Mark I. Rosen, a management professor at a university and program director for the Jewish Healing Center of New England, has written a profound and immensely practical book on ways to improve and resolve the difficult relationships in our lives. At the outset, he notes: "The pain, frustration and suffering we experience with certain people are just as important for our personal and spiritual growth as love and joy."

Difficult individuals bedevil us by pushing all our buttons. Our usual responses are to leave or to get even by fighting back. Dr. Rosen offers a spiritual approach: see these people as our teachers, "cosmic couriers" sent by God to refine our characters, to open up our hearts, to help us be more empathetic and compassionate.

The author quotes Martin Buber: "A person should realize that conflict situations between myself and others are nothing but the effects of conflict situations in one's own soul." Right. Transforming enmity is one of life's most important lessons and it begins with changing ourselves. In the last section of this remarkable ethical work, Rosen presents specific strategies for healing difficult relationships through the spiritual practices of kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude. Bravo!

Try a Spiritual Practice on Teachers