I Hope You Die Soon

Extracts from
‘I Hope You Die Soon’
Richard Sylvester

Published by Non-Duality Press


In a split second of awakening all the comforts of the spiritual path can disappear. All the efforts made, the fun and busyness of packing to go to India, the ashrams arduously visited, the meaningful travelling around the spiritual bazaar, the kundalini awakenings and the shaktipats received, may be seen to have led nowhere and to have counted for nothing.

Seeing this can produce ripples of laughter or a desert of despair.


In liberation the story continues but now it is seen that it is just a story. All the passions of your apparent life are just stuff happening. The conflicts, the loves, the struggles for control and power, the victories and defeats are simply phenomena arising in oneness and falling away again with no meaning at all. 


You cannot earn liberation. I have not earned liberation. No one will ever earn liberation. You cannot become good enough or work hard enough or be sincere enough to deserve it. Liberation has not happened to me and it will not happen to you. Yet there is liberation. There is only ever liberation. Perfection is already here.  What you are is already divine. 


The idea of the spiritual being, perfectly poised in calm detachment with no likes or dislikes greeting everything with equanimity, is just a construct of the mind. It is a spiritual fairy tale woven out of the need to see enlightenment as special and different, as being far removed from what I am today. 

It is fairly easy for a certain type of disciplined and ascetic character to cultivate a detachment which will be attractive to many seekers. This detached asceticism will attract those who feel that holiness and discomfort are nearer to divinity than devilment and silk sheets. But it has nothing to do with liberation. 


If liberation is seen, it is seen. If not, not. That’s just the way it is. 

In the Upanishads it is said “Advaita is not an idea. It is! The lightening flashes, the eye blinks………. Then? You have either understood or you have not understood…….. If you have not understood, too bad!” 

Tough, isn’t it. 

It seems so unfair to the mind that nothing can be done. 

The mind insists that it can bring us to personal enlightenment. And yet it has to recognise that enlightenment has still not happened. The mind can never deliver on its promise, so it says that we have not meditated enough or chanted enough mantras or shown enough devotion to the guru. Or we have not searched hard enough to find the final secret. Or of course that we have searched too hard. 


Many spiritual teachings say that we must go beyond the mind. These teachings see the entrapment that the mind produces but they fail to see that there is no one who is entrapped. 

There is no one who can go beyond the mind. When there is no person  and no mind it is seen that entrapment is also liberation. 


Liberation does not bring unending bliss. For that, try heroin, prozac or a lobotomy. 


This is a dream but I am not having the dream. I am a dreamed character within the dream. This is why it is not me who wakes up. 


“What happens to me after death?” 

This question dissolves when it is seen that I am a dreamed character. Then it is seen that there is no ‘me’ who dies, no ‘after’ because time is created only in the dreamed mind and no ‘death’ because death is simply the awakening from the dream. 

But the mind cannot imagine its own annihilation. Faced with the appearance of death in the dream, the mind creates stories about its continued existence after death. Most of these stories offer some variation of reward for a life well-lived, however that is conceived, and punishment for a life of evil doing. 

In some of these stories you do not have to murder a convent of nuns or go to a drug-crazed orgy to destroy your chances of a blissful after-life. For some people, simply dancing on a Sunday will do that. 


Liberation is what we yearn for. We want to lose everything, to be emptied out, to fall into the void. We long to disappear. 

The disappearance of the person is a death. This is both greatly feared and deeply longed for. Although I cannot imagine what life could be like when I am gone, something knows that this is the only possible redemption and salvation. I have to die for the pain of separation to end. 


What is sometimes said is that the self has to die for liberation to be seen. There is a problem with the language here because “has to” implies some imperative or task. But all this means is that this is already liberation, but it cannot be seen until the self disappears, until the self dies. 

If what you want is to see liberation then I hope you die soon.