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One of the models that we work with in NLP is that of the Conscious and Unconscious mind.
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.
The conscious mind is what we notice above the surface while the unconscious mind, the largest and most powerful part, remains out of sight below the surface.
Our 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.’
Knowledgeable and powerful in a different way than the conscious mind, the unconscious mind handles the responsibility of keeping the body running.
It has memory of every event we’ve ever experienced and it is the source and storehouse of our emotions.
Some also consider that it also handles connection with Spirit and with each other in the form of collective consciousness.
Your conscious mind is constantly supported by your unconscious resources.
Just think of all the things you know how to do without conscious awareness. If you drive, think about how many actions you carry out without being aware of them. These are skills, not facts; they are processes, requiring intelligence, decision-making and training.
This is why we say that ALL Learning, behaviour and change happens at the unconscious level.
Besides these learned resources which operate below the surface of consciousness, 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, 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 person.
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.
Everything else you are thinking, feeling or perceiving now… along with all your memories remains unconscious, until called into consciousness or until rising spontaneously.
In order for a person to function at their optimum, NLP helps the person to integrate the conscious and unconscious mind so that they work in harmony rather than isolation.
Many of the people that we see in our coaching practice have become too ‘conscious’ and we have to reunite them with their unconscious so that they start to trust their intuition (inner-tuition or learning). They can then start to do things naturally again rather than over thinking everything.
Life is hard work when you try the impossible and to carry everything around consciously.
There was an interesting article published on the BBC sport web page about, what they call, ‘The Psychology of Choking’.
This is a term used where professional sports people have victory within their grasp and their performance deteriorates to that of an amateur http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/front_page/13185266.stm
An expert has learnt their skills so well that they carry them out proficiently at the unconscious level.
An athlete will talk about getting into the zone and this is where they purely rely on unconscious processes.
Sometimes when the pressure starts mounting, rather than relying on the unconscious processes that serve them so well, there can be a tendency to try to take over the processes consciously and this is where problems arise. By the time someone has achieved unconscious competence, there is no conscious connection with their learnt skill level.
In other words, they interrupt the winning patterns that they have created and revert to patterns that would be associated with starting to learn the skill and as a result become like a novice again.
This can happen in all areas of learning when we are put under pressure, you may recognise the example of going into an exam to find that all of your knowledge has deserted you, even though you have revised and prepared well.
You then find that the answers pop into your head easily and effortlessly as soon as the exam has finished and you are out of the room; or like forgetting the lines of a well-rehearsed presentation or speech, despite knowing it inside out.
NLP teaches people how to overcome such problems and to stay connected to those winning neural pathways.
Because we understand this model, during our NLP training, we ensure that we train your unconscious minds as well as your conscious minds.
This means that when you need to use any of the subject matter taught you know it will be there and will be easy to use.
We guarantee that your unconscious mind will effectively store, organise and utilise everything that we teach you so that you will always know the right things to do and say.
So trust your intuition and get the best out of your unconscious.