This chapter contains a great paragraph:
Sabbath is a time to stop, to refrain from being seduced by our desires. To stop working, stop making money, stop spending money. See what you have. Look around. Listen to your life. Do you really need more than this? Spend a day with your family...sit with your spouse on the couch, hang out--do what they do in the [catalog advertisement] picture without paying for it. Just stop. That is, after all, what they are selling in the picture: people who have stopped. You cannot buy stopped. You simply have to stop.
...then, at the end of the day, where is the desperate yearning to consume, to shop, to buy what we do not need? It dissolves. Little by little, it falls away.
But the rest of the chapter, unfortunately, is a diatribe against consumerism whose train of thought derails (in my opinion). It makes a little more sense when the previous chapter and this one are combined. Under the umbrella of a section called "the pursuit of happiness," the previous chapter says "money can't buy happiness" and this one says that if you participate in an understanding of the world where you consume to be happy, then your fundamental state has to be unhappiness, so that the things you buy can make you (momentarily, but never completely) happy--until you take Sabbath time to stop and realize that you really do have enough.
I think Tripp has it right--Muller is aiming at simplicity. It's just the whole "thus the free market canonized grasping, conumption, and desire as the essential human impulses" thing that gets under my skin.
The first time I ever encountered the idea of the Sabbath as a break from spending money, it was in conversation with another priest. She was the massively overworked type; I caught her, one day, strung out and exhausted, and asked when the last time it was she took a day off. She explained that today was the Sabbath for her, and the way she kept it was to not spend any money... not even for a diet coke out of the machine. This sounded just a little bizarre to me (and yes, I became the goyim who would buy her sodas from the machine that day), and I thought it missed the point of a day off. But it was an odd enough idea that it stuck with me, and grew on me over time. After thinking about Muller's anti-consumer rhetoric for a couple of weeks, I think he's got a significant point to make for modern society, and I'm going to have to keep ruminating on the idea of non-participation in the wheels of economy as a Sabbath practice.
Muller's suggested exercise this week actually made me laugh out loud when I read it. His suggestion: practice some "slotha yoga," a cute name for staying in bed in the morning when you wake up. Let yourself wake up, Wayne says, and spend the next hour in bed...
My beloved probably said it best (just picture her counting on her fingers, please): This is the advice of (1) a morning person, who has (2) no children at home, (3) no pets, and (4) no job.
I honestly can't recall a stretch two days in a row in my whole life (not since summers in junior high school) when I woke up without an alarm clock of some kind. Wayne might say that my life is seriously out of balance... but the point is, I can't even imagine what his exercise looks like.
I tried a modified version, this Sabbath day (which is why this post is late): I got up, made coffee, walked the dog, took the kid to school, came home, got back into my pyjamas, and lazed around all morning. I even took a morning nap. (this is exactly what would happen if I tried Wayne's exercise as suggested: about three minutes of contemplating restfulness, followed by immediately going back to sleep) I deliberately didn't work on anything, not even (at the risk of losing husband points) fixing the broken upstairs toilet. I played games; picked up our son early from school, and walked the dog. To my surprise, at the end of the day, I felt slightly disgruntled at not having accomplished anything all day!
I guess I'm enough of a people person that trying to 'stop' without having my family and friends around to be stopped with (my Sabbath days are spent alone) defeats the intent of the suggested exercise. Oh well, better luck next week.