Angels of love and hope

Give the gift of hope. That's the idea anyway. For the materialistic minded stuck in specifics, it may boil down to giving a pretty coffee mug. If it is the thought that counts, it's cool if the gift itself contains the thought.

Here are about two dozen unique angel miracle coffee mugs through CafePress.com based upon the angel illustrations of Carmen Cameron, coupled with quotes and ideas borrowed from A Course in Miracles.

Christmas Angel Miracle Mugs

Alphabet Angel Miracle Mugs

From: Give the gift of hope on The Learning Curve


Aloneness or Oneness?

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905 - 1980) was the leading figure in 20th century French philosophy, in the Existentialist tradition. Sartre was also a playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. His 1944 No Exit is perhaps his best known play. It has been adapted to film three times, with the most recent being the 2006 version directed by Etienne Kallos.

No Exit begins with the character Garcin being led into a room that the audience soon realizes is in hell. The room has no windows, no mirrors, and only one door. Eventually Garcin is joined by two woman. After their entry, the valet leaves and the door to the room is shut and locked. All expect to be physically tortured, but no torturer arrives. Instead, the characters come to understand they are there to torture each other.

Most of the play is about the pain they try to inflict upon each other verbally. They apply psychological torture to each other effectively by probing the other's flaws, desires, failings, and unpleasant memories, without compassion and absent the will to heal. Near the end of the play, Garcin demands he be released, and at his words the locked door flies open. However, none of the three will leave.

" . . . . Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
’relax,’ said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave! "

Hotel California - Eagles

No Exit is the source of Sartre's most famous quotation, "Hell is other people." This quote is perhaps the most succinct summation of how the ego belief system views a world full to the brim with others. It is an attitude that may reliably be categorized as an ego belief because a major lesson of the Course is the right-minded view of our brother as our savior. Every encounter with an other has the potential for being a Holy Encounter. The Course teaches us the polar opposite of Sartre's statement, "Hell is other people."

"The analysis of the ego's "real" motivation is the modern equivalent of the inquisition, for in both a brother's errors are "uncovered" and he is then attacked for his own good. What can this be but projection? For his errors lay in the minds of his interpreters, for which they punished him. Whenever you fail to recognize a call for help you are refusing help. Would you maintain that you do not need it? Yet this IS what you are maintaining when you refuse to recognize a brother's appeal, for only by answering his appeal can you be helped. Deny him your help and you will not perceive God's answer to you."

- A Corse in Miracles, Original Edition
The Course teaches that Heaven is other people. Heaven is here, Heaven is now, and the means are at hand through our relationships with others. Heaven is right here and now among us all. When Jesus said, "Lo, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21), he was talking to a crowd. The New International Version (NIV) of the Gospels gives an alternate translation for this passage, "the kingdom of God is among you." The "you" being spoken to is you (plural).

Greta Garbo is famous for saying, with some considerable sincerity, "I want to be left alone." It is easy to see that this sentiment is the sugar-coated version of "Hell is other people," and that it means the same thing. I want to be left alone because being with other people is hell, from the ego's point of view.

Super sugar-coated renditions of the idea, "Hell is other people," are found the writings of various Hindu gurus and mystics, and others. One such is the following quote from the Ashtavakra Gita, an ancient Hindu text that presents the traditional teachings of Advaita Vedanta:

"He has gained the fruit of knowledge,
as well as the fruit of practice of yoga,
who, contented and purified in his senses,
ever revels in his aloneness.
Oh! The knower of truth
knows no misery in this world,
for the whole universe is filled by himself alone."

- Ashtavakra Gita

Whatever similarities the Hindu teachings of Advaita Vedanta may have with A Course in Miracles, it is easy enough to spot the obvious differences. Advaita teaches that you alone are God, where the Course is clear that you are not God and you are not alone. The Course teaches an over-arching oneness of unified purpose and essential relationship between God and the Sonship. Advaita Vedanta teaches an ideal of total identification with the ultimate Godhead in its singular aloneness. The contrast could not be more clear.

To modern Western ears, the teachings of Advaita Vedanta and so-called "non-dualism" sound very similar to the idea of solipsism.

Solipsism is a word constructed from the Latin root words 'solus,' meaning alone, and 'ipse,' or self. Literally it means "the self alone," and it is the philosophical idea that "My mind is the only thing that I know exists." With solipsism, the external world and other minds cannot be known, and may not exist at all.

Although this may have some superficial similarity with some isolated teachings of the Course, it is certainly not the meaning of the Course when it is taken as a whole. Entire sections of the Course relating to the joining of minds would need to be swept under the rug or otherwise discounted. The Course takes the position that other minds not only can be known, the false divisions that create an appearance of separate minds must be healed to know the true Oneness of a unified whole.

If solipsism represents the idea that nothing exists outside yourself, the Course offers the view that if anything is seen outside of yourself is only because you have defined your 'self' as much too small. We don't know who we are, in other words, or even how big we really are. Not to mention where we are. It is an important distinction.

As Peter Scholtes wrote, "There is a difference between having a vision and suffering from a hallucination."