The Power of “Maybe”

The nontheistic religion of Jainism from India seeks to perfect one’s understanding of the self and the universe. They have a word, “syat,” that means “to the best of my knowledge at this time.” Practitioners of Jainism frequently add this word to conversations to remind themselves and others that this is all anyone has to go on. That no one can truly know everything. Susan wrote, “When they toss the word “syat” it states that perhaps there is no such thing as the truth, only ‘maybe’ which means, ‘I think, but I’m not sure.’”

Adding ‘maybe’ to our thinking can help us to keep from being a know-it-all, allowing doubt into our blind certainty. Susan called it a “MAYBE” attitude and when she adopted it, she was “Able to flow with the political news on television, the bemoaning of my like-minded friends at dinner and so on. This doesn’t mean I necessarily changed my opinion on the issues of contention. And it doesn’t mean I won’t act in ways I believe will create a better world.”

You can try it yourself by adding “maybe” to the end of any statement. For example:

I know I’ll love that new film … maybe

The president’s speech was right on … maybe

Jane’s new boyfriend is great … maybe

You can also work on creating a “maybe” world for yourself by adding these phrases into your conversations:

In my opinion

To the best of my knowledge

At this time, I believe

While there is no way to entirely avoid self-righteous know-it-alls, cultivating a “maybe” attitude can help you deal with the negativity and meanness that can radiate from a person limited by their beliefs. Learning to take your own opinions less seriously can help you deal with the strong opinions of others.

Susan wrote, “Maybe we’re right, maybe we’re wrong. When we act in this way, we create a way of being with people with an open energy and an eagerness to learn and to share our ideas with others…not as if we knew everything, because we clearly don’t, but as a seeker looking to work with others to create a healing answer.”