Dr. Derman by calling (818) 375-7194.

For more information on books about relationships, contact Dr. Bruce Derman PH.D. at

Comments are closed

© Dr Bruce Derman 2014. All Rights Reserved. - Couples Therapy Woodland Hills Los Angeles - Sitemap