This chapter outlines the third of the three meta-categories that together constitute the theory of wellbeing presented in the book. Its focus is personal development, which constitutes the main way in which wellbeing is cultivated. This meta-category comprises two subsidiary categories: character (e.g., flourishing and fulfilling one’s potential); and spirituality (e.g., reaching higher states and stages of development through spiritual practice). These categories in turn are woven together from multiple themes, identified through the analysis of untranslatable words. Character was found to involve five interrelated themes: virtue; considerateness; wisdom; self-determination; and skill. The inclusion of spirituality reflects the notion, found in many cultures, that to truly reach the peaks of development, it necessary to experience or cultivate some mode of spirituality. The analysis suggested this involves three key elements: the sacred (as variously conceived); contemplative practices (as a means of engaging with it); and self-transcendence (as a result of such practices). Together, these categories and themes show the ways in which wellbeing can be cultivated through processes of personal development.
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