If the mind is likened to an iceberg – the conscious part of the mind would be the tip of the iceberg, around 10%.
The conscious part of the mind is where we do all our logical thinking and it is responsible for our decision-making and it can do between 5 and 9 things at once.
The subconscious, or unconscious, part of the mind however, stores all our memories, our habits and is responsible for our autonomic systems. It can process vast amounts of information all of the time.
In a battle between the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind, no matter how hard we try to use logic and reasoning, the powerful, unconscious part of the mind will eventually win.
We do not have easy access to the unconscious mind because during the first 5 or 6 years of our life we develop a filter, called the Critical Faculty of the Conscious Mind (Elman, 1964). Until this develops, young children cannot distinguish reality from imagination, which is why they have no trouble believing in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy.
It is only when this barrier forms that they begin to ask questions like “How does Santa manage to deliver presents to everyone in the whole world on Christmas Eve?” or “What happens if there isn’t a chimney”. Children develop the ability to reason and use logic based on everything they have experienced so far, allowing them to start to distinguish between imagination and reality.
This critical faculty of the conscious mind only allows us to accept external ideas and suggestions based on our current internal belief system. The only way to bypass this filter is to relax the conscious mind which gives us access to the unconscious part of the mind and allows us to release negative or limiting beliefs and to change old habits.