I thought a book review might be interesting for those looking to read something interesting – whether it’s for reading week, March break, or simply because you love to read. My friend Josh suggested the book Soul Friends, by Stephen Cope, and i am so glad he did!
In this book, Stephen Cope explores a very specific kind of friendship, something he calls a soul friendship. He describes these as “powerful keys in determining who we have become and who we will become”. They are friendships that form and change us at a deep level.
Soul friendships illustrate the transformations that happen through human connection. I know I used to have the attitude that I was going to “go it alone” and somehow I would get more done, be more productive, and things would be simpler. Things may be simpler on one’s own, and yet in recent years I have had the pleasure of realizing how much more interesting, dynamic, and transformative being in relationship is. It’s an entire yoga practice in and of itself!
There’s a story about St Francis of Assisi that so wonderfully illustrates the power of relationships as a practice. Three disciples came down from their individual caves on the mountain to St Francis and asked him to teach them the path to enlightenment. He said to them, “I want all three of you to move into one cave together. I want you to take turns being the Father, Mother and Child respectively. This will teach you what you need to know.”
The Soul Friends book describes six types of deeply transformational relationships: containers, twins, noble adversaries, noble allies, mirrors and sacred partners. For each section he gives an example from his own life, an example from someone famous (like Darwin!), and then ends each section with contemplation questions so you can begin to see who your soul friends are (and have been) and how they have enabled your growth and potential in some way.
I found this book heart warming, fun, and I loved figuring out who my soul friends are. And now, with this idea in hand, I am looking at the practice of relationship in an entirely different and inspired way.