Helping others is helping yourself because reality is one indivisible whole. Separations are illusory. When you give something to others you are giving to yourself. This is how law of Karma works. You are always giving to yourself and sooner or later, you’re bound to get it back. Karmas bind us. Positive ones are chains of gold and negative are iron chains, still until all iron chains have been broken, you need to keep holding onto golden ones. Peace is beyond all chains, when ego becomes a fringe element, peace is unshakeable.
If you want to help others, out of compassion or because it’s a healing process for you, you need to come down from your high horse. Sometimes you have to pretend that you need help and then you come into a deeper contact with those who need to be helped. Some people need help and are ready to accept it. Some people need help but don’t know they need it. Some others need help but can’t ask for it because of their reservations and inhibitions.
There was a saint in India, contemporary to Buddha, known as Mahaveera. He was the twenty-fourth enlightened master in the tradition of Jainas. He had a peculiar ability to help people without letting them know about it. He was a naked mendicant who used to beg for food everyday as it was customary for renunciates in his age. He used to go to homes in villages in the vicinity of his meditation center and called owners for food and when they came out with alms, he used to put a condition before accepting them.
His condition was to not to accept food unless he had delivered a small sermon. People used to accept those sermons out of pity for him. They thought it was kind if they heard him for a minute and helped him with their alms. Thus he used to infect people with his presence and it started transforming them without their knowing about it. Thus Mahaveer could help many people who would otherwise not accept the help. He was born in a royal family and renounced everything for realization of self and there was abundant charity by kings and businessmen to serve his needs but he chose to beg for food especially for this reason.
Such sages teach us how to help others and be kind to them. Though it’s true that sages are beyond the need of all help and we are ordinary mortals who need much help, we can learn a lot from them and contribute our own bit to society. It’s also true that before knowing oneself fully, there is no possibility of truly helping others.
Only when you’re beyond the need of all help can you really help others. If two of us are in a moss, we can’t help each other out. The more we try to help more we sink deeper into it. It takes someone outside the moss who can throw a rope, a branch from climber or a hand to pull us out. Still, it is alright to keep helping people in your capacity as you walk towards the light and bliss.