Use It or Lose It…

comments 4
Christ / Course Ideas

I wrote recently about thought systems, and then I got to thinking…

There’s a prevalent concept in our still predominate worldview that goes like this, “Use it.  Or Lose it.”  Use the budget allocation your department has been given within the current fiscal year, or it will be taken away.  Use your bicep to lift hunks of metal once or twice a week until your arm is burning like a sonuvagun, or it will atrophy.  Best to use both biceps, or you will be all off kilter.  Use your brain periodically to solve certain beguiling types of problems- like learning to write children’s stories in Sanskrit- to keep your neural pathways supple and active.

This rule applies to just about everything we know… because it’s part of our thought system.  It doesn’t apply to who we are, however- to being unique expressions of a Love that never ends.  Practice and effort won’t help in that department, and aren’t needed.  As Jesus said in A Course in Miracles, “All expressions of Love are maximal.” (T-1, I.1:4)  Love is boundless.  Creation is perpetually being extended and increased, and the Love at its core neither withers nor atrophies.  If we get forget who we are for a few billion years, it’s okay- the Love we are is wholly unfazed.  We can pick it up without missing a beat.  Put simply, we don’t weaken.

Even if we don’t use it, we can never truly lose it…

But here’s one of those points where we repeatedly smack into big granite walls of reality, or stumble awkwardly along the edges of cliffs, dreaming of flying even as we pander to the fall.  What does that mean, really, that “we don’t weaken”?  Sounds like rubbish.  How far deep into denial can one venture before experiencing reality’s harsh correction?  Look around, right?  Metals rust.  Wood rots.  Sugars ferment.  Bodies age and people die.  Eye muscles tire and vision wanes.  Muscles atrophy.  Hot things cool.  Stars blow up from the inside out.  There is clearly a pattern here…

The use it or lose idea is indeed part of a pattern, as it is part of a complete thought system, and a thought system is an interconnected network of ideas.  The use it or lose it thought doesn’t stand alone, but is tied in with our ideas of identity, loss, power, and time.  If I look at the life I am living through the use it or lose it mentality, I can see much I have already lost, and many losses that are pending.  I am inclined to start planning and protecting.

If I look at the life I am living through the eyes of Christ, however, I see the infancy and death of my personality, and of everything in between, as facets of a complete whole, as an integrated continuum of Love, being- a whole which reminds me of timeless beauty and perpetual life.  If I look at the personality I am being through the eyes of Christ, I can see it as the tangible becoming of a timeless Truth, and am free to be exactly where I am at, free of the need to glorify one stage over another.  The life of my personality will wax and wane, like the fruiting of an infinite tree, but my identity in Christ will not.  It will not weaken because it is the fruit, and it is the tree, and it is the ground in which its roots are nourished, and it is the sky in which it’s leaves are fluttering.

If we are willing to look through the eyes of Christ, we discover that we never weaken.  It is impossible.  The truth of who we are cannot be found in the same thought system as the use it or lose it idea, but it remains true nonetheless.  And I think Jesus is saying in A Course of Love that we are free to let such ideas go, to drift downstream past the horizon, and simply disappear…  I think he is saying that if we don’t use them, perhaps, we can finally lose them…


  1. “Free to simply disappear.” How lovely, and such a difficult thing to write about.

    We never weaken, it seems to me, because weakening is part of who we are; it is integral to being. In being so, this weakening represents (in the words of Dogen) “our full completion”, just as our growth and strength do when that is our life.

    Having said that… It is not easy when we see it happening. Not easy. This too, our part of our full completion.

    Another wonderful, thought and spirit-provoking post… Be well~


    • Thanks for the beautiful reply. “We never weaken… because weakening is part of who we are…” Awesome. My heart feels like you just served it a cup of tea… I appreciate your taking the time to visit and share. Michael


  2. It is strange, isn’t it, that being who we truly are is so confronting for so many. We all have to finally work out who we are, our true path and come to peace with all that is and will be. The beauty is that whatever this entails is perfect in every way…. we simply need to understand and believe it.
    Beautifully written Michael. Something to be contemplated often.


    • Thanks for the encouragement and the wisdom in your reply. It is indeed strange that being who we truly are can be confrontational. It’s also strange that despite being integral to Everything, there’s a specific, fractal outpouring of Everything that only we can be. We do indeed have to finally work out who we are, because nobody can work it out on our behalf. And we can’t go back to being nothing at all! Onward we fractal flowerings of timelessness! Michael


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