The effects of stress are like mud in water – a bubble can only be detected at the surface because the water below is murky. As the water becomes clearer, the bubble can be seen rising up from deeper and deeper depths. Like that, as our nervous system becomes freer from stress, the background of mental chatter decreases and thinking is appreciated at earlier stages. The proportion of mental activity which our awareness reaches increases both during and outside of meditation.
When the system is completely free of stress, we become aware of the entire spectrum of the thinking process. Just like exiting the freeway – when we slow down, we turn the radio down and find that many of the subtleties of the music become more apparent. Similarly with thinking, at quieter levels of activity much of the subtlety of thought is revealed and thinking becomes far richer, and more effectively translated into action.
Achieving our full mental potential therefore does not mean growing a bigger brain and head to go with it, thankfully. It is simply that the finer levels of thinking are now open to our awareness, and we make more use of them in our normal thinking process. We experience thinking becoming clearer, faster and more effective. That is how we achieve our full potential.