Being aware of change without having to stop and interpret it, mindfulness means detachment. I call it surfing on change. As the waves you surf upon, as the waves that come and go and vary in size and intensity, change is fluid and always present.

But you do not have to immerse yourself in change. Furthermore, if the surfer focuses on finding the perfect wave and that perfect feel, she will probably never find it. And if she does, every wave that follows that perfect wave may become a disappointment.

Observing and registering change, a mindful person does not coat change with expectations. And she isn't fooled by labels, face values, and concepts.

Concepts and labels can be helpful because we talk to each other and to ourselves (thoughts). We have words for almost everything and we have even conceptualized emotions into anger, fear, joy, bliss, and so on.

But there is nothing static about emotions. They're dynamic, fluid, always changing. For example, if a person feels some natural, negative emotions and immediately jumps to the conclusion, "I'm depressed!" Then he runs the risk of freeze-framing his dynamic emotions into a static concept of depression when he is not really depressed at all.

Believing in the concept, he might actually become depressed.

The main thing here is to not accept labels and face values. Someone who looks good, speaks well, and wears a nice suit might be a scam artist. A priest might be a thief. A seemingly sympathetic, soft-spoken politician may be a warmonger. But if he belongs to your community, church, or political party, will you be able to see it?

These are just examples, and most people are nice people. They really are. However, we are susceptible to good first impressions and we easily associate one thing with another. An actor wearing a lab coat becomes a scientist or a doctor. Spoken words turn into presumed actions. In many cases you don't have time to do a background check on everything you buy and everyone you deal with. That's fine. When you are mindful, your feelings save you time and do the checking for you. You develop a reliable gut instinct.


If you are voting for a politician who might become your next president, look at what he has done in his career. Do not take his words at face value. Do not accept his label as yours. The person's history of actions is the key. Compared to action - evidence of a person actually doing and believing in what he says - words mean little or nothing.

Mindfulness helps prevent errors of judgment. It is the smart way. So you see how concepts, labels, and face values can be bad things?

Change/life is dynamic, fluid, and holds no barriers, while concepts and labels are static, pre-interpreted, and boxed-in. Going beyond concepts, you become aware of the free float of time, emotions, thoughts, and any other change big enough to draw your attention, thus making its way into your awareness. You'll notice how you can pick up on subtle changes in your awareness before they materialize and become concepts and labels (mis)interpreting and explaining the change. You feel change quickly, surfing on top of it rather than becoming immersed in it.

Concepts are only useful if we can step back once in a while and become aware of the bigger, interconnected, and changing picture, and not gaze for too long at one point, such as our own reflection.

Place Narcissus on a surf board from time to time...

Unless you have meditated before, and even if you have, this explanation may not make sense right away. But if you feel confused yet tolerant and relaxed about your confusion, you're being mindful. Feelings, sights, sounds, thoughts - they change all the time. Becoming aware of them and the fact that they change don't mean that you have to follow them to their origin or destination (do they even have one?).

Detached and non-judgmental of your observations, you allow yourself the freedom to exist. This goes for meditation and daily living. Most importantly, mindfulness goes hand in hand with compassion, which is healthy and befriending, bringing you closer to the greatness within you and the truly great people around you.

Author's Bio: 

Oz Vorland is a physical therapist and experienced meditator. His meditation techniques are mantra and mindfulness-based, and firmly rooted in the science of meditation and happiness. Learn more about the fascinating theory and step-by-step practice by visiting his Website: