On April 15 we pay a portion of our earnings to the government to be redistributed. These taxes are essential to running our society. There are good, bad and difficult yogic concepts hidden within this one day.
Perhaps most yogic (and spiritual) about paying taxes is ridding ourselves of excess. It is no coincidence that every spiritual tradition encourages humility and poverty. By giving up our possessions, we avoid the common problem of mistaking our possessions for ourselves. Even though taxes aren't technically voluntary, we can offer them with that state of mind.
We should celebrate the opportunity to support our fellow humans, our environment and community, paying the salaries of our teachers, fire department, police and other government-paid employees.
Of course, there are also philosophical challenges to paying taxes. When our government uses public money to fund programs to which we are morally opposed, it turns the greatest benefit (see above) into the greatest frustration. (We must take care, though, that we don't use this as an excuse to hoard our resources.)
In conclusion, we have the power to control our state of mind about paying taxes. We could think about it like government oppression, with the state taking our hard earned money. Or we could think about it as an opportunity to support the people and institutions around us.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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