Cultivating Emotional Intelligence

Original Thought

Original ThoughtBy George Marino CPC, CMMT October 25th, 2021

I learned about the beginner’s mindset and how simple mindfulness meditation can be one day on a retreat. Halfway through the meditation, the teacher guiding our group said, “Now let’s begin our meditation.” She was pointing to the present moment. We are all beginners, you, and I, and that makes mindfulness so much fun. The newness of each moment is a metaphoric “big bang.” Now, now, now.
That said, it is helpful to consciously remind yourself, in a way that suits you, to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. This can help you bring mindfulness into your workday and relationships. You are not required, nor is it preferable, to have a goal in mind as you start practicing mindfulness. The practice itself is the goal, and you can return to it again, literally moment to moment when distractions happen, as they will.

Mindfulness cannot be done in a right or wrong way. When the mind is distracted, gently and kindly accept this as part of your journey. This is a mindful act of self-compassion. The moment you realize you are not mindfully present; you are in fact already present.

It is helpful to acknowledge in yourself that you are walking around with so many thoughts swirling around in your head at any given moment in time. This was a revelation for me. These thoughts are very often repetitive. This thought chatter, as it is called, can make you feel unfocused, in a fog, and often overwhelmed. This mind movie is withholding creativity from you and sometimes keeps you up at night and anxious during the day as you perform your work and live your life. Research has shown that much of people’s thinking and many of their behaviors are automatic. Research findings illustrate that when the mind is running on “autopilot,” our behavior and decision making often follow habits and routines. In this process, the mind is preoccupied with other thoughts (1). It does take courage to honestly assess and recognize the fact that much of our thinking is repetitive and useless. When was the last time you had an original thought?

Here is one way you can tell. Your body is like a jar, an instrument that plays music. It has different tones in response to your thoughts and emotions. The value of the jar, of course, can sometimes differ quite remarkably. How do you assign worth to your body’s musical sounds? It is a little bit like this: what you say or do in mindfulness becomes memorable to another person in need. Then you will know you had an original thought. Jesus put it this way: “Out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks,” and there you will know an original thought in a state of stillness as an integration of mind, body, soul, and spirit.

In my coaching sessions, I help to create a space for people to voice original thought.


1. Langer, E. J., and Ableson, R. P. (1974). “A Patient by any Other Name . . . : Clinician Group Difference in Labeling Bias.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 42, 4–9.