5 Things to Experience Before You Die

5 Things to Experience Before You Die May 20, 2019

Victor Rodriguez via Unsplash

There’s a dude named Aubrey Marcus who has a regular podcast—what might be better termed a bro’cast—and I tune in every few episodes. Marcus may put some people off with his sometimes off-color, occasionally self-absorbed banter, but this guy frequently delivers valuable insights and wisdom on how we can become better, more complete human beings.

Marcus leads what might best be described as an unconventional life and freely admits that many of the lessons he has learned have come via psychedelics, on guided journeys using ayahuasca and DMT. Regardless, when I heard his podcast with Erick Godsey on the “5 Things to Experience…,” I found his insights rang true and were worth further contemplation.

I tried to find a transcript of the podcast online, and instead found that highlights of the conversation has been turned in a pdf. (You can download it here.) I took the story and edited it to capture the essential thoughts. Marcus’s words appear in standard type, my thoughts follow in italics.

5 Things to Experience Before You Die


We are told that we are solely our body and the identity that has formed around it, shaped by our personal history. On one level, this isn’t wrong. Our body is real, our identity is real enough as well. But we are much more than that. We are consciousness, life force, soul, divine self, or whatever your vocabulary permits you to call the eternal traveler that occupies this body.

The body is a vehicle for the soul. While we must care for our body, the greatest adventure of our lives is the exploration of our soul. This is where, at the deepest part of your being, you can connect with the divine or what you may call God. With this connection, which is made stronger through our spiritual practice, you are able to uncover who you really are and what you are to accomplish in this lifetime.


We are all going to die. But we have our understanding of death all wrong. Death is a transition out of this dimension, an opportunity to hit the reset button on the momentum of our identity. As Rumi said, that which strikes the shell, does not harm the pearl. Our body is the shell, our spirit is the pearl. We shed this body, but remain entirely intact, free from physical pain, suffering and fear.

Many religions will tell you that when the body dies, the soul lives on, moving from this life to another. Beyond religion, there is also a ton of proof that this is one of many lifetimes we will experience. When you realize that death is not just an end, but a new beginning, you remove a primal fear from your life. As Helen Keller said, “Death is no more than passing from one room into another.” (She added: “but there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.”)


If you have never been willing to die for anything, you haven’t truly lived. It is a feeling of love so powerful that it recalibrates every cell in your being. What would you be willing to die for?  Maybe it’s your children. Your lover. Whatever it is, find that person, that idea, that thing, and you will have the cornerstone upon which you build the remainder of your identity.

To love something more than your own life, is to put the ego in its place. It is to move from a self-centered view of the world to a connected view, realizing that the happiness of others is intertwined with your own happiness. What we do for others we ultimately do for ourselves, especially when we do it with love.


When I say ‘know’ the world, I mean it in the way the Greek’s used the word gnosis. This means all the expressions of physical love, including but not limited to sex. What does it feel like to sit in a mud bath or a hot spring? What does the best ramen taste like? Have you jumped from a plane, or dove under the ocean? Have you traveled and seen the people and places of earth?  Have you danced, surfed, screamed, cried, laughed?

As a 30-something, Marcus focuses on physical experiences, but there are also the experiences of the heart. As you experience life, you become more aware of the range of emotions that your fellow human beings go through. You learn that the burden they carry in life is as heavy, and may be heavier, than your own. With this realization, you become more compassionate and empathetic toward your fellow man/woman.


We all have a gift to give. I call this ‘medicine’. It starts with being and manifesting who we truly are. Then the gift will come naturally. It is the final stage of the hero’s journey that is called ‘returning with the elixir’. The medicine could be purely your presence, or how you make others laugh. It could be song, or speech, or dance, or simply loving a child into existence or easing the suffering of an animal.

What is the one gift you have to give to the world? It may be big, you may be a leader of men and women. But it may also be something smaller in scope, yet equally important to your purpose in this lifetime. You may be the one who cares for stray animals,  you may be able to pass along a craft, you may be a great listener or hugger. As Maya Angelou said, people may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.

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