Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, worship, psychic control or philosophy — by one, or more, or all of these — and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, dogmas, rituals, books, temples, and forms, are but secondary details. -- Swami Vivikenanda
According to the Vedas, Brahma first created ego, which is the root, the sense of "I"-ness with nothing beyond it. This level of I-ness can be compared to deep, dreamless sleep. There you and I exist, with nothing beyond it. In deep sleep we are not even aware of being "I," unless we come to another level of consciousness such as dreaming or waking. And this "I" has a will--not Supreme Will but limited will--percolating from the total Will of God. As God willed first, ego then wills. But when ego wills, we call it desire. This desire is the first vibration we create from the unit called "I." It expands and creates a wave, a vibration, what we call astral or subtle personalization of consciousness. The basis is Consciousness.
In that waveless ocean of Consciousness, the ego wills or desires. This produces motion in Consciousness and is the beginning of the dream. The total picture of any dream, whether complex or simple, vivid or indistinct, is due to many vibrations--meaning: wills and desires--being released by the ego simultaneously. Then the dream, which actualizes on the astral plane, becomes a physical materialization. It becomes grosser, more thickened and sensual, meaning: perceivable by the senses. But the dreamer who dreams is you and me, that unit called I-ness, the first creation.
The sense of I-ness, the ego or root, holds all these worlds together. I is controlling all your worlds, the dreamlands as well as the physical lands. Where you finish, your dreams finish. You may ask why dreams continue if we do not want them. Simply out of habit or karma already recorded. The recording has become so embedded in the fabric of our minds that the dreams just go on playing. If we could direct and control our dreams, they could be channeled or stopped, as with any other kind of recording when we know how to use the equipment.
There is a beautiful point in this: not only are these dreams, created by waves in the ocean of Consciousness, seemingly outside you, but the scriptures have gone so far as to say, "You are dreaming within you." Within you does not refer only to your body, it means that ego unit. Within this one microscopic unit of I or ego--one dot or atom only--you have the universe inside you. It is very difficult to visualize this point, but if you concentrate, it can be very clearly understood. That is why the famous Vedantic aphorism: You perceive only what you are, which means: everything is within you. Not only within you, inside your heart or soul, but within that you or I unit, that nucleus, the whole phenomenon is taking shape. The formulation is within you, the waves on the ocean.
When you come back to your Self, when you Know Thyself, all this becomes synonymous. There you will find that this manifestation, this radiation out of you, is not outside you. When you enter that tiny door of your Self, when you truly go within, you will find that God is within you. In other words, the dream and the dreamer are not two. Subject, object and relationship--the trinity--join into one. Everything is within you. When you reach this realization, you will see that we are visualizing and seeing a creation of our own desires, nothing else. And "me" is the dreamer of those dreams, the creator of that creation. Not only so. Me is that creation.
When we say to be detached to this world, this dream, we are just telling you to be detached from the unreal. You are dreaming and your pain and miseries are within the dream. Why not go to the root cause of the problem? The root cause of miseries is insatiety, running after fleeting mirages of changeful phenomena. Looking to transitoriness for satisfaction makes us miserable because it is not permanent. When we awaken, we come back to our Absolute Truth: I am. And that unlimited Consciousness is blissful.