The most important thing is for each of us to have some freedom in our heart, some stability in our heart, some peace in our heart. Only then will we be able to relieve the suffering around us.
– Thich Nhat Hanh
The thing with profound quotes like this is that their meaning depends on your current level of understanding of these matters.
That’s why you read something once and then when you read it again 10 years later you see the meaning you didn’t see before. Now I’m not one for following any particular religious text but given what I’ve just read, it makes sense why people participate in bible study groups.
So this quote to me is from the Buddhist philosophy. I personally sum up the meaning of this quote by saying that if you are not free, not stable and have no peace in you, then you’re not in a fit state to help anyone else.
When I’ve read stuff on Buddhism in the past I’ve understood that the purpose of what they teach is to achieve personal enlightenment first so that you’re in the best possible state to then go and help others.
Basically, if you are a bag of misery, how effective are you going to be at helping people find happiness? Not very helpful.
So if we really want to help people, we need to make sure we are helping ourselves first. Because only if we are strong, free and peaceful can be stand any chance of making a difference to others.