by The 1955 TV series The Honeymooners starred Jackie Gleason who played an ordinary, everyday man named Ralph Kramden. Ralph was a bus driver living in a modest apartment with his wife Alice (Audrey Meadows) and frequent house guest Ed Norton (Art Carney), a sewer worker.
In the episode called the Tax Man, Ralph is upset because the IRS sends him a letter ordering him to appear before a tax examiner. He panics, thinking the IRS must have found some unreported income. The fear drives him mad. His imagination begins to think-up extreme scenarios, including ending up in federal prison for tax fraud.
When he finally meets the examiner, he is so afraid that he loses his capacity to speak. He starts babbling incoherently. When he is finally able to compose himself and muster the courage to ask what the problem is, the examiner simply tells him he forgot to sign his tax return.
How often do we catch ourselves making a mountain out of a molehill?
Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now, says that Descartes got it wrong when the philosopher said, “I think, therefore I am.”
According to Tolle, the mind is a superb instrument, if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not that we use our mind wrongly—we usually don’t use it at all. It uses us.
This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. You are the fearful scenarios your mind creates. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken over you.
How much of our time and energy is consumed with aimless thinking—dwelling in the past, or projecting into the future?
There is a lot to be learned from Mr. Kramden. His mind tricked him into thinking the worst was going to happen. He manufactured an entire story which ended up being pure fiction. To always be thinking that something bad has happened or could happen is a terrible burden many of us experience.
Managing our fear is important. Not just for our financial health, but it’s important for our physical and spiritual health as well.
The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear, Nelson Mandela