Dharma, from the ancient Indian Vedic teachings has many meanings but for me, it ultimately translates to living a purposeful life in integrity, and alignment with one’s soul.
Ever ask yourself what is this crazy life all about? Ever ask yourself who am I? Are you grounded and living in light or disconnected and flailing? Are you connected with your soul and living your dharma?
In developmental psychology, Erik Erickson’s stages of psychosocial development is the shit. The stages from middle age to mature adulthood/death age reflect the importance of being both authentic and productive. In stage 7, Generativity vs stagnantion, middle-aged adults strive to create or nurture things that will outlast them, often by parenting children or fostering positive changes that benefit others. Contributing to society and doing things to promote future generations are important needs at the generativity vs. stagnation stage of development. Those who fail to attain the generativity skill feel unproductive in and uninvolved with the world. Being productive at this stage reflects better health, positive relationships and greater fulfillment. Failure to be productive at this stage results on poor relationships and decreased life satisfaction which may lead to depression, rumination. and negativity.
In Erikson’s stage 8, Integtity vs Despair, Integrity refers to a person’s ability to look back on their life with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Characteristics of integrity include:
- A sense of wholeness
- Lack of regret
- Feeling at peace
- A sense of success
- Feelings of wisdom and acceptance
Despair refers to looking back on life with feelings of regret, shame, or disappointment. Characteristics of despair include:
- Ruminating over mistakes
- Feeling that life was wasted
- Feeling unproductive
There are a number of benefits to successfully achieving feelings of integrity at this stage of life. These benefits include:
- Successfully resolving the crisis at this stage leads to the development of what Erikson referred to as ego integrity.
- People are able to look back at their life with a sense of contentment and face the end of life with a sense of wisdom and no regrets.
- Erikson defined this wisdom as an “informed and detached concern with life itself even in the face of death itself.”
Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom, even when confronting death.
Though Erikson and the lineage of dharma are completely different, ultimately the sentiment of living a purposeful, meaningful life, knows no boundaries.
If you are struggling to feel aligned with your soul, to live in alignment with integrity, or to stay grounded, peaceful and productive, I can help you connect with your dharma and supportively coach you to create a purposeful life worth living, no matter your age.
Check out out my mindfulness classes and transformational coaching packages.
Namaste 🙏🏻 (my soul bows you your soul)