Now, folks, this doesn’t mean if you get a bill in the mail that you laugh uproariously, stuff it in a drawer, and don’t pay it! No! Please, people, be normal! We still do the things we need to do in the world, but we also remember that Jesus says the idea of separation is insane and could never have any real effects or results: “Together, we can laugh them both away [the tiny mad idea and the belief that it could accomplish something], and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time” (T-27.VIII.6:4-5).
Time is a joke, according to Jesus. If you’re new to the Course, the idea that there is no time may seem a little far out, but go with me on this. It was only in forgetting to laugh that the separation became a “serious” event that seemed to happen. In reality, nothing happened. While it’s certainly a relief to realize that, we should also be aware of our ego’s huge investment in making the separation real. If we had laughed at the tiny, mad, stupid idea, it would have disappeared like a popped soap bubble. But we “remembered not to laugh” so we could make the separation soap-opera bubble appear to be real. (And remember, time isn’t real, so the moment of the tiny, mad idea creeping into eternity where all is one is now, this present moment.) But those of us on this path have experienced enough soap-opera misery to have gotten to the point where we’ve thrown up our hands and said, “There’s got to be a better way!” The Holy Spirit is answering us by teaching us how to laugh.
The world is not real! It’s a soap bubble! That’s why we can laugh. It’s a joke to think that time is real. Eternity, which is all there is, means there is no time. In gentle laughter, the Holy Spirit helps us to see that everything that seems to be happening here isn’t the big deal we think it is. It’s just an illusion, or, if you prefer, a movie or a YouTube video clip. But we resist Holy Spirit’s correction because the ego wants the separation to be real. The ego wants us to believe the past is real because the past is a witness that “proves” the separation and our separate identities exist. We exist, we have a past (often a miserable past) and it’s all so very, very serious. That’s why we so willingly sacrifice our peace and joy by living in the past. We cling to the past and to our stories, which seemed to have taken place in the past, when we continue to brood over what this or that person did to us. You know the stories: My parents didn’t give me the love I needed. My ex-spouse was cruel and vindictive to me. My children were ungrateful and spiteful. The soap-opera drama stories go on and on and on. Geez, enough already!
We also try to make the past real by clinging to our mistakes. I could wallow in my mistakes. I’ve been married four times. Yes, four. What was I thinking? If I choose Holy Spirit as my Teacher, I’ve a lot to laugh about. I could ask Him, “What can I learn from this?” or I could groan in despair and sing the dirge. Obviously, I wasn’t in my right mind back then. But it’s OK. God still loves me. That’s never changed. Through all those crazy situations, Holy Spirit was always with me. When He said “Turn right” and I turned left, He didn’t say, “To heck with you, girl!” He said, “I love you and when you’re ready, join with me and come back.” Even when I seemed to be taking the wrong turn, the Holy Spirit was with me at every step.
When I live in the past, forget joy, and feel crushed by the seriousness of the world and my mistakes, I’ve made judgments. Through these judgments, I believe I understand what’s going on. That’s an attempt to control through “understanding.” And these judgments are always very serious. I think: “This isn’t right. It’s awful! A tragedy! This shouldn’t have happened to me.” I think I know, and I believe my own opinions. But what does Holy Spirit do? The Text says, “You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed. Perhaps you come in tears” (T-27.VIII.9:4-6). Yes, indeed, I came to the Holy Spirit in tears many, many times. And Jesus comforted me by reminding me to listen to Holy Spirit: “But hear Him say, ‘My brother, holy Son of God, behold your idle dream, in which this could occur.’ And you will leave the holy instant with your laughter and your brother’s joined with His” (T-27.VIII.9:7-8).
…We can laugh because we can lay down our illusions. As Jesus tells us in the Workbook: “Repeat God’s Name, and all the world responds by laying down illusions. Every dream the world holds dear has suddenly gone by, and where it seemed to stand you find a star; a miracle of grace. The sick arise, healed of their sickly thoughts. The blind can see; the deaf can hear. The sorrowful cast off their mourning and the tears of pain are dried as happy laughter comes to bless the world” (W-pI.183.3:1-5).
Excerpt from CHANGE YOUR MIND! TALKS ON A COURSE IN MIRACLES