Idries Shah Quotes
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Enlightenment must come little by little - otherwise it would overwhelm.
The word 'choice' is a fraud while people choose only what they have been taught to choose.
Knowledge is not gained, it is there all the time. It is the "veils" which have to be dissolved in the mind.
Trying to force something is the best way to stop it happening.
Opinion is usually something which people have when they lack comprehensive information.
You must empty out the dirty water before you fill the pitcher with clean.
The Sufi way is through knowledge and practice, not through intellect and talk.
Meditation - Before you learn how to meditate, you must unlearn what you think meditation might be.
Have you noticed how many people who walk in the shade curse the Sun?
Right time, right place, right people equals success. Wrong time, wrong place, wrong people equals most of the real human history.
A motto of the human race: Let me do what I like, and give me approval as well.
Study the assumptions behind your actions. Then study the assumptions behind your assumptions.
Knowledge is something which you can use. Belief is something which uses you.
A king who feared wasps once decreed that they were abolished. As it happened, they did him no harm. But he was eventually stung to death by scorpions.
When tomorrow comes, think tomorrow's thoughts.
If, from time to time, you give up expectation, you will be able to perceive what it is you are getting.
The chicken had his wish, and was magically transformed into a fox. Then he found that he could not digest grain.
Please, not again what you studied, how long you spent at it, how many books you wrote, what people thought of you - but: what did you learn?
Materialism, attachment to things of the world, includes pride. Many religious people suffer from pride: taking pleasure or even delight in being good, or religious.
The proverb says that 'The answer to a fool is silence'. Observation, however, indicates that almost any other answer will have the same effect in the long run.
Effort makes some great men famous. Even greater effort enables other great men to remain unknown.
You are adrift while you still think that a means is an end.
An egocentric pessimist is a person who thinks he hasn't changed, but that other people are behaving worse than before.
When you realize the difference between the container and the content, you will have knowledge.
When Fortune knocks, open the door,' they say. But why should one make fortune knock, by keeping the door shut?
To 'see both sides' of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides.
The Way of the Sufis cannot be understood by means of the intellect or by ordinary book learning.
The secret of Sufism is that it has no secret at all'.
The impatient man is his own enemy; he slams the door on his own progress.
When a belief becomes more than an instrument, you are lost. You remain lost until you learn what 'belief' is really for.
Worry is a cloud which rains destruction.
You have not forgotten to remember; You have remembered to forget. But people can forget to forget. That is just as important as remembering to remember - and generally more practical.
Prescribing hard work for the soft, or easy work for the hardy, is generally nonsense. What is always needed in any aim is right effort, right time, right people, right materials.
It is the message, not the man, which is important to the Sufis.
Advice is priceless: when it becomes interference it is preposterous.
It is not only a matter of not caring who knows - it is also a matter of knowing who cares.
The Path is not to be found anywhere except in human service
A real secret is something which only one person knows.
Enemies are often former or potential friends who have been denied - or think that they have been denied - something.
It is not important to have said a thing first, or best - or even most interestingly. What is important is to say it on the right occasion.
There is a Persian proverb: 'To test that which has been tested is ignorance.' To try to test something without the means of testing is even worse.
The union of the mind and intuition which brings about illumination, and the development which the Sufis seek, is based upon love.
The colour of the water seems to be the colour of the glass into which it has been poured'.
The stupidest man I ever met had a favourite saying. It was: 'What do you think I am, stupid, or something?
You need not wonder whether you should have an unreliable person as a friend. An unreliable person is nobody's friend.
If you can turn a murderer into a mere thief, you are making progress.
Sometimes a pessimist is only an optimist with extra information.
The more wakeful a man is to the things which surround him, the more asleep is he, and his waking is worse than his sleep.
Premature independence is the daughter of conceit.
A generous person may not have wisdom: but, unlike others, he has the means to gain it.