Arthur Samuels is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist with more than 30 years of experience helping couples find intimacy and commitment. Zen has tools that can deepen and enhance loving relationships, he says. Two of these are meditation and living in the present moment. Of the former, he writes: "When your life partner is the object of your meditation, you are touching them with the fullness of your mind, free of intervening thoughts. You are not judging or labeling them in any way. You are not controlling or backing away. The silence between you is imbued with loving awareness of your interdependent connectedness." This state of mind can work wonders.
The art of intimacy can be learned. In various chapters, Samuels explores commitment as a playpen and a pause that refreshes, achieving a quiet sharing of self with another, transforming anxiety into peace, working with anger and turning it into patience and compassion, moving beyond idealized romance into authentic love, exiling boredom and making it into an incubator for exciting growth in a relationship, coping with the seven-year itch, discovering the inner beauty when the outer beauty fades, and becoming a soul mate with your partner. The author does a good job of blending psychological insights with practical suggestions and practices. And every once in a while he throws in a gem like this one: "An angry word is like a hand grenade thrown into the temple of love."