From scribbling his quotes down in my diary as a kid to sharing his thought-provoking teachings online as a teenager, Rumi has been like a constant companion, a guiding friend in my life.
Born in what is now Afghanistan in the 13th Century, Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī is world-renowned for his wisdom and timeless teachings.
But in particular, his focus on looking within to find love, happiness, and fulfillment.
His teachings remain as profoundly relevant today as they ever were, so I’ve put together 10 quotes, each of them wise lessons from Rumi to deepen your self-awareness…Enjoy!
1) “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
My take on this profound quote, which happens to be one of my favorites, is that when you’re in pain, you’re also in a position to heal and change.
And by pain, it doesn’t necessarily mean physical pain. But emotional and mental.
Rather than focus on the negatives of the situation, Rumi is suggesting that through the turmoil and disruption, there’s also an opportunity for growth – growth being the “light” that enters you.
2) “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
As we get older, I think most of us build walls of some sort. Perhaps we’ve been hurt in the past and we’re now reluctant to go through the same painful experience again.
But a part of self-awareness is recognizing these barriers we build and continuously trying to break them down.
If we don’t, we could miss out on beautiful relationships with others. In other words, our fear can hold us back.
So, rather than keep searching for love, as Rumi suggests, why not search within, break down those walls, and allow the right love to find you?
This would lead to much more authentic, meaningful relationships.
3) “Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world, today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Probably one of the most famous Rumi quotes out there, and for good reason.
It’s easy to judge the rest of the world. It’s easy to think that we’d do better if we were in charge.
But what many people overlook is this simple fact:
If you can’t change yourself, how on earth are you going to change the world?
I believe that Rumi is encouraging us to focus on our own behavior first before pointing the finger at others.
As a collective, if we each made positive changes starting with ourselves, this would undoubtedly change the rest of the world as a result.
4) “The inspiration you seek is already within you. Be silent and listen.”
Right now, there are hundreds if not thousands of life coaches out there, ready to help you find your purpose. There are millions of motivational videos on YouTube.
We’re surrounded by the opinions of others all the time.
But according to Rumi, you don’t need any of this.
By being self-aware and focussing inwards rather than outwards, you can find what brings you fulfillment and joy in life.
You just need to quieten the world around you and listen to your soul.
5) “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
In other words, stop comparing yourself to others. Stop paying so much attention to what others do. Stop living through the stories of people around you.
Start creating your own story.
You see, when you expand the depths of your self-awareness and choose your own path in life, you’re writing your own legacy.
A legacy that actually means something to you.
6) “The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself, everything that you want you already are.”
One thing that echoes in Rumi’s wisdom is the idea that each of us has a universe within us.
He often encourages us to stop searching for answers externally and instead, turn our focus inwards.
I’ve personally found his teachings profoundly helpful, especially on my journey into self-awareness.
Through Rumi, I stopped following gurus and influencers, each promoting their own methods and practices.
What I found was that my intuition is the best guide for me.
After all, we each have different needs. We’re all on different journeys.
A guru can help you up until a point, but only you, looking within, can find the answers you crave.
7) “These pains you feel are messengers, listen to them.”
When becoming self-aware, you will undoubtedly have to face ugly truths about yourself.
Trauma. Toxic habits. Limiting beliefs.
These are the pains Rumi talks about.
When you feel a blockage, or a part of yourself that holds you back, don’t ignore it. Pay attention – this is where your healing begins.
So as you can see, his quote isn’t just about broken legs or back pain (although you should still listen to your body when it tells you it needs a break) but about healing those inner wounds.
8) “The world is a mountain. Whatever you say, it will echo it back to you.”
On your self-awareness journey, you’ll probably start to delve more into understanding your mindset.
I noticed that I can be quite a negative person. Although I portrayed myself as positive and happy, inwards I had a horrible inner-critic.
But as Rumi reminds us, we are what we think. The world around us is just a reflection of our thoughts.
If you think negatively, you’ll see negativity everywhere.
But when you adopt a positive mindset, suddenly, the world throws positivity right back at you.
9) “There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.”
The voice that doesn’t use words is your intuition. I’d like to also share this quote by Rumi:
“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.”
I think supports the notion that the less you speak and listen to others, the stronger your intuition becomes, something most people don’t realize.
The truth is, intuition can be honed and heightened.
But in order to do that, we need to start listening and trusting it.
In your self-awareness journey, you can practice this. Start with little decisions. Try to avoid asking other people for advice, or googling suggestions.
Instead, sit quietly with yourself and let your inner voice guide you.
10) “Do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”
And finally, self-awareness leads to change.
It brings up things that might be uncomfortable to face. Life decisions that don’t serve us.
Mindsets that limit us.
It’s easy to want to bury your head in the sand and avoid confronting these truths. But as Rumi says, how do you know that the other side will be worse?
If you face these areas of yourself head-on, who knows how amazing the change might be for your life?
I personally feel that with this teaching, Rumi is encouraging us to approach self-awareness with curiosity instead of fear.
Keep an open mind. Don’t reject change.
The unknown is always a bit scary, but we may find a wealth of new opportunities when we venture into it.
So, that brings us to the end of the article. To be honest, I could go on as Rumi’s wisdom is infinite and we’re fortunate to have so many of his teachings preserved.
But I think these 10 quotes are enough to help you approach self-awareness in a more simple, soul-centered way.
As Rumi emphasizes, less talking and more listening is the way to reach whatever form of enlightenment we’re each searching for.