What exactly do you mean by saying “Be still and know” and also “Seek the strength of no-desire”?
Be still and know is one of the most fundamental sutras of the inner alchemy. But by being still is not meant that you have to force stillness upon yourself. A forced stillness is not true stillness. One can sit like a buddha, almost like a statue, absolutely still, and yet deep down there may be great turmoil, a thousand and one thoughts rushing. There may be great traffic in the mind. The body can be forced to sit silently for hours, and you can also learn tricks to still the mind.
For example, if you chant any mantra for hours, any name of God, if you simply go on chanting “Allah, Allah, Allah,” it functions like a tranquilizer. Repetition of a single word or a single mantra creates a certain melody in your mind soothing, very soothing, very calming. And a kind of stillness will be felt which is not the true kind – because the sound of a certain mantra is simply changing the chemistry of your mind. The change is not alchemical, it is chemical.
Sound is chemistry. Hence music can help you to become still. And, moreover, when a certain word or a mantra is repeated constantly, you become hypnotized by it. That’s the secret of all hypnosis. You look at a flame, a candle flame, constantly – what are you doing? You are repeating the flame through the eyes, again and again and again. It is a repetition, it is a mantra – through the eyes. Or you can repeat a mantra inside yourself; that is through the ear, through the sound. Any sense can be used. Perfume, incense can be used; the same incense can hypnotize you.
Hypnosis means going into deep sleep, artificial sleep. That’s exactly the meaning of the word hypnosis: a sleep deliberately created. It can be through a tranquilizer, it can be through a soothing silence, sound, music, perfume, incense – there can be a thousand and one ways, but you will become hypnotized. And, hypnotized, you will feel a kind of stillness which is not true.
And also, if you repeat a certain mantra again and again, you will feel bored. Boredom also brings sleep. That’s why doctors suggest to people who cannot sleep that they count sheep from one to a hundred, and then backwards from a hundred – ninety-nine, ninety-eight, back to one – and then go up the ladder again…go on coming up and down. How long can you do it? Somewhere after going three or four times up and down the ladder you will fall asleep. It is the most ancient formula for falling asleep: count sheep from one to a hundred and then come back – because it is such a boring job that you lose all interest in it. And the moment you lose all interest in it, there is nowhere to escape except in sleep.