Taking it with you

taking it with youNow, that thing about taking it with you.

You’ve heard the one about the miser who swore he’d take all his silver to the grave?

The miser’s young wife promised, and, true to her word, settled accounts upon his timely death. She gathered the sum of his wealth and deposited the total, just before the coffin was sealed, under his folded hands.

In the instrument of a check.

So if not riches, what will you be taking with you to the grave? If you’re gonna be taking it with you, it has to be a notion, a memory, I say — not something physical. You and I are energy. We are unique configurations of the energy of the cosmos, we are personal flow — and that flow, says my hunch, proceeds as individual awareness after the death of our bodies. It proceeds to the next grand adventure. That is my hope, anyway.

This idea, the perseverance of consciousness after medical death, is gaining credibility as a topic worthy of research. World religions, of course, have their own ideas on this matter, some of which line up with mine, but for their own purposes.

If my soul could hold onto a few notions, I’d pick these three peak experiences:


The months during which I fell for my wife felt like a conspiracy and collaboration. I was in the Matrix. On every side, universal forces urged me down a path I could not but take. Sure, her beauty and charisma, duh. But also the perfect-for-her magazine I saw trashed in a hotel hallway that, given as a lover’s token, would advance my cause. The stranger who said our kids must be beautiful. The unlikely and seedy rock-and-roll show where I first courted her. Heady days.


I’ve not been to war, but sports are a weak stand-in. One night at a summer barbecue, as a teen playing against adults, I could do no wrong with a basketball. I jumped higher, moved faster, and even, light fading, shot better than I ever have. Didn’t need to see the basket, just threw it in. The adults were murmuring about me. Whose kid is that? I can’t explain it to this day, but I’ll never forget that feeling. Especially now, as my body in various little ways begins to fail me.


Te Amo Revolution cigars. Sublime and complex and relaxing. My streak of hedonism. I can spend hours this way. Let’s start a cigar club and talk politics and such.

Love, struggle, pleasure. Taking it with you — what would you pick?