The Essential Henri Nouwen
Dr. Jonas was a close friend of Henri Nouwen. Sometimes, when he led spiritual retreats, Nouwen asked Jonas to accompany him and to play his meditative shakuhachi music for the retreatants. In Nouwen's last year of life, he lived with the Jonas family in Watertown, MA and wrote the core material for three new books. In one of those books, Sabbatical Journey, Nouwen talks about his experiences in Watertown. In 1998 Jonas was asked by one of Nouwen's publishers, Orbis Books, to write a short biography of Nouwen, including a compilation of his best excerpts. Jonas said yes, and his popular " Henri Nouwen: Writings Selected with an Introduction by Robert A. Jonas (Modern Spiritual Masters Series. New York: Orbis, 1998) is now in its seventh printing.
Last year, Shambhala Publications asked Jonas to write another bio-plus-compilation of excerpts for their particular audience. One of Shambhala's editors had read Jonas's book about Nouwen. It struck him that Nouwen's writings were similar to the Tibetan Buddhist writer, Pema Chodron. Both writers, he said, are psychologically savvy, hopeful and realistic, and with profound spiritual depth. Both write clearly and simply, from direct experience. This new book for Shambhala is the result. Some elements of the book are similar to the Orbis book of eleven years ago, but the Introduction/bio and the excerpts reflect changes in our society and on planet earth since 1998. Enjoy!