Beena Sharma (Part 3) – Vertical Development’s Many Gifts: How Continuous Adult Development Becomes Possible, the Potentials It Unlocks, and How Understanding It Makes New Sense of Our World and Our Selves

Beena Sharma Vertical Development Academy

Beena Sharma, president of the Vertical Development Academy (VeDA), gives a beautifully cogent explanation of the 8-stage, full spectrum model of adult psychological development, Vertical Development, illuminating us not only to the characteristics of each stage of development, but the implications and ramifications of each stage, the process of human development as a whole, and how this model can help us face our current metacrisis. Beena describes how “each stage is a way of seeing the world and oneself, a constellation of our beliefs and assumptions,” and we discover that our development takes form in patterns of evolving worldviews, a progression of capacities with which we make sense of the world.

On an individual level, Beena asks, “Where is your foot nailed to the floor? Where are parts of you still ahead of you? How can this framework help you make a shift?” And collectively, “What does it mean for the human being to evolve? What makes us think humans at this time are at the end of the evolutionary ladder?” Vertical development focuses on the evolving ego, and interestingly, takes us to the stage where we realize the ego itself is only a construct—and beyond. As well as a brilliant unpacking of the vertical development model and map, this is a profound, warm-hearted conversation, about human evolution and possibility, the dance of the dual and the nondual, the infinitude of the psyche, and what it means to come home to oneself. Recorded July 13, 2022.

Everything is a dance of the dual and the nondual.”

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 3

  • Keeping the question in mind: “Is this framework getting in the way of me connecting with the person in front of me? (02:54)
  • What light does this model of adult development shed on religions and spiritual leaders? (04:33)
  • The core of Integral yoga—integrating the spiritual and the material (09:00)
  • Everything is a dance of the dual and the nondual; either/or thinking manifests all the way up (09:59)
  • What are Beena’s personal practices to stay sane in our confounding world today? (11:08)
  • Implications for our metacrisis: who are the players who have power? (14:50)
  • Solutions come from within small groups who can collaborate (17:17)
  • Paul Hawken, climate change, and the philosophy of regeneration (18:38)
  • What does it mean to be “life minded?” (19:49)
  • How the state of the world, the current metacrisis, is a direct reflection of our individual and collective consciousness (20:16)
  • Corporate investment in leadership is a $161 billion dollar annual industry; leadership design is key (23:48)
  • Central polarity in Beena’s life: Am I doing? Or am I being done? (31:16)
  • How can transformative practices be scaled? Cultivating people who are both wise and politically involved (32:34)
  • The deliberately developmental organization—and the deliberately developmental civilization (34:42)
  • How do we make developmental programs more effective? (35:30)
  • Harvesting technology for good: a design issue and an issue of expanding the designers’ abilities (36:46)
  • Encouraging people to grow; 50-70% of people are at the conventional stages (37:32)
  • Recognizing the war within (42:12)

Resources & References – Part 3

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Beena Sharma currently stewards Vertical Development Academy (VeDA) as its founding president, with a vision to enhance the practice of human development. Beena has a passion around helping individuals and organizations orient themselves to the path of the evolving human being across the various stages of maturity as revealed through empirical research and sound theory. She sees the progressive unfolding of maturity in adults as a process where the narrow, the limited, and the conflicting open to a more comprehensive, a more real, a more complete intuition and perspective—each stage of human maturity a temporary station of a more adequate understanding of the human condition.

Beena is a gifted master coach, consultant, teacher, and thought leader. She has been recognized nationally and internationally for her achievements in successfully conceptualizing, developing, and delivering systemic leadership development initiatives. Beena has led efforts as an executive and consultant for various agencies of the U.S. government and leading private-sector companies in healthcare and other industries in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, and India. Beena is committed to designing and delivering exceptional learning experiences to build deep capability in individuals and organizations in service of creating a sustainable future for our civilization.

Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell

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