Echo looked at his guardian expectantly, tail wagging. “Sit!” she said and he promptly placed his bottom on the ground. In doing so, he received a word of compliment, a stroke behind his ears (which he loves) and a treat. “Go Fetch!” she commanded, throwing his toy a few metres away. He ran, grabbed it between his jaws, and laid it at her feet. Similarly, he received compliments, caresses at his favourite spot and another treat. “Spin!” she instructed. He spun two circles and earned his rewards like before.
To acquire his rewards, Echo had to do certain things like sitting, retrieving and spinning on command. He had to ‘pay his taxes’ to gain his fruits of labour. Nothing came free for him.
In your life, do you pay taxes? Are you aware of how much tax you pay? How do you feel about paying those taxes? As your income taxes come due, you might be like many people – complaining about what you have to fork over to the government. Forty percent of everything I make goes to these people? And for what?
Do you see the value or resent the idea of it? Do you try to evade or avoid paying your taxes? Do you realise that tax evasion is possible but not probable and for those who got caught (most of them) would wish they paid the taxes, to begin with? And the only way to avoid paying taxes is not earning the money in the first place which leaves you in a poorer situation.
First off, taxes go to a lot of programs and services you almost certainly take for granted. Second, do you think you’re so special? People have been complaining about their taxes for thousands of years, and now they are dead. Get over it. Third, this is a good problem to have. Far better than, say, making so little there is nothing left to pay the government or living in anarchy and having to pay for every basic service in a struggle against nature.
But more importantly, income taxes are not the only taxes you pay in life. They are just the financial form. Just like death and change, paying taxes in your life is the only other constant. Everything we do has a toll attached to it. Waiting around is a tax on travelling. Rumours and gossip are the taxes that come from acquiring a public persona. Disagreements and occasional frustration are taxes placed on even the happiest of relationships. Theft is a tax on abundance and having things that other people want. Wastage is a tax on produce on a larger scale. Stress, failure and problems are tariffs that come attached to success. And on and on and on.
Before you start to resent paying your taxes for life, consider the alternative. If you do not want to wait ever, you will not travel. If you do not want rumours and gossip, you will stay small and unnoticed. If you do not want disagreements and frustration, you will not have relationships. If you do not want theft, you will have minimal belongings and not have anything that others may crave. If you do not want wastage, you will stay small-scale so everything can be accounted for. If you do not want stress, failure and problems, you will not choose success or be successful. Which is the larger price to pay? Which is the worse cost to bear? For many, the lack of tax in those areas may bring more pain than the taxes involved.
Evading those taxes is also futile. In many situations, it is either impossible to evade them or the cost of evading them is even higher than the tax themselves.
Know that there are many forms of taxes in life. You can argue with them, you can even go to great – but ultimately futile – lengths to evade them, or you can simply pay them and enjoy the fruits of what you get to keep.
It is a privilege to be paying taxes. It means that you are doing something worthwhile and of value. No one (including the universe) would tax you if there was no value. The more taxes you pay, the more value you are providing and subsequently, receiving. Be grateful to be paying taxes. Not many are that lucky!
Echo understands all about paying his taxes to receive what he desires. Do you?
‘Nothing will ever befall me that I will receive with gloom or a bad disposition. I will pay my taxes gladly. Now, all the things which cause complain or dread are like the taxes of life – things from which, my dear Lucilius, you should never hope for exemption or seek escape.’ – Seneca, Moral Letters, 96.2