EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL RELEVANCE
I heard a friend use the phrase “internal relevance” and I realized it as something I had not thought much about, at least not consciously. The person using the phrase was in search of “internal relevance” as a way of being in the world that was authentic. He was tired of trying to be someone that he thought would be acceptable to other people. He wanted to make a shift to himself as he knew himself to be without what he called “heavy editing.” I celebrate his revelation. I trust he will find his discovery much more to his liking than his previous struggle to be someone he was not.
Those of us who have lived a long and blessed life with purpose and meaning may have trouble understanding or appreciating what a challenge it might be for people who are still working on figuring that in. I like to say figuring it in rather than figuring it out, perhaps for obvious reasons, perhaps not so obvious.
A word of explanation; We spend a fair amount of time solving problems and if we’re good at that, we learn how to anticipate problems before they become larger and more unmanageable. We call that figuring it out which means finding a solution, cracking the code, or putting the pieces of a puzzle together. I think what we mean by figuring it out is getting it out of the way and off the agenda. What I mean by figuring it in is integrating rather than segregating the solution or answer. We figure it into the equation as it becomes part of the whole. It’s a different way of looking at things.
If you are still searching for meaning, purpose and value, where are you looking? My hunch is that the initial search, as well as the continuing search, may be focused on relevant external relationships. Work or a job or an interpersonal relationship, friendship or a family connection, those are mostly external. What about writing or painting or composing? How, where and when you relate to all of that is outside of yourself and is how you choose to be in those external connections. Do you make the choice consciously or is it a conditioned, automatic response? The Stimulus Response Theory is basically an automatic, knee jerk response, without thinking that you may consciously have a choice.
While you may enjoy and appreciate those relationships, they are dim in comparison to your internal relationship with yourself. It is here where you will find your source of being, the eternal, the bright and shining light that is you at your best, as you were created to be and to become who you are. You are always in the process of becoming and evolving. Your life is dynamic, not static, and it changes over time, that is how you were designed. If you don’t like how your life is going along or you don’t like some part of it, what prevents you from designing and choosing a change?
Interesting etymology of the word relevance (the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate). From Latin, relevans, “lift up again, lighten, relieve”
Thus it is important to understand what lifts you, lights up your life, relieves you from the burden of concern about your relevance. What Is essential is how and where you find those connections that free you to be and to become who you are.
‘If you are still searching for meaning, purpose and value, where are you looking?’
Wonderful post. Thank you.
Like the refrain of the popular band U2’s song says… “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…”
Yes. We don’t want to admit, let alone consider that we may be looking for relevance in all the not-so-relevant places… and as mentioned by you, this can happen because have lost sight of the source (of light) that is within us… the source that always has been, always will be, and has infinite patience as it awaits our awakening to relevance with grace, letting us wonder and wander until the moment of clarity… and so it goes?