The ancients say that you cannot look directly at the sun. It is only through a veil that the sun's rays can be glimpsed, dimmed as it were, through the shadows it casts. The real world, what we take for real, is the product of the veil of Maya (a Sanskrit term meaning illusion) which sweeps over the one true reality, which cannot be glimpsed but only felt, like the sun's rays, like my friend's dream, because we are it. We are the light, God.
The dreams we have while asleep are of the same level of reality as waking life. One is a night dream, the other a day dream. The only real difference being the length. Day dreams last longer and have the appearance of continuity, while night dreams are disconnected, but the internal logic and seemingly real quality is the same, as is the unreality. Think of a blank movie screen. That is the reality (God). The images that flit and flash upon the screen? Waking (or dreaming) life.
Which raises the question why dream at all? Why this experience of life? Well, why go to a movie? Ultimately, it is to be entertained! To have a good time (which occurs less and less in the current blockbuster age of superhero sequels and kiddy cartoons, but that's another topic). Life is not for the living but for the dreaming. For the fun. It is said that the Creator and Master of the universe created the world for sport. In this story (of waking life) you are not only the viewer but the experiencer as well. You get to live the role that was written especially for you. We are all Clark Gables and Betty Davis's...of life!
But it is important to remember the unity of spirit that underlies everything, for that way how can you experience hatred or animosity but only love? When beyond the veil of Maya all is ultimately one, when the lights go out what you are left with is the picture screen, when you see God in all and all in you, how can you experience anything but love. Ah, there the solution to the riddle of life lies. For love needs an object, and so the one becomes the many. It's all for love. Ah, love! Ah, life!
You can read about life's mysteries in ancient books. All the world's major religions have them, and the Vedas predate all other scriptures and are considered the breath of the divine revealed, but more important than any book, than even the guidance of a teacher, is direct experience. In order to know God, you must be what you seek! Which is surprisingly simple, since you are it already. You are the goal!
Many people report out of body experiences, encounters with deceased loved ones, depersonalization, derealization, fainting spells, waking dreams, sleep-paralysis, some drug-induced, some not. We have all at one point or another had the feeling that what we take for the real is actually unreal, that there is a deeper level that daily life with its focus on externalities and its preoccupation with rituals and chores and pastimes, seems to ignore.
That reality that pervades everything is what is meant by the term God, though even to name it is to limit it. It is what is. In the Bible it is summed up with the words, "I am that I am." In Sanskrit, "So-ham."
To achieve that unity with your surroundings, an existence without boundaries, is to have a glimpse of Self-realization. Then the goal is to extend that fleeting glimpse of your true nature, throughout life. Life's purpose is the unification of spirit and matter.
Living in such a way, seeing God in every being and all beings in you, how can you experience hatred, jealousy, or rivalry? By training yourself to feel God in everything, by going beyond the mind, you merge in the divine. You may fear losing your individuality, but what you gain in totality is well worth it.