Consciousness & Spirituality, Activism & Leadership, Health & Wellbeing

Rachel Lilley: It’s Not How It Looks… How Neuroscience & Buddhism Informs Our Activism

Video with Rachel Lilley on Sunday 7th April 2019

Talk given by Rachel Lilley at the Advaya event Regenerative Activism:Revitalising Self and Society, April 2017

Talk Description:
It’s not how it looks… How Neuroscience & Buddhism Informs Our Activism
A brain is not evolved for rationality, happiness or accurate perception. Neuroscience and contemporary theories of the brain agree with Buddhist teaching, that the brain is not designed to see reality. We understand this more than ever, so how does this effect how we work as activists to create change?

By understanding the latest theories of the brain, combined with practices of insight and reflection, we can make our work more effective and understand better the challenges of change making. This work draws from empirical research, developing, delivering and evaluating programmes in change making organisations. Rachel shows that learning about the brain from both a personal (mindfulness) and theoretical (neuroscience, psychology, behavioural economics) perspective can transform the way people work. How an understanding of unconscious bias, the role of emotions and intuition in decision making, together with increased self-awareness, meta cognitive and perspective taking skills, could help create the next cognitive evolution that might help us achieve revolutionary change.


About the Speaker:
Rachel is a mindfulness academic, advisor and trainer with over 20 years’ experience in social and environmental change, through activism, community engagement, project delivery, training and yoga teaching. She has worked on homelessness, international development, Aids, Permaculture, climate change, human rights and sustainability education. She lived and worked in coops for over 15 years, where she brought up her two children. She is now a leading researcher on mindfulness as a means of supporting change and delivers a masterclass on her work at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. Her research looks at how internal awareness and development can create capacities in activists, leaders and change organisations to enable them to better deal with ‘wicked’ and complex problems such as climate change and social inequality. She has worked extensively with Welsh Government, developing and evaluating programmes bringing mindfulness together with the behavioural sciences. She has a background in combined social sciences, and is currently completing a PhD on this work at Aberystwyth University.


About the Event:
An exploration of tools and approaches that can transform our activism into a source for flourishing, both individually and socially.

Those of us involved in social change are all too familiar with the challenge of meeting injustice and hardship in the world. Our aim is to explore a range of tools and approaches, collective and personal, to make our activism more effective and sustainable. We will look at the personal and inner dimensions, as well as the interpersonal and organisational factors that enable long term engagement and continuity in the struggles we face. We hope to understand how our work for social change can be a context for flourishing, both individually and socially. We will explore these issues using holistic and participatory methods, drawing on popular education, ecological and systems thinking, as well as reflective practices. The day will bring together leading activists and change makers from across the UK and beyond, to share practice and strengthen networks.

Rachel Lilley #

Rachel is a mindfulness academic, advisor and trainer with over 20 years’ experience in social and environmental change, through activism, community engagement, project delivery, training and yoga teaching.

Read Rachel Lilley’s profile