Physically, stillness and stagnation could be seen as about the same, but qualitatively they are worlds apart.
Stagnation is a certain disease. It is anti-life. Stillness is a tremendous amount of life not manifesting itself in any way. It is just there — potent. That is God. God is stillness, not stagnation. The mind is stagnation. Sadhana (spiritual practice) is a force which moves you from stagnation to stillness, but between stagnation and stillness, when they are together, there seems to be very little difference since your logical mind only understands in terms of moving and not moving.
Physically, stillness and stagnation could be seen as about the same, but qualitatively they are worlds apart. A person who is meditating and a person who is sleeping may look about the same. Externally, there may be no difference between stillness and stagnation, but internally there is a tremendous difference. From stagnation to stillness, from ignorance to enlightenment, that is the difference. In a way, it is the same thing, only the quality has to change.
But how can you know the qualitative difference when you are drowned in ignorance? This is why the movement of sadhana has to go full circle. Physically, mentally and emotionally push yourself to the limit and see what is there. You have to push to the point of discomfort but do not give up; push it up one more point and yet another point. It has to be pushed to the ultimate, to the optimum. Only then can the mind dissolve by itself. You do not have to do any other sadhana.
All other activities in the form of sadhana is just to get this one thing done. You should be in such a way that your sankalpa (resolve) is unshakeable.
Why someone is asked to go and live in the Himalayas for 12 years is not because the rocks there will deliver him enlightenment. It is because he is willing to live his life for 12 years, with all kinds of hardship, just to seek the Truth. If that kind of sankalpa has come, that man is very close. In a way, it is like literally wasting your life. When the whole world is eating , drinking and enjoying themselves, you are sitting there in the cold and chanting, “Shiva, Shiva, Shiva”, knowing nothing might happen.
You know it may turn out to be hopeless being there. In spite of that you stay because the most important thing in your life is something else. When that sankalpa comes, it does not take 12 years.
In one moment, it can happen. This can be the moment but because you do not it, you have to wait for the next one. This is always the moment.