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" It's an old principle, as old as the Buddha or Marcus Aurelius: We need at times to step away from our lives in order to put them in perspective. Especially if we wish to be productive. "
" Contractions, 'U' for 'you' and the like are wonderful to make communication brief and efficient - but we wouldn't want all our talk to be only brief and efficient. Taking pauses out of language would be like taking the net away from a tennis game. Where would all the fun go? "
" To see the Persia of poets and painters, hiding in plain sight behind the much-maligned Iran of our newspaper headlines, would be my fondest wish. "
" All of us are feeling scattered and distracted as we try to keep up with an accelerating world. But nearly all of us have an answer in our hands, in simply choosing to do nothing and go nowhere for a while. "
" We readily go to the health club when our doctor suggests we need more exercise, but we regularly neglect the 'mental health club' that our well-being more truly requires. "
" The poverty one still sees in America today is more shocking to me than anything I have seen in Ethiopia or Calcutta or Manila, and has made me, as someone living in a society of great wealth and someone who's never had to worry about the next meal, think seriously about what universal responsibility really means. "
" It's 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. "
" A holy day, after all, is a day for considering everything you otherwise think too little about. "
" I remember how, in the corporate world, I always knew there was some higher position I could attain, which meant that, like Zeno's arrow, I was guaranteed never to arrive and always to remain dissatisfied. "
" I think the world is always going to be as diverse as it always has been. "
" Something in us is telling us we're moving too fast, at a pace dictated by machines rather than by anything human, and that unless we take conscious measures, we'll permanently be out of breath. "
" Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight. "
" What I treasure most at any moment is intimacy, surprise, a sense of mystery, wit, depth and love. A handful of cherished friends offer me this, and the occasional singer or film-maker or artist. But my most reliable sources of electricity are Henry David Thoreau, Shakespeare, Melville and Emily Dickinson. "
" The first time I stepped onto the rooftop of the Potala Palace in Lhasa in 1985, I felt, as never before or since, as if I was stepping onto the rooftop of my being: onto some dimension of consciousness that I'd never visited before. "
" For centuries, Cuba's greatest resource has been its people. "
" A traveler is really not someone who crosses ground so much as someone who is always hungry for the next challenge and adventure. "
" To me, part of the beauty of a comma is that it offers a rest, like one in music: a break that gives the whole piece of music greater shape, deeper harmony. It allows us to catch our breath. "
" I've yet to use a cellphone, and I've never tweeted or entered Facebook. I try not to go online till my day's writing is finished, and I moved from Manhattan to rural Japan in part so I could more easily survive for long stretches entirely on foot, and every trip to the movies would be an event. "
" The recipe to an unhappy life in Japan is to want to be Japanese if you are not. Anyone who wants to penetrate the country is setting themselves up for tears and disappointment. "
" Travel for me is all about transformation, and I'm fascinated by those people who really do come back from a trip unrecognizable to themselves and perhaps open to the same possibilities they'd have written off not a month before. "
" Writing is how I find out what I believe and what I care most deeply about. It's how I sort through the mess of daily experience and try to make sense of it - by stepping out of it for a while. Writing is how I train a searchlight into the darker corners of my self and the world, as I'm sure I'd never do otherwise. "
" One of the happier ironies of recent history is that even as Tibet is being wiped off the map in Tibet itself, here it is in California, in Switzerland, in Japan. All over the world, Tibetan Buddhism is now part of the neighborhood. In 1968, there were two Tibetan Buddhist centers in the West. By 2000, there were 40 in New York alone. "
" I'm no Buddhist monk, and I can't say I'm in love with renunciation in itself, or traveling an hour or more to print out an article I've written, or missing out on the N.B.A. Finals. But at some point, I decided that, for me at least, happiness arose out of all I didn't want or need, not all I did. "
" In the two-room flat where I live in Japan, I try to take time every day to step away from the bombardment of e-mails and opportunities and papers around my desk, for an hour, and just sit on our 30-inch terrace in the sun, reading something sustaining, whether 'The Age of Innocence' or the latest by Colm Toibin. "
" Certainly, I think Canada is many years ahead of the curve and still the great global pioneer. "
" Almost everybody I know has this sense of overdosing on information and getting dizzy living at post-human speeds. "
" Where you come from now is much less important than where you're going. More and more of us are rooted in the future or the present tense as much as in the past. And home, we know, is not just the place where you happen to be born. It's the place where you become yourself. "
" I couldn't follow the events of September 11 because I was proofreading a novel I'd just completed - on Islam and its quarrel with the West - that I'd promised, six months earlier, to deliver to my editor on September 12, 2001. "
" Abjure all accretions and turn off the lights. Put on some music - Leonard Cohen, say, perhaps his 'Various Positions' - and let your mind cool down. Soon you'll forget there's a word called 'stress.' "
" It takes 25 minutes to recover from a phone call or an e-mail, researchers have found, and yet the average person receives such an interruption every 11 minutes. Which means that we're never caught up; we're always out of breath, running behind. "
" I would never call Jerusalem beautiful or comfortable or consoling. But there's something about it that you can't turn away from. "