Then if somebody stabs you with a sword you will see that he has cut your body with the sword, and you will be aware that nothing has happened to you. You will remain untouched. At that moment you will be like a lotus leaf in the water. The moment you become aware of your bodilessness your life will become peaceful, undisturbed. Then any outside events, any thunder or storms will not touch you because they can touch only the body. Their impact is only on the body; they affect only the body. But you think, mistakenly, that the impact is on you – this is why you suffer and feel pain or happiness.
This is the first stage of spiritual discipline: you learn to become free from the body. It is not difficult to learn, and those who make the effort will definitely experience it.
The second element of spiritual discipline is freedom from thoughts. Just as I said that bodilessness happens through the right-observation of the body, freedom from thoughts happens through the right-observation of your thoughts. The basic element of spiritual discipline is right-observation. In these three stages you have to look with right-awareness and right-observation at the body, the mind and the emotions.
Become an observer of the currents of thought that flow through your consciousness. Just like someone sitting by the side of a river watching the river flow by, sit by the side of your mind and watch. Or just as someone sits in the forest and watches a line of birds flying by, just sit and watch. Or the way someone watches the rainy sky and the moving clouds, you just watch the clouds of thoughts moving in the sky of your mind. The flying birds of thoughts, the flowing river of thoughts…in the same way, silently standing on the bank, you simply sit and watch. It is the same as if you are sitting on the bank, watching the thoughts flowing by. Don’t do anything, don’t interfere, don’t stop them in any way. Don’t repress in any way. If there is a thought coming don’t stop it, if it is not coming don’t try to force it to come. You are simply to be an observer.
In that simple observation you will see and experience that your thoughts and you are separate – because you can see that the one who is watching the thoughts is separate from the thoughts, different from them. And as you become aware of this, a strange peace will envelop you because you will not have any more worries. You can be in the midst of all kinds of worries but the worries will not be yours. You can be in the midst of many problems but the problems will not be yours. You can be surrounded by thoughts but you will not be the thoughts.
And if you become aware that you are not your thoughts, the life of these thoughts will begin to grow weaker, they will begin to become more and more lifeless. The power of your thoughts lies in the fact that you think they are yours. When you are arguing with someone you say, “My thought is…” No thought is yours. All thoughts are different from you, separate from you. You just be a witness to them.
I will tell you a story so that you understand this more deeply. It happened to Buddha….