"Voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone ..." William Wordsworth

24 June 2022

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Dharma lessons from Holden Caulfield...
As Saint Paul writes in Thessalonians, “Let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.” Holden wouldn’t know to put it this way, but he’s on the trail of awakening. His hunting hat signifies his commitment to the search, and wearing it backward signifies his willingness to go against the grain, to separate himself from the others, the sleepers. 

But when he yells, “Sleep tight, ya morons!,” Holden crosses the line between separation and contempt—the kind of wise-ass contempt that teenagers are famous for. On the spiritual path, that’s a rookie mistake. The stubbornly immature keep doubling down, condemning the stupid world for failing to appreciate their suffering and their genius, for not showering them with attractive girlfriends or boyfriends who find their problems fascinating, for telling them to go clean their room. If they read The Catcher in the Rye, they mistake it for an invitation to indulge in Holden’s worst tendencies, to persist in their unwinnable war with the world. 

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