Consciousness and its Contents


The one thing people tend to realize at moments like this is that they wasted a lot of time when life was normal.

Its not just what they did with their time, its not just that they spent too much time working or compulsively checking email, its that they cared about the wrong things. They regret what they cared about. Their attention was bound up in petty concerns. Year after year, when life was normal.

And this is a paradox of course because we all know this epiphany is coming. Don’t you know this is coming? Don’t you know there is going to come a day when you’ll be sick or someone close to you will die… and you’ll look back on the kinds of things that captured your attention. Because even if you live to be a hundred, there is just not that many days in life.

It is always now. However much you feel you may need to plan for the future, to anticipate it, to mitigate risks, the reality of your life is now. Our conscious awareness of the present moment is, in some relevant sense, already a memory. But as a matter of conscious experience, the reality of your life is always now.

And I think this is a liberating truth about the nature of the human mind. In fact I think there is probably nothing more important to understand about your mind than that if you want to be happy in this world. That the past is a memory, its a thought arising in the present. The future is merely anticipated, it is another thought arising now. What we truly have is this moment… and this.

And we spend most of our lives forgetting this truth – repudiating it, fleeing it, overlooking it. And the horror is that we succeed. We manage to never really connect with the present moment, and find fulfillment there. Because we are continually hoping to become happy in the future; and the future never arrives.

Even when we think we are in the present moment, in very subtle ways, we’re always looking over its shoulder – anticipating what’s coming next. We’re always solving a problem. And its possible to simply drop your problem, if only for a moment, and enjoy whatever is true of your life in the present.

There are more connections in a single cubic centimeter of brain tissue than stars in our galaxy, and yet our inner experience offers absolutely no clue-we are subjectively unaware of most of what our minds our doing. And yet when we think about what matters… what matters is consciousness and its contents. Consciousness is everything. Our experience of the world, the experience of those we care about is a matter of consciousness and its contents.

So whatever the origins of consciousness, the most important question for us is: “How can we truly be fulfilled in life? How can we create lives that are truly worth living given that these lives come to an end?”

So the frame we put around the present moment is important, and largely determines our experience of it, but it seems possible in fact to experience life more nakedly than this. To experience it without an obvious frame. To pay attention to the present moment closely enough so that you are not doing anything to it.

Now you might feel that your consciousness is in your head, or behind your face – but as a matter of experience, these are just more sensations arising in consciousness. The only evidence of your face and head is as sensation arising in consciousness at this moment. Whatever you can possibly notice-in your body in your mind in the world-has only one place to appear, in your conscious experience.

Now I’m not saying this is all just a dream. But as a neurological matter it is very much like a dream. It is a dream that is constrained by inputs from the external world. And the dreams we call dreams at night are dreams that are not constrained by the external world.

But your mind is all you have, its all you ever had. Its all you have to offer other people. We are all trying to find a path back to the present moment, and good enough reason just to be happier.

If your constantly ruminating about what you just  did or what you should have done or what you would have done if you only had the chance, you will miss your life. You’ll fail to connect with it, you’ll fail to connect with other people. Being the mere hostage of the next thought that comes beaming into consciousness isn’t useful.

So if there is an antidote to the fear of death and the experience of loss, its compatible with reason. I think its to be found here. The purpose of life is pretty obvious; we are constantly… Why do we create culture and form relationships-beyond matters of mere survival?

We are constantly trying to create and repair a world that our minds what to be in.

Sam Harris


Be Phenomenal: By MotivationGrid; Featuring Eric Thomas, Les Brown, and Ray Lewis


I got a simple, simple, simple question for you. Here’s the question: do you believe that one day you’re not going to live in the world that was given to you-that’s right-but you are going to actually live in the world that you dream of? You got to make every single second count. You got to go in the future and see it baby. And then you got to come back in the present and you got to take that big goal, that big dream, that big reality-that’s what I said-you got to take that big reality, and we got to take small steps to make it manageable to make your dreams become a reality. Think big, dream big, but start small. That’s right, start small. Remember what I told you; start where you are, with what you have, because what you have is plenty.

The biggest enemy you have to deal with is yourself. There is an old African proverb that says, ‘If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.’

You don’t have to personally be perfect, are you hearing me? There are those of you right now, you should’ve cut a cd, you should’ve wrote a book, you should’ve got in school and got that degree, you should’ve started your own business… There are so many things you should have done, you should have done! But you didn’t do it because you’re scared. You say, ‘Scared of what E? I aint scared.’ You are scared, you are scared, you’re scared of failure. You’re scared to make a mistake. You’re scared that you’re not perfect. And I’m telling you today, you aint got to be perfect-are you hearing what I’m saying-you don’t have to be perfect to get what you want, to do what you want, to have what you want, to be what you want. You don’t have to be perfect, it’s a lie! There will never be a point in your life where it’s the right time to do a great thing. If you’re waiting for that perfect, perfect moment, that perfect timing, it’s not going to happen. You know what you have to do? You have to create the perfect time, and the perfect opportunity, and the perfect situation.

A lot of people become comfortable; they stop growing, they stop wanting anything, they become satisfied. People getting ready to go to jobs that they don’t like, jobs that make them sick… You see, when you are not pursuing your goal you are literally committing spiritual suicide. When you have some goal out here that you’re stretching for and reaching for that takes you out of your comfort zone, you’ll find out some talents and abilities you have that you didn’t know you had. When the messenger of misery visits you, what are you going to do? What will keep you in the game?

There are things that you think you will never need to know, that you may only need to know one time in your life, but that could save your life because you had that knowledge.

Unless you attempt to do something beyond that which you’ve already mastered you will never grow. What is it that you looked at, at some point in time and you decided that you couldn’t do it, that you talked yourself out of it?

If you’re waiting on your next door neighbor to make it happen for you, it may not happen. If you’re waiting on your mother or your father, they may be so ancient in their thinking that they don’t understand this opportunity that you have. And if you’re waiting on them it may never get done. You don’t beg average people to be phenomenal, you don’t beg good people to be phenomenal, you just are phenomenal and you will attract phenomenal.

What reason can you remember that you can call on, that can reach on, that can make you get back up? Find that reason.

If you’re not where you want to be, if you don’t have what you want to have, if you’re not where you think you should be at this particular place, it has nothing to do with the system but it has everything to do with the fact that you’re not making the sacrifice. I want you to make that dream become a reality because if you don’t you will be working for someone else to make their dreams become a reality.

The question is, what are you going to do with your time? What drives you? Now greatness is a lot of small things done well. Day after day, work out after work out, obedience after obedience. Day after day.

When things don’t work out for you, when things happen that you could not anticipate, what are the reasons that you can think of that can keep you strong?

You will never ever be successful until you turn your pain into greatness. Until you allow your pain to push you from where you are, to push you to where you need to be. Stop running from your pain and embrace your pain. Your pain is going to be a part of your prize, a part of your product – I challenge you to push yourself.

See it is easy to be on the bottom, it doesn’t take any effort to be a loser. It doesn’t take any motivation or any drive in order to stay down there at a low level. But it calls on everything in you; you have to harness your will to say, ‘I am going to challenge myself.’

I mean that what you did last week don’t count. Today, today is the only important day. There are eighty-six thousand four-hundred seconds in a day, and how you use those are critical. You got eighty-six thousand four hundred today, and what you do today is going to cement who you are. Nobody is going to talk about what you did last week. You have this opportunity of a lifetime, it means absolutely nothing if you don’t take advantage of it in the lifetime of this opportunity.

I’ve got a saying, that when life knocks you down try to land on your back because if you can look up, you can get up! If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it, to work day and night for it, to give your time, your peace, and your sleep for it, if all that you dream and scheme is about it, and life seems useless and worthless without it… See it’s time now, if you want to make this your decade you’ve got to start saying yes to your life. You’ve got to start saying yes to your dreams, yes to your unfolding future, yes to your potential; as opposed to saying no.

When you die, die on E. Leave no dream left behind guys. Leave no opportunity left behind. When you leave this earth, accomplish every single thing you can accomplish. Listen to me, you’re going to be here one day but you’ll never get here if you give up, if you give in, if you quit. And finally guys, you got to want to succeed as bad as you want to breath.




Eric Thomas

Les Brown

Ray Lewis

Transcript created from a video by MotivationGrid: