This first principle serves as an antidote to fear and sorrow by encouraging you to experience life as joyous. As we begin on the path, joy may come and go in small glimmerings. Yet in the end, laughter will dispel suffering like so much smoke and dust. Suffering is one of illusionís most convincing aspects, but it is still unreal.
A golden rule applies here: What is true in the material world is false in Godís world, and vice versa. In this case, the material world seems to be dominated by crisis and suffering, and therefore the sanest way to approach life is with worry, anxiety, and defensiveness. But once your consciousness shifts, you realize that life itself couldnít exist without an underlying creativity, and that this continuous act of creation is in itself an expression of ecstasy. These qualities are the basis of your life, also.
In fact, the lens of materialism gives us the least accurate view of the world, because through it we see consciousness as merely an accidental byproduct of brain chemistry, and the powers of the mind as a myth. To equate the deepest reality with inert atoms colliding with each other in the dead cold of outer space denies all that sustains life and makes it worth living: Beauty, truth, art, love, morality, community, discovery, curiosity, inner growth, and higher consciousness.
What do all these qualities have in common? They depend on intuition. There is no objective proof that love is beautiful, or that the truth can set you free. Rather, you must come to these realizations through your own inner experience. On the spiritual path everything depends on a shift in consciousness; nothing depends on atoms colliding.
What we have, then, is two opposing world views contending for your allegiance. Is it better to be spiritual or materialistic? Is God a mere add-on to physical existence, or at the very root of existence? This isnít an easy choice to make, because the evidence is seriously out of balance.
Most of us have extensive personal knowledge of the material world, but scant personal knowledge of God. God has a lot of proving to do. He must prove that heís present and dependable, the same way a rock or a tree is. If we want to claim that God sustains life, he must sustain it as viably as air, water, and food do. In other words, to realize God is no small thing. It may take a lifetimeóif youíre lucky.
To begin this journey, commit yourself to the possibility that everything you see around you is far less real than God. You want to see the truth ďwith all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,Ē as Jesus says. This is actually a commitment to joy. When you feel momentary happiness, or you want to burst out laughing, or you smile for no apparent reason, you are glimpsing eternal reality. For a fleeting moment the curtain has parted so you can experience something beyond the illusion. In time, these moments of joy will begin to knit together. Instead of the exception, they will become the norm. There is no better way to know that you are growing in God-realization.
Adapted from Why Is God Laughing? by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2008).