The Accumulator

(Audience participation is in parenthesis.)

(Below is an interesting excerpt from one of Dr. Bob’s workshops.)

Have you ever observed an accumulater. Some people accumulate – they have an accumulative instinct. They feel rich by accumulating “whatever” whether it’s ideas or many other things.

One time I was on Grand Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri just standin’, watching the show go by; and there was a man came down the street that had pots, pans, old pot lids, old shoes, everything tied all over his bib overalls with leather strings. Now there was trash cans sitting in front of the stores and one was a millenery store.   So he stopped and looked in there and found a ladies hat. He pulled it out, got his knife out of his pocket, punched a hole in it, got a string laced through it and tied it on.

So I’m watchin’ this and thinkin’; man, you look like so many other people only you’re doin’ it literally and they do it symbolically. They gather up lots of junk that they protect and take good care of. And so I stare at him; and pretty soon he catches my eye that I’m staring at him. So we stare at each other for quite a time. People walk by, but we keep on — we don’t lose the stare. And pretty soon he reaches up and he undoes the one string and he puts the junk in the trash can; and he goes all the way down. He had ‘em tied around his leg with leather thongs like boot straps. He undid it; and when he got the last piece off, he forced the wrinkles out of his overalls, looked at me with a face, spit, and went on.

(Bob were you giving him suggestion more than just the spirit.)

No, I was just trying to understand dear. He looked just like all the rest of the people goin’ up and down the street, — they’re accumulatin buildings and merchandise. He was just accumulatin’ junk, but it’s all the same – nobody’s gonna take it with them. And I think he suddenly realized that this looked a bit ridiculous to accumulate all this ‘cause he wasn’t gonna take it with him anyway, so he just pulled it off and put it in the trash. And he told me what he thought of me.

(You messed in his fun!) (laughter from the audience.)

I was a dirty old killjoy – He had pans and old coffee pots and everything tied all over him. The barrel was full when he got it all taken off. He must have had 25, 30, 40 pounds of this stuff piled on him.

(Man, he must have felt real good to get rid of that.)

Well, I don’t know. But he had a motive – to accumulate. Now why do we accumulate if we stop to think of it? We want to accumulate because if we accumulate, we are more secure from future pain — is that the general idea? But that also means I made a prison for myself; and now I’m inside thinking I’m protectin’ myself from future pain. So the accumulative idea is not a natural thing – it is a conditioned thing. To accumulate is to serve the first decision — I will be comfortable later, huh? Maybe I feel more secure if I can impress people. How do you feel, Joseph, when you’re struggling to accumulate?


Highly disturbed! And if you do accumulate?

(You’re still disturbed.)

Because you might lose it.

(Yes, you might lose it.)

And somebody might stare at you.

(Somebody might take it away from me.)

Somebody might stare at you and you’ll have to tear it off, huh? So then the accumulation is a motive for what – for future comfort due to the first decision which is to regain the nondisturbance experienced before birth, huh?

So always the mind is planning, working, struggling in one way or another to accumulate and then after it accumulates, it struggles to maintain. Does that make any sense? Now we could ask the question, are the possessions owned by the person, or did the possessions own him.

(Oh I get it, the possessions own him.)

Okay, and so the struggle goes on and on. Now if a person looked and said, “All right, I enjoy that ocean out there just as much as if I had a title to it.” Huh? Is that joy? It’s a re-evaluation of values.

I used to live in Albuquerque, and there’s a beautiful mountain range that goes down the east side of Albuquerque called Sandia Mountain. The Simmons family owns the mountain. But you know, I enjoyed it a bit more than they did because they had to pay taxes and I didn’t. The face of that mountain turns color every afternoon – the color of a ripe watermelon which is what sandia means in some languages. I used to be sure I wasn’t gonna be busy at that time so I could enjoy it.

So can you have action from agape with the understanding that you don’t need to accumulate. Now if it is put in your charge, fine, you still haven’t accumulated it – you are using it. Sometimes we find a person greatly disturbed over the struggle to keep a house or something and they call it “my home” – and if we can get them to say “the house” or “the automobile” and, really not just say it; but understand the idea behind it. Then they are doing something for the Host. The Host says would you look after this “whatever or whoever”. Is it “mine” or does it still belong to the Host. And I’m doing it for the Host.

So this gets down to where if we can think about the new good, it is an action without a motive and we tell a little story of asking four questions — what am I, where am I, what am I doing, what have I been doing.  I’m a privileged invited guest at this beautiful estate called earth.  Life is the Host and all the other guests are like me – they’re privileged invited guests also.  I only do for the Host.  So if one of the other guests is hungry; the Host says, if you like, would you feed him – it doesn’t say I “have to” or “must” or “should” – He won’t throw me out if I don’t, so then perhaps I would choose to feed the other guest and who am I doing it for?

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