Your unconscious mind is for you and your body, what an operating system is for your computer. It runs everything, it stores your memories, beliefs and habits, and it connects you to the field of infinite intelligence. It regenerates cells in your body, it runs your heart and immune system, it really runs everything in your life, inside and out.
The Iceberg Metaphor
An iceberg can serve as a useful metaphor to understand the unconscious mind, its relationship to the conscious mind and how the two parts of our mind can better work together. As an iceberg floats in the water, the huge mass of it remains below the surface.
Only a small percentage of the whole iceberg is visible above the surface. In this way, the iceberg is like the mind. The conscious mind is what we notice above the surface while the unconscious mind, the largest and most powerful part, remains unseen below the surface.
The unconscious mind holds all awareness that is not presently in the conscious mind. All memories, feelings and thoughts that are out of conscious awareness are by definition "unconscious." It is also called the subconscious and is known as the dreaming mind or deep mind.
Knowledgeable and powerful in a different way than the conscious mind, the unconscious mind handles the responsibility of keeping the body running well. It has memory of every event we've ever experienced; it is the source and storehouse of our emotions; and it is often considered our connection with Spirit and with each other.
No model of how the mind works disputes the tremendous power which is in constant action below the tip of the iceberg. The conscious mind is constantly supported by unconscious resources. Just think of all the things you know how to do without conscious awareness. If you drive, you use over 30 specific skills... without being aware of them. These are skills, not facts; they are processes, requiring intelligence, decision-making and training.
Besides these learned resources which operate below the surface of consciousness there are important natural resources. For instance, the unconscious mind regulates all the systems of the body and keeps them in harmony with each other. It controls heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, the endocrine system and the nervous system, just to name a few of its natural, automatic duties.
The conscious mind, like the part of the iceberg above the surface, is a small portion of the whole being. The conscious mind is what we ordinarily think of when we say "my mind." It's associated with thinking, analyzing and making judgments and decisions. The conscious mind is actively sorting and filtering its perceptions because only so much information can reside in consciousness at once. Everything else falls back below the water line, into unconsciousness.
Only seven bits of information, plus or minus two can be held consciously at one time. Everything else we are thinking, feeling or perceiving now... along with all our memories remains unconscious, until called into consciousness or until rising spontaneously.
The imagination is the medium of communication between the two parts of the mind. In the iceberg metaphor, the imagination is at the surface of the water. It functions as a medium through which content from the unconscious mind can come into conscious awareness.
Communication through the imagination is two-way. The conscious mind can also use the medium of the imagination to communicate with the unconscious mind. The conscious mind sends suggestions about what it wants through the imagination to the unconscious. It imagines things, and the subconscious intelligences work to make them happen.
The suggestions can be words, feelings or images. Athletes commonly use images to mentally rehearse how they want to perform by picturing themselves successfully completing their competition. A tennis player may see a tennis ball striking the racket at just the right spot, at just the perfect moment in the swing. Studies show that this form of imaging improves performance.
However, the unconscious mind uses the imagination to communicate with the conscious mind far more often than the other way around. New ideas, hunches, daydreams and intuitions come from the unconscious to the conscious mind through the medium of the imagination.