If you started spiritual life late and need a crash course, start with this one-pager: http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/divine1.html.
If you need more, read “The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment,” http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/index1.html .
You’ll get the whole picture in about an evening.
If you don’t have time for that, here is the whole thing in a nutshell.
Where you stand in the universe is that you are one of the forms that the formless, nameless, unborn, uncreated One made in order that It might have the pleasure of experiencing Its own Self.
The Formless has no means to experience Itself. If there is only the One, then who is there to experience the One? If there are no forms in the Formless, then by what means is experiencing possible?
So, in order to taste Its own Love and Bliss, It created finger-puppets with smiley-faces on them. It dressed them up in clown suits and played Punch and Judy with them.
Finally after years and years of playing different roles, they got tired of it and began to ask “What’s going on here? Who are we really?”
Before long, the first finger-puppet noticed the rest of the arm and then the face and then awoke in a moment of enlightenment to the fact that it was itself a finger of that arm, a part of that One; then in a later stage of enlightenment, it awoke to the fact that it was the One itself; and then, still later, that everyone and everything was that same One; and so on.
Each time a finger-puppet awoke, as the form returned to Formlessness, whether briefly or forever, the Formless had an experience of its own Love and Bliss.
That’s the whole drama in a nutshell.
All of this – First Contact and Ascension – is finger-puppets en masse awakening to one level of their identity with the Formless. All of it is for the pleasure of the One.
It is a masked ball. A game of hide and seek. That’s why Hindus call it a lila or divine play. There is one Audience and one Player playing all roles.
It is we who make it a tragedy or comedy, but the ending is always the same – off come the mask and the same one Player is seen and known, amidst great joy and bliss!