I am in the front row of a theater, waiting for the play to begin. The lights are dimmed and I am awestruck by the spectacular decorations of the stage, creating a bright paradise in the midst of the darkness. They are truly out of this world, with colors so vivid that they glow with life. "Who is the artist?" I wonder. There are apple, cherry, and mango trees, bursting with flavor, their fruit begging to be bitten into. Gigantic blood-red roses, with their tender, velvet petals are oozing the sweet aroma of French perfume. Soft, thick grass covers the floor, making me want to run barefoot then fall on it, resting.

Where is the line between the illusion of a dream and what our eyes reveal as reality? But wait—I hear something. What is it? I focus my eyes: In the far left corner of the stage there is a waterfall tinkling its angelic melody, with snow-white birds, soaring above it. No way! How do they do that? –So real, so heavenly magnificent. No wonder this play is sold out every time it's in town—it makes you feel warm and cozy, as if you have finally arrived home. It also reminds me of some place I have been before, hidden in the thick fog of memory. It feels as if I am dreaming. Am I? Where is the line between the illusion of a dream and what our eyes reveal as reality?...

The play begins. Five figures slowly emerge from the darkness and proceed to a cozy spot by the waterfall, where they rest on the grass in the shade of the trees. It seems as if they are waiting for someone. They look like they have known each other forever, best of friends enjoying their outing in the country. As they laugh, holding hands, their soft whispers are like butterflies flitting across the stage. There is something about these five, something so painfully familiar, making my heart fill with joy and my eyes with tears. I feel connected to them in some special, intimate way that I can't explain.

I focus on their faces—and gasp. I think—no, I am sure—that one of them is me. I stare at the actors' faces. Mom? Dad? My husband? My sister? I am breathless in disbelief and speechless in my confusion. But before my mind can find an explanation for these visions, more actors appear. One by one they slowly drift in front of me and sit around the first five.

What kind of play is this? Oh, my…I know them, too, I know them all! I recognize my mother-in-law in one of them, but she glows with such peace and joy; it's as if she's on some kind of heavenly vacation with no cares whatsoever. I've never seen her so alive and happy. What is happening? What kind of play is this? I look around the theater… What!? I am the only one there. I want to escape, run away to the safety of my rational mind, but my body is so numb that I cannot move.

Then it happens—I hear the voice right above me, like lightning piercing me with its ecstatic charge: "It is alright, Katya, this show is just for you." Now the voice is right next to me, enveloping me in its presence: "There is nothing to be afraid of, you are safe with Me." I feel the warmth of this voice on my cheek, touching my skin with its sweetness. I am melting into its kiss of love, I cease to exist, I am its obedient servant.

Hypnotized into complete peace, I absorb the play's spectacular unfolding.

A new figure appears on the stage, and takes its place in the middle of the friendly circle. I sense that He is the main character, since everybody becomes quiet, looking at Him with great respect and admiration as if He is their teacher. Even though I cannot see His face, I can feel His presence. This feeling is as contagious as laughter–and it is pure joy.

When He begins to talk, I immediately recognize his voice—the same one that spoke to me a few moments ago.

"Are you ready to play the role of human again?" the Voice says. "Once again, I will hide you inside a body and you will fall asleep at the time of your birth, and even though you'll be in a state where I seem hidden from you, I will always be with you, guiding and protecting you."

My spirit romps on the stage As my body sits in a stupor of confusion, my spirit romps on the stage, having the time of its life—so happy and at ease, comprehending everything said by its master. I sense that they are connected, body and spirit, and it seems as if it's through the mind.

"I will be helping you achieve what I am sending you down to Earth for," the Voice continues, "arranging all the details of your human experience. I will provide you with clues and signs; surround you with your divine friends in bodily disguises so that you can teach and test each other along the way. I will assign to each of you an angel as my messenger; she will whisper My will into your mind, and it will echo in your heart. I will put you in circumstances where your mind will be too limited to explain and control events in your life; you will cry out to the heavens, waking up to remember Me, your true home and our agreements. Once you remember that you are spirit, fulfilling your mission, you can choose either Me—the light—or your human part—darkness . Every time you choose Me, the darkness transforms into light, and your spirit soars higher. Your spirit knows its assignment; you'll need to learn to trust its voice."

As I am listening to the voice speaking, I am getting the same bittersweet feeling I had when I left home for college—excited to go, yet sad to leave.

The voice continues: "I examined your previous lifetime, and based on your accomplishments, I have planned the next one. By the way, your fellow soul, who played the role of Katherine's father-in-law in a previous lifetime, will remain with me instead of reincarnating. While playing human in the earth school, he accomplished the main purpose of me sending all of you down—he was able to make My energy dominate over his human energy—Ego, by choosing love, kindness and faith over fear and hatred "

My mind is hitting the brick wall of its capacity to understand The thought rushes through my mind: "Is this what it's all about—to return to the state of non-duality, before the darkness was created?" My mind is hitting the brick wall of its capacity to understand. So I just continue sitting, watching and listening.

"Let's assign the roles," the voice says. Suddenly, there is a commotion on the stage. Everybody is moving with excitement, pointing at each other:

"You want to be my sister?"

"No, daughter!"

"Who wants to be my wife, you again!?

"Such preschoolers," my mind thinks.

"Katherine," the voice addresses me, and I jump in my seat. "Based on your previous lifetime you have some spiritual residue, tasks to be mastered. You still need to learn patience, forgiveness and understanding. You also need to learn the difference between when you need to let go and let Me take care of things and when it's your time to be ambitious." Suddenly, scenes of me being impatient flash before my eyes—all those times when I ran in front of the train, instead of jumping inside and letting it take me for a ride.

The voice addresses the cast on stage: "Who is willing to help Katherine to learn patience?"

My husband Felix and my high school math teacher Mrs. Kirilova move closer to me. My spirit and their spirits seem thrilled to play with each other again.

"Which spirits would like to teach Katherine how to be understanding and forgiving?" My mother-in-law and my used-to-be-friend appear. My breath quickens, as they are warmly welcomed by my spirit. From the audience, I want to scream: "You mean all those times you have hurt me, you were helping me learn to forgive?"

I hate this, but apparently I'm the one who's failed the test, and there's no one to blame but myself.

My spirit looks at me with eyes full of compassion: "There is still light captured by the claws of darkness. I need to go back to free it."

Suddenly, the ceiling cracks open revealing intense blackness. Brilliant specks, like comets, puncture the darkness. As they whoosh towards the stage, I am blinded by their celestial light. I hear the sound of gigantic wings vibrating through the air— angels cascade down, sprinkling heavenly mist over the green grass that covers the stage.

An angel approaches me: "I am Josephine; I will be with you throughout your next lifetime." She presents me with a gift, a blood-red rose and stands behind me. I feel her soft, feathery wings wrapping around me, forming a cocoon of safety and protection. "It's time to be born," she whispers.

The alarm goes off; I jump up in bed. "What a weird dream, totally bizarre," I am stretching, recapping what I have seen. Then my hand touches something soft next to me. I turn and freeze—on the pillow, there is a blood-red rose.