Pico Iyer

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In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Age
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Travel is not really about leaving our homes, but leaving our habits.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Travel
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The more we run from a problem, the more we're actually running into it.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Running
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To step away from the world isn't to draw back; it's actually a way to tune in.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Inspiring
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And it’s only by going nowhere - by sitting still or letting my mind relax - that I find that the thoughts that come to me unbidden are far fresher and more imaginative than the ones I consciously seek out.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Sitting Still
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Finding a sanctuary, a place apart from time, is not so different from finding a faith.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Different
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A person susceptible to "wanderlust" is not so much addicted to movement as committed to transformation.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Movement
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Visiting a new town is like having a conversation. Places ask questions of you just as searchingly as you question them. And, as in any conversation, it helps to listen with an open mind, so you can be led somewhere unexpected. The more you leave assumptions at home, I've found, the better you can hear whatever it is that a destination is trying to say to you.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Motivational
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Adventure today means finding one's way back to the silence and stillness of a thousand years ago.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Adventure
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But it’s only by having some distance from the world that you can see it whole, and understand what you should be doing with it.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Distance
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The more internationalism there is in the world, the more nationalism there will always be, as people feel scared of the Other streaming into their neighbourhood and don't always know where to lay their foundations in a world on the move.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Moving
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I often think we're most happy when we forget the time.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Thinking
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As soon as I'm on the road, I see, often palpably, that I know nothing at all, which is always a great liberation.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Liberation
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For more and more of us, home has really less to do with a piece of soil than, you could say, with a piece of soul. If somebody suddenly asks me, "Where's your home?" I think about my sweetheart or my closest friends or the songs that travel with me wherever I happen to be.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Song
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The reason I love travel is not just because it transports you in every sense, but because it confronts you with emotional and moral challenges that you would never have to confront at home. So I like going out in search of moral and emotional adventure which throws me back upon myself and forces me to reconsider my assumptions and the things I took for granted. It sends me back a different person.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Adventure
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I suddenly realized I was racing around so much, I could never catch up with my life
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Racing
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Dalai Lama is transforming those criteria - and the whole way of conducting politics. He's conducting politics in a much deeper way than most politicians are able to. He's the only politician I know of who's a monk. The Pope, of course, is in a similar position, but the Pope isn't in the same way leading a country of many million people.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Country
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I remember many years ago, I asked [Dalai Lama] about exile and he said: "Well, exile is good because it's brought me and my people closer to reality," and reality is almost a shrine before which he sits. Exile brings us up against the wall and forces us to rise to the challenge of the moment.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Wall
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I'd spent thirty years visiting the Dalai Lama, and twenty years as a journalist going to difficult places, war zones and revolutions from North Korea to Haiti and Beirut to Sri Lanka, and the question came up: What does this man have to offer to this world which seems so torn up and so attached to conflict?
- Pico Iyer
Collection: War
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Gandhi or Bishop Tutu or the Dalai Lama. I think they're really embodiments of what we aspire to and, by keeping them in our heads, we're reminding ourselves of who we could be. That's what we're hoping to climb up towards.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Thinking
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The less conscious one is of being a writer, the better the writing.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Writing
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For citizens who think themselves puppets in the hands of their rulers, nothing is more satisfying than having rulers as puppets in their hands.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Thinking
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The Dalai Lama says Tibet and the modern world can engage in a conversation; perhaps Tibet has something to share with the rest of us based on its researches into mind, and we have a lot that we can share with Tibet.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Mind
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You can see exile as loss, and then it will be a loss for you. You can treat it as opportunity and then all kinds of benefits accrue.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Loss
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I would now put all my heart with the Tibetan people and the Tibetan cause, but not at the expense of the Chinese, and not say that Tibetans are good and Chinese are bad. And in my own life, I hope I would learn to be a little less full of right and wrongs, and a little more able to see everything as a potential right.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Heart
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From the beginning, I've stressed that home is something internal, invisible, portable, especially for those of us with roots in many physical places; we have to root ourselves in our passions, our values and our deepest friends. My home, I've always felt, lies in the songs and novels that I love, in the wife and mother that I'm never far away from, in the monastery to which I've been returning for 25 years.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Mother
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I've also learned from [Dalai Lama] that we make the world by how we choose to look at it. In any situation you can make it constructive or dismaying, depending on that powerful computer we call the mind.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Powerful
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As Thoreau famously sead, it doesn't matter where or how far you go - the farther commonly the worse - the important thing is how alive you are. Writing of every kind is a way to wake oneself up and keep as alive as when one has just fallen in love.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Writing
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The open road is the school of doubt in which man learns faith in man.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: School
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Some people will always ground themselves very strongly in a piece of soil, a grandmother's property, a tiny plot of land, and that's great. But in the Age of Movement, there's no question that the number of people who don't - or can't - is growing exponentially.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Grandmother
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Often when we think of exile we think of destruction or loss. But the Dalai Lama always says exile is reality, it's something we can make use of, and he has used it to get rid of everything that he thought was stifling and old, and to create a new, improved and much healthier Tibet.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Loss
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As a member of the mainstream media for many years, I've learned just one thing: never to trust anything I read in the mainstream media - not because of any agenda or deliberate dissimulation, but simply because it's filtered and comes very often from someone whose judgment I might not trust in other circumstances.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Media
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Many people would say that A Tibetan monk, even in Lhasa, may be free while the ruler of China may not be free.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: People
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For centuries, Cubas greatest resource has been its people.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: People
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I like the way that American has become a kind of spiritual home even for people who have never seen it. American dreams are strongest of all in the hearts of people who have only seen America in their dreams. I think it's refreshing and reviving to go around the world and see how America still occupies this special place.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Spiritual
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Serendipity was my tour guide, assisted by caprice
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Serendipity
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I think people like me are in a relatively privileged position because we have to some extent chosen to live in foreign places. I would always make the distinction between those who are exiles in terms of being thrown out of the place they want to be, and others who are exiles in terms of going toward a place they would rather be.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Thinking
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I think that foreignness is always with you. Indeed, I find California more foreign to me the longer I live here. In thirty years of living here on and off, it hasn't lost anything of foreignness. If anything, it has gained.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Thinking
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I like California because it still has the glamour and romanticism and exoticism of a very foreign place. It was the place that when I was young, I was raised on "I Love Lucy" and listening to the Grateful Dead and reading Jack Kerouac. They, to me, were all symbols of this very foreign sense of promise and movement. After all this time here I'm glad I still have it.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Reading
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What is fascinating about a place like Los Angeles airport is that it is lots and lots of people, many of whom have saved up all their lives and channeled all of their energies toward coming to the promised land of abundance and plenty - the American Dream. But as soon as they arrive here they get a crash course in the American reality.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Dream
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America has a hold on imaginations that no other country does. I think that is partly because it is an immigrant country and there is still a kind of innocence in America that translates very well everywhere in the world.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Country
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I think people's minds are going to have to assimilate in the sense that all the world is international now. The whole world has gone global. I think cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are the models of our future.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Thinking
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One of the interesting things about Los Angeles is that it's still supplying the whole of the world with its dreams through movies and songs and TV - often of an all-American family at the same time as the real Los Angeles is peopled by souls from Vietnam, Guatemala, and Korea who look nothing like the images being beamed out. I think all that is going to have to change and illusion is going to have to catch up with reality in that regard.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Dream
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As soon as I began to talk to Dalai Lama, I realized that Chinese and Tibetans from his point of view are mostly the same. And as he pointed out during the recent disturbances, the Chinese are suffering under a tough government much as the Tibetans are.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Government
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The Australians, it seems to me, thrive on their remoteness from the world and see it as a way of keeping up a code of "No worries, mate," while peddling their oddities to visitors: nonconformity is at once a fact of life for many, and a selling point.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Oddities
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Suffering is a privilege. It moves us toward thinking of essential things and shakes us out of complacency. Calamity cracks you open, moves you to change your ways.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Moving
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Everyone is a Wordsworth in certain moods, and every traveler seeks out places that every traveler has missed.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Travel
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Yes, we know more than ever before, and it's a wonder that we get to inhabit a world full of driverless cars and 3D printers. But that doesn't mean that we know any more about the essential things in life - love, faith, death - and it would be dangerous to assume we did. The only thing that gets us through sometimes is a proper, humbled sense that we don't have a clue, we can't be sure what's going to happen next and life will always be much larger than our ideas of it.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Mean
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Writing of every kind is a way to wake oneself up and keep as alive as when one has just fallen in love.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Writing