A few nights ago we saw Shakespeare's As You Like It on a beautiful summer outdoor stage. In this comedy Jaques famously says to Duke Senior: "All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players;..." This phrase reminds me very much of one of the interpretations of our earthly existence.
One of the ideas out there is that life is sort of a school, a learning experience through which we have the chance to better ourselves. But that idea leads to the thought of punishment for not learning one's lesson well. Another idea is that God/Spirit/Nature fragmented itself from Oneness into many, so that the One might know itself better. In other words God/you/I/We All are at the same time One, but split into all the individual beings to know itself/ourselves. In that interpretation we are actors on our own stage, and the director at the same time.
This is an amazing view that permits a bit of distance from the play. As director I can watch the play in amusement or dismay and know a part of myself that I have forgotten. I can see myself in others as I would look into a mirror. As the actor I experience the joys and pains of life, while I get to steer life from the director's role. So clever that Shakespeare built this deep wisdom into one of his delightful comedies.