Monday, September 18, 2017

The Rebel, the Rye & Rishikesh

J.D. Salinger, left, after the Normandy invasion. World War II, 1944

September 17, 2017

I didn't know Salinger was in the war (and had PTSD) when he wrote Catcher in the Rye. I knew he went into seclusion and never published again and I knew that he died in 2010. But I didn't know he was big into meditation and Hinduism until I saw it on the screen at River Oaks Theater today while I was watching Rebel in the Rye. I got goose bumps.  [bxA]

I was at a meditation retreat a couple of weeks ago with Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Center. They barely touch on it during the week of silence, but he was part of the zeitgeist when the Beatles went to India and followed Maharishi Mahesh in the 1960s.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with the Beatles in India, 1968

I love those bits of the Chopra Center retreat - Brent and Deepak show the occasional photo, drop a name like George Harrison and on the last day when we break silence, we do some Sanskrit chants (my favorite).

It brings me back to my time in India studying yoga and meditation at the Sivenanda ashram in Ketali, near Rishikesh. That was 8 years ago - 2009. After the month long program in the Himalayas on the Ganges river, I wandered back to the city of Rishikesh. It's a thriving little town filled with yogis and yoga schools and two bustling pedestrian bridges for people and cows to cross the river.  I found my way to the famed "Beatles ashram" which is abandoned now, but quite an adventure if you can figure it out. (I wrote about it on this blog somewhere).

After the overwhelming success of Catcher, Salinger left the city and stopped publishing. He said it was all a distraction - the city, the fans, the persistent need to be published.

I found this quote from Franny & Zoey (1961), which I have not read (yet):

Yesterday I saw on Facebook that one of my favorite people from my London days announced he is signing off of Facebook for awhile. I was jealous. I've been wanting to do that for a while.

And so last night I signed off Instagram (because it was easy). I have to do a little bit of planning to deactivate Facebook, but it's next.

I wonder if it is possible to write without the awareness that someone might read it?