Anatolian Wisdom

Who Am I ?

Who Am I ?

Anatolian Wisdom is a spiritual path based on self-knowledge. Anatolian sages often asked themselves this question: Who am I? Because according to them, human is Microcosmos. Alchemists saw the human body as an Athanor  for which “the great work was prepared.” In Kabbalah, the human body contains the diagram of the tree of life. The person has both characteristics of creation as soul and body. Therefore, when he knows himself, he will be able to master the knowledge of both sides of existence.

Who knows himself knows his Lord

In Sufi thought, man is the one who gathered the levels of existence before him. When a person gets to know himself, he will also know God. In Sufism, it is said that “He who knows himself knows his Lord”. In Anatolian Sufism, “knowing oneself (knowing the essence)” is located at the 3rd of the 4 doors, namely the Door of Ma’rifah – divine knowledge (Click to read Four Doors Forty Stations in Anatolian Wisdom). And there is a special definition for this: Ma’rifah al Nafs. The word nafs is used because when a person says “I”, what he is talking about is nafs.

The two Qur’anic verses showing that the knowledge of God is also found in the soul becomes the starting point of this thought:

“And on the earth are signs for the certain [in faith] and in your nafs (yourselves). Then will you not see?” (Adh- Dhariyat 51:20/21)

“We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within nafs (themselves) until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?” (Fussilat 41:53).

Accordingly, God is manifested in the outer and inner world. Therefore, it is a priority to know oneself as the best way to know God. Just as there is the knowledge of God in the soul, there is also the knowledge of evil (In fact, evil is not a separate force from God):

“…But if good comes to them, they say, “This is from Allah “; and if evil befalls them, they say, “This is from you.” Say, “All [things] are from Allah .” So what is [the matter] with those people that they can hardly understand any statement?”

“What comes to you of good is from Allah, but what comes to you of evil, [O man], is from yourself” (An-Nisa 4:78/79)

Nafs (self) has the will to choose the good and the bad. Which one it will incline depends on the person’s self-knowledge. Awareness and self-education usually begins when a person realizes that his nafs has a choice of every evil. As soon as Nafs is inclined to evil, the truth begin to break. Rumi says that the gold in the hands of people who are sick with the poison of his soul will be stone; He says that if he loved someone wholeheartedly, there would be hostility and war.

Cyclical Understanding for Who Am I?

In Sufism, everything goes from “one” to “one” again. And human, as being at the end of the hierarchy of beings, is the one who carries the information belonging to “one” the most. Since the piece carries information about the whole, everything you will know about yourself is information belonging to “one”. Rumi says that the soul carries both pain and restlessness, peace and calm. The pain and restlessness are the restlessness of the child who is away from his mother because of being detached from “one”. Rumi likens the process of self-knowledge to opening a vent from a jug to a sea.

Yunus Emre, one of the sages of Anatolian Sufism:

Knowledge of science is to know science

Knowledge of science is self-knowledge

If you fail to attain self knowledge,

What good is there in your studies?”

Yunus Emre, one of the sages of Anatolian Sufism


A Pilgrimage journey is a journey towards oneself

Some arrive at the Kaaba for good deeds; Don’t you know the Kaaba at your door? (Sümmani)

And then again the question of Who Am I? Human is such a sacred being in Anatolian wisdom: The Kaaba is a human and in order to become a pilgrim, one must travel to one’s own soul. The heart of Man is the Kaaba. One can become a pilgrim by taking the heart of a person. This belief, which is very common especially in the Alevi, Bektashi and Mevlevi school of Anatolian wisdom, originates from a word of God: “I do not fit into the sky, I fit into the heart of my believing servant”.

O Son, to your soul, to your head, I swear that you are unique. Look in the mirror and watch yourself. Who is beyond your apparent being. Son, you, kiss your own face, tell a secret to your own ear. See your own beauty, praise yourself, praise yourself ”Rumi

Self-aware person

He begins to seek the meaning of life, beauty and sense of value, not outside himself, but within himself. He sees every emotion, situation and person he encounters as a mirror of his soul. He knows that instead of getting angry with them, they are caused by something of their own selves. And he begins to repair these points in himself. He is aware that he is both nothing and everything. He knows that every event, positive or negative, is a journey that brings him to him and does not feel regret.

(According to a story told by Rumi in Mesnevi, a man is dreaming of a treasure in Egypt. The man gets up from Baghdad and goes to Egypt. A lot of evil events happen to him until he gets to the address. Stays in difficult situations. Upon arrival at the given address, the owner of the house gives the address of the treasure’s location. In Baghdad, it is his home address. The man is surprised that he is looking for the treasure so far away, but realizes that learning this depends on living them).

On the journey of self-knowledge for “Who Am I” question

Get a spiritual guide. A helpful guide for the “Who Am I ?” question. This could be a person. A great spirit can be a guide. Sometimes a method itself can be a guide. There will be astrology that I can suggest as a method. Astrology is a guide for both our material and spiritual selves.

Companion. A friend walking a similar path to accompany you on your journey is very important.

Being in the public. Being in contact with people who will mirror you. It offers you opportunities to get to know yourself.

What is said about you. These are important. These will also act as mirrors. If there is a criticism that you receive constantly, you should think about it.

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