Pico Iyer

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I exult in the fact I can see everywhere with a flexible eye; the very notion of home is foreign to me, as the state of foreignness is the closest thing I know to home.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Home
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In terms of technology and science, tomorrow does know more than yesterday; but when it comes to emotions, living with uncertainty, terror, I'm not sure we know any more than Shakespeare did, or the Buddha. And the power of new things - the iPhone or Facebook - is so strong and intoxicating that we sometimes forget that none of them can fundamentally change our relation to ourselves and to what matters.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Strong
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Its no coincidence that the word holiday suggests a holy day, or that the longest book in the Torah concerns the Sabbath. If you wish to advance in any sphere, the best way is to take a retreat.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Book
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Like the moon on the water, in a way. When you confront a Zen master, what you're really seeing are not his limitations but yours.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Moon
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So travel for me is an act of discovery and of responsibility as well a grand adventure and a constant liberation.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Adventure
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A lack of affiliation may mean a lack of accountability, and forming a sense of commitment can be hard without a sense of community. Displacement can encourage the wrong kinds of distance, and if the nationalism we see sparking up around the globe arises from too narrow and fixed a sense of loyalty, the internationalism that's coming to birth may reflect too roaming and undefined a sense of belonging.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Loyalty
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I wanted to bring the book out right now because I think anyone who cares about Tibet knew there would be disturbances in the run up to the Olympics [2008]. Many Tibetans feel it's their last chance to broadcast their suffering and frustration and pain to the world before the Olympics take place and China is accepted as a modern nation and the world forgets about Tibet.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Running
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I think Dalai Lama is always careful about stressing that people be led into the practice by somebody who knows what's going on.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Stress
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We may be joined these days more by the questions we have in common than by the answers we share.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: May
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Writing should ... be as spontaneous and urgent as a letter to a lover, or a message to a friend who has just lost a parent ... and writing is, in the end, that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Writing
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What more could one ask of a companion? To be forever new and yet forever steady, to be strange and familiar all at once, with enough change to quicken my mind, enough steadiness to give sanctuary to my heart. The books on my shelf never asked to come together and they would not trust or want to listen to one another. But each is a piece of a stained-glass whole, without which I wouldn’t make sense to myself or to the world outside.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Book
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We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Travel
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Travel spins us round in two ways at once: It shows us the sights and values and issues that we might ordinarily ignore; but it also, and more deeply, shows us all the parts of ourselves that might otherwise grow rusty.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Travel
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Movement is only as good as the sense of stillness that you can bring to it to put it into perspective.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Perspective
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We can better see what we don't have. The other man's grass is always greener and now we can actually go and visit his grass much more and feel the absence of green in our own lives.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Men
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We travel, in essence, to become young fools again - to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Summer
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I love the fact that we can't explain coincidences. I think it's like sometimes you walk into a crowded room and you'll see a stranger and you feel as if you know her better than the friends that you came with. And the very fact that you can't explain it is what gives it its power, that it lies in some deeper or mysterious realm, I think.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Lying
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Every day there are small moments when we have a choice: will we take in more stuff, or just clear our minds out for a bit?
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Choices
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I do think it’s only by stopping movement that you can see where to go. And it’s only by stepping out of your life and the world that you can see what you most deeply care about… and find a home.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Home
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Destinations are less important than the spirit you bring to them.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Important
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Traveling is a way to reverse time, to a small extent, and make a day last a year - or at least forty-five hours - and traveling is an easy way of surrounding ourselves, as in childhood, with what we cannot understand.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Years
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In an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Age
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Any school would gain, if the students began the day with meditation, cleared their heads and got themselves centered.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: School
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All good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Like Love
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Home is essentially a set of values you carry around with you and, like a turtle or a snail or whatever, home has to be something that is part of you and can be equally a part of you wherever you are. I think that not having a home is a good inducement to creating a metaphysical home and to being able to see it in more invisible ways.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Home
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In a world full of shifting borders, everything is happening all at once in every possible direction.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Borders
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Not many years ago, it was access to information and movement that seemed our greatest luxury; nowadays it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize. Stillness is not just an indulgence for those with enough resources – it’s a necessity for anyone who wishes to gather less visible resources.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Years
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A comma . . . catches the gentle drift of the mind in thought, turning in on itself and back on itself, reversing, redoubling, and returning along the course of its own sweet river music; while the semicolon brings clauses and thoughts together with all the silent discretion of a hostess arranging guests around her dinner table.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Sweet
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In our appetite for gossip, we tend to gobble down everything before us, only to find, too late, that it is our ideals we have consumed, and we have not been enlarged by the feasts but only diminished.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Gossip
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...home lies in the things you carry with you everywhere and not the ones that tie you down.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Lying
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The Dalai Lama says don't pray for peace, don't wait for peace, don't talk about peace - do it right now.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Waiting
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It so often happens that somebody says 'change your life' and you repaint your car rather than re-wire the engine.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Car
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In the end, we need two things to lead a balanced life - a sense of the world and a sense of ourselves; it's like breathing in and breathing out. And if you can only get to know the world by stepping out, and losing yourself in experience, you can only get to know the self by stepping back, and finding yourself in contemplation. One without the other leads to a kind of madness.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Motivational
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Going nowhere isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Turning Your Back
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There's so much visible stuff around now, we're tempted to forget that it's usually the invisible that matters most.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Matter
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Unlike many spiritual leaders, Dalai Lama is never been in a position to just sit on a mountain top handing out wisdom. He's had to live out his principles in the middle of this very complex situation, every day for sixty years or more. I think it's something that moves many people about his example.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Spiritual
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Travel is an act of humility
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Humility
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Because I don't belong entirely to Britain or the U.S. or India or Japan, I build my foundations in some way deeper than mere passports, and more in the light of where I'm going than of "where I come from."
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Light
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Writing is, in the end, that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Writing
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So it is that Lonely Places attract as many lonely people as they produce, and the loneliness we see in them is partly in ourselves.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Lonely
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Literally, when you wake up at 9 o'clock in the morning in Havana you don't know where you'll be at noon. But it's a safe guess that you'll either be married, arrested, or in the midst of some incredible transaction where somebody is stealing your passport or paying you in Dominican pesos for it, or whatever. It's a wild place.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Morning
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Movement is a fantastic privilege but it ultimately only has meaning if you have a home to go back to.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Home
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When one questions [Dalai Lama's] political actions, it is worth remembering that he's the single most experienced politician on the planet at this moment.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Political
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What we have to do is act as clearly and with as pure motivation as is possible now, and that will sow the seeds for good action maybe in the twenty-second century.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Motivation
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If you'd asked me some years ago, I would have said [Dalai Lama] is an extraordinarily compassionate, clear-sighted, calm human being. But now, I'm more convinced than ever that his political positions as well as his spiritual positions arise out of such precise and realistic thinking that they're extremely sound.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Spiritual
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Lonely Places, then are the places that are not on international wavelengths, do not know how to carry themselves, are lost when it comes to visitors. They are shy, defensive, curious places; places that do not know how they are supposed to behave.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Lonely
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One curiosity of being a foreigner everywhere is that one finds oneself discerning Edens where the locals see only Purgatory.
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Eden
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It's impressive that a man [Dalai Lama], on the day after his Nobel Prize was announced, in October, 1989, said to me, "I really wonder if my efforts are enough?" Most of us, if we just won the Nobel Prize, would think this is vindication, or at last there's a chance for Tibet. He's the rare person who thinks, as a Buddha would, "I don't know if I've done enough, I don't know if I will do enough."
- Pico Iyer
Collection: Men