As an early course student I struggled a lot with wondering why I should care about anything in this world if it's all an illusion.
In truth, Jesus is never asking us to deny our experience in this world. He's actually asking us to do just the opposite. To use our experience here (in form, time, and space), as a tool for correcting the errors of the ego. In other words, we need the dream to correct the errors of the dream.
Before this sank in, I spent a lot of time throwing caution to the wind. I wasn't sure why I should care what I ate, or how I lived. Why worry about our physical health at all if its all just an illusion?
What's funny is that in some ways, it actually doesn't matter what you decide. What matters is that you do whatever you're choosing to do without guilt. Jesus makes us a promise in the Course. He promises that the carpet of time and space is already rolled up. That the thought of separation from God happened in an instant, and the dream is already over. That we never actually left the arms of God and Perfect Love.
On the flip side, we are here having this experience. And so its ok to do whatever we need to do to make this dream a happy dream.
I think sometimes choosing to dream a happy dream might also involve looking at whether the things you think you want are actually bringing you closer to God. Do our vices actually make us happier? Does seeking pleasure from our compulsions and desire for instant gratification actually lead to peace? Does it feel loving? Or does it feeling like answering a call from the ego?
This one has taken me a long time to reconcile. And in some ways I'm still working on it. I have found though, that if you allow yourself to follow pleasure and desire without guilt, that process starts to lead you down a different road. Letting go of the guilt and shame around your behavior choices is what changes everything. It allows for an opening in your conscious awareness so that you can actually see and feel whether your choices are serving you in a deep way.
My advice for others at this stage of my process would be to explore engaging in your vice or habit with more permission, curiosity, and grace. We can actually do this with any repeating behavioral choices we are making. Notice what it actually does for you. Notice how you feel before, during and after. Notice body, mind and spirit. Practice telling yourself that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. In truth you are perfectly whole and innocent and you embody perfect love no matter what you choose.
But sometimes, letting go of that guilt starts to lead to new insights. And for me those insights slowly and gently led me to a new way of living and taking care of myself. When the guilt was gone, the fight was gone. And I was now free to respond to the needs of mind and body from a place that felt more genuinely loving and less forced.
Maybe your happy dream involves one where you allow yourself to follow pleasure and desire in the moment. One where you throw all caution to the wind. But if you find that those choices aren't leading to peace or a greater awareness of loves presence, then perhaps your happy dream comes from finding new ways to respond to the needs of your mind and body within this dream.
In the end, there's no right or wrong. Just trust in yourself and the Holy Spirit within. He is always guiding you.