The Right to Change Your Mind

I read something I’d like to share with you…

“Next time I will…”

“From now on I will…”

– What makes me think I am wiser today than I will be tomorrow?

This is from the book “Notes to Myself” by Hugh Prather. There are already several passages that are very enlightening and thought-provoking. I want to capture the feeling that each conveys and share it with you. That is difficult because the feelings aren’t completely formed most times. The passage is profound to me…It determinedly tickles my consciousness, telling me that there is deep meaning that could positively change the way I live my life. I re-read the passage multiple times, sometimes metabolizing the words a bit more. They each need to be absorbed. I couldn’t possibly metabolize even one passage fully in a single sitting. 

I’m not even able to tell you what page the aforementioned quote is from – the pages aren’t numbered!

Why is this particular passage so meaningful to me? It’s about intentionally reserving the right to change one’s mind. I have thought about this many times over the past year with regard to marriage in general, and more specifically my past marriage. 

When a person commits to marriage, they are essentially promising not to change their mind. They are saying, and their partner is expecting, that the way they feel today, all warm and fuzzy, is the way they will always feel. Nevermind that they can examine their life quite easily and find multiple examples of things they feel differently about today than they did before. Despite this proof that they have been known to change their minds about things over time, they put on the blinders when it comes to marriage, thinking somehow that a marriage, a relationship, is exempt from our personal growth. 

Of course, the trap in the passage is the same on both sides of the argument – for or against marriage. I am not wiser today than I will be tomorrow, so taking such a definite stance in one direction disallows the possibility of growth in that area. The approach that results in the most possibilities is to not say anything with regard to “From now on, I will…”, but instead to let future decisions go. Just be, now. When – if – such a situation arises again, only then make a decision. It allows you to be open and flexible, letting ideas flow through you in any shape that makes the most sense in that moment. You learn along the way, picking up new ways of thinking that would otherwise be blocked with a too-rigid view one way or the other. 

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