- Expected 25 May 2021
A case for friendship as a radical practice of love, courage, and trust, and seven strategies that pave the way for profound social change.
Grounded in the Buddha’s teachings on spiritual friendship, Radical Friendship shares seven strategies to help us embody our deepest values in all of our relationships. Drawing on her experiences as a leading meditation teacher, as well as personal stories of growing up multiracial in a racist world, Kate Johnson brings a fresh take on time-honored wisdom to help us connect more authentically with ourselves, with our friends and family, and within our communities.
The divides we experience within us and between us are not only a threat to our physical and emotional health—they are also the weapons and the outcomes of structural oppression. But through wise relationships, it is possible to transform the barriers created by societal injustice. Johnson leads us on a journey to becoming better friends by offering ways to show up for our own and each other’s liberation at every stage of a relationship. Each chapter ends with a meditation or reflection practice to help readers cultivate vibrant, harmonious, revolutionary friendships. Radical Friendship offers a path of depth and hope and shows us the importance of working toward collective wellbeing, one relationship at a time.
Meditation instructor Johnson (Friendship as Freedom) draws on her experiences as a multiracial person living in the Midwest as well as meditations on Buddhist concepts to offer insight into how friendships can help overcome differences. Johnson argues that intimate relationships are neither normal nor easy, and require a commitment to compassion and practices that promote pluralism. She suggests ways to strengthen friendships, such as contemplations on what counts as "wise speech" and ideas for confronting obstacles to one's ability to truly listen. Johnson also provides practical advice on how to cultivate bonds that bridge divides over religion, race, sexuality, class, gender, or physical ability such as revealing one's views, disabilities, identities, and "ways we've been harmed" to others. She calls out implicit white privileges within what she identifies as a "culture of ownership and individualism that perpetuates economic injustice" and suggests practical solutions (such as "popular reparations" like community land grants) and using an empathic tone to simultaneously confront bias and cultivate kindness. Johnson's simple principles for forming friendships will aid anyone wishing to disrupt their normal routine.