An Excerpt from Jim
of September 4, 2011
from Mayan Beach Garden Inn 20 km north of Mahahual
on the Yucatán Peninsula's eastern coast just north of the Belize border,
in the state of Quintana Roo, MÉXICO
On an online National Public Radio program two folks were interviewed who'd recently
had to stop spending so much money. One, who'd always eaten at least once each day in a
restaurant, had begun preparing her own meals. The other had given up the car he'd used
for going to work, and begun using mass transit.
Though it wasn't the point of the interviews, both downsizers said that at first they'd
been depressed about having to give up things they liked, but later they were surprised to
find themselves enjoying the changes. It was fun to take control of one's food and to
prepare it just the way you like. It was a relief to forget about car maintenance and
insurance premiums, plus it was enjoyable to read on the way to and from work.
All this sounds about right to me. For, we've all seen how excess of the kind people in
our culture have become accustomed to bloats, weighs down, desensitizes, weakens,
disorients, stupefies and makes crazy.
However, most of us also have personally experienced how frugality liberates, sensitizes,
awakens, opens eyes, delights and enlightens.
How can this magical effect of frugality be explained?
I think it has something to do with frugality not being the opposite of excess. The
opposite of excess is having too little to live a healthy and dignified life. Between
poverty and excess, frugality is the golden Middle Path.
And many times here we've reflected on the magical, soul-satisfying qualities of keeping
to the Middle Path.