Pico Iyer is a British-born essayist and novelist of Indian descent.
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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.
I am simply a fairly typical product of a movable sensibility, living and working in a world that is itself increasingly small and increasingly mongrel. I am a multinational soul on a multinational globe on which more and more countries are as polyglot and restless as airports. Taking planes seems as natural to me as picking up the phone or going to school. I fold up my self and carry it around as if it were an overnight bag.
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.
Travel is not really about leaving our homes, but leaving our habits.
You rebel against your parents until you become them.
One day you look in the mirror and you see your father's face.
I'm one of those perverse people who likes being alone.
I always took myself to be a community of one. That's what I am comfortable with.
Dalai Lama has not coming to show us his kindness, so that we can enjoy his charisma, he's coming with a specific message for the specific circumstances of the world today.
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.
For citizens who think themselves puppets in the hands of their rulers, nothing is more satisfying than having rulers as puppets in their hands.
In the past, Ive visited remote places - North Korea, Ethiopia, Easter Island - partly as a way to visit remote states of mind: remote parts of myself that I wouldnt ordinarily explore.
The average American teenager sends or receives 75 text messages a day, though one girl in Sacramento managed to handle an average of 10,000 every 24 hours for a month.
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.
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.
None of the things in life - like love or faith - was arrived at by thinking;
indeed, one could almost define the things that mattered as the ones that came as suddenly as thunder.
Travel, for me, is a little bit like being in love, because suddenly all your senses are at the setting marked “on.
I think of the Dalai Lama as a doctor of the mind offering medicine and specific counsel and cures in the way a great doctor would.
Silence is something more than just a pause;
it is that enchanted place where space is cleared and time is stayed and the horizon itself expands. In silence, we often say, we can hear ourselves think; but what is truer to say is that in silence we can hear ourselves not think....In silence, we might better say, we can hear someone else think.
For centuries, Cubas greatest resource has been its people.
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.
For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you can’t quite speak the language, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re pulled ever deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can be a love affair, where you’re left puzzling over who you are and whom you’ve fallen in love with.
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.
The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.
Just as there are many more Californians now to be found in the temples of Kyoto or the villages of Bali or the mountains of the Himalayas than ever before, what is also exciting is that one can just go downtown Santa Barbara and find ayurvedic medicine, Thai restaurants, and Japanese cars in abundance.
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.
Home is not just the place where you happen to be born. Its the place where you become yourself.
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.
Movement is a fantastic privilege but it ultimately only has meaning if you have a home to go back to.
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 . 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.
The less conscious one is of being a writer, the better the writing.
The ultimate purpose of Zen,' I remembered the roshi telling me, 'is not in the going away from the world but in the coming back. Zen is not just a matter of gaining enlightenment; it's a matter of acting in a world of love and compassion.
In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.
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.
We may be joined these days more by the questions we have in common than by the answers we share.
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.
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.
Our own country seemed more polarized than it's ever been and since the two terrorist attacks of 9/11, religion was in greater disrepute than at any other time in my lifetime.
In an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow.
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.
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.
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.
We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.
American dreams are strongest in the hearts of those who have seen America only in their dreams.
To step away from the world isn't to draw back; it's actually a way to tune in.
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.
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?
I think that America is an ideal place for the privileged homeless, who are used to different cultures. It's easiest and most accommodating because it is a country of exiles and immigrants and newcomers. There are no walls, in that sense. There is always the sense that traditions are being made as we speak. So you can slot yourself in. If you are living at a distance in society, this is one of the most congenial societies to live in.
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.
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.
That's the great advantage of being a foreigner: you're not paying your dues, but you are getting all the benefits.
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.
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.