Q: What goes with us when we die?
A: What goes with you is in two forms, the first form is that which is the essential—and it sounds redundant but it isn’t: the living life in you. And the second thing that goes with you are the tendencies that you actually live. So you actually know in this lifetime, right now, what is going to go with you, both of those things are active and operating and are the case—in this moment, for the last moment, in the next moment, and every moment of this lifespan of this particular lifetime as this person, (whoever it is). Everything you are now that has permanence, which is your life essence—or, that is deeply, deeply ingrained, which means habitual tendencies, deeply grooved mental-emotional tendencies.
In the Eastern system, they refer to that as your karma or your karmic load, or your karmic tendencies. Your impressions; the impressions that life has left me this life, and others. So, I talk about it all the time. I talk about what I know about for sure. This is not a subject that I have a lot of personal knowledge about, but the little I have, I have to talk about. It’s the most important topic there is. It’s important, it’s the most important thing because it’s only during this lifespan, however you experience yourself in this lifespan—it is only as this person that you have the opportunity to have an effect on it to make it go in a better direction—or, to derail it even more or make it even more tending towards something that you wouldn’t voluntarily or knowingly choose.
So we create our destiny. Destiny means it can change if we do the work to change it. Your current destiny is set, and that’s it, it’s set—but you can change the course, that is the distinction between destiny and fate. Fate means it’s sealed—it’s cruise control. Cruise control is locked in, nothing you do will change it. That is fate—there isn’t much that human beings have to worry about. What you have to worry about is your destiny.
So, your destiny is set on a particular course, right now, that course has to do with how you’ve lived this life so far, and what preceded it. If you strengthen the current course, if you strengthen the tendencies that are there, then you’ve guaranteed even more that after this body disappears, those tendencies will rule the day—will take you, will create the next stage for you, and will determine and define what you experience. So, obviously, you want any tendencies that work against you, or are unpleasant or negative—those are the ones you want to diminish—and any other positive ones, you want to strengthen. And everybody kind of intrinsically knows what they are.
So on the spiritual path, we really do not have time to indulge in a lot of theoretical thinking like, “A lot of what is ‘truth’ to me, it is true.” If you do not have a strong sense that it is so already, it is wise to provisionally accept it on faith that you continue after physical death—that you continue.