“Most of us will have many friends throughout our lifetimes—friends of all shapes, sizes, and callings. Many of these are wonderful, meaningful friendships. Some are difficult. But some magic few of these are connections that have gone right to our soul. These five or seven or ten friendships have been powerful keys to determining who we have become and who we will become. . . . These are the people I call Soul Friends.”
As the Senior Scholar-in-Residence for over 25 years at the renowned Kripalu Center, Stephen Cope has spent decades investigating—and writing about—the integration of body, mind, and spirit and the rich complexity of our relationships with others, and with ourselves. Perhaps the central truth that arises from his work is this: human beings are universally wired for one thing—vital connection with one another.
Soul Friends invites us on a compelling journey into the connectivity of the human psyche, the study of which has fascinated scholars, philosophers, and thinkers for centuries. Cope seamlessly blends science, scholarship, and storytelling, drawing on his own life as well as the histories of famous figures—from Eleanor Roosevelt to Charles Darwin to Queen Victoria—whose formative relationships shed light on the nature of friendship itself. In his exploration, he distills human connection into six distinct yet interconnected mechanisms: containment, twinship, adversity, mirroring, identification, and conscious partnership. Then he invites us to reflect on how these forms of connection appear in our own lives, helping us work toward a fuller understanding of “who we have become and who we will become.”
Without a doubt, the journey to our most fulfilled selves requires us to look within. But in order to truly thrive, we must make the most of who we are in relation to one another as well. Unsparingly honest, deeply wise, and irresistibly readable, Soul Friends gives us a map to find our way.