I live in a community that is not big on Sabbath-keeping. Stores and entertainments are open pretty much every day, except for an occasional, usually Christian, holiday. Thanks to digital commerce and entertainments, even if local area stores and entertainments are closed, other consumption is possible. I’m not advocating a return to blue laws, which insisted that there is only one Sabbath for everybody (Sunday – the laws were written and passed by Christian majority that wasn’t caring for the practices of their multifaith neighbors).
But in choosing to keep the Sabbath and curb my consumption on that day, I’m choosing to live more mindful of my own limits. In general, I try to be mindful of my consumption, but ceasing shopping one day a week really shakes me awake. It is one of the habitual ghosts of the rest of the week I brush against when I find myself restless to go buy some local tomatoes. Instead, I have to sit within the discipline of Sabbath with my restlessness, returning my attention to some of the reasons I consume: habit, yearning, emptiness, busyness, the pleasure of a really fresh ripe tomato. The only good reason out of those for me is the pleasure of eating that tomato. Everything else is not mindful consumption, but distraction myself from what is.
Because the rest of the week I’m choosing mindful consumption, I can still find myself slipping into habit, yearning, emptiness, and busyness and restlessly consuming. Sabbath-keeping, though, is teaching me through this habitual mindful shifting to be more attentive and self-aware during the rest of the week, to live with greater reverence all the time.