The Race Conversation with Bodhilila and Eugene Ellis (The Buddhist Centre Podcast, Episode 441)On Sat, 20 May, 2023 - 17:14
A conversation about race and the possibilities of connecting beyond fear towards hope.
The construct of race is an integral part of Western society’s DNA and if we are to address the social injustice of racism, we need to have the race conversation. Yet all too often, attempts at such a dialogue are met with silence, denial, anger or hate.
Is it possible to navigate diverse conversations about race without confusion? Can we authentically create a culture capable of responding to the pain and discomfort caused by racism for both people of colour and white people? These questions lie at the heart of this heartfelt conversation between Bodhilila, Chair of the West London Buddhist Centre and Eugene Ellis, acclaimed author of ‘The Race Conversation: An essential guide to creating life-changing dialogue’.
Eugene’s work encompasses trauma theory and the vital need to resource inner conditions in engaging with others. Exploring the Buddhist perspective of conditionality, he emphasizes the significance of intention and working with discomfort within our conversations. As Bodhilila brings to bear her own profound experiences around race, intersectionality and Dharma practice, the discussion delves deep into the race construct, examining the profound impact of prejudice, colonialism, and slavery on individuals of all races.
The creation of safe environments where people can openly share their experiences is vital, allowing us to acknowledge the fear that can arise when engaging in these conversations. This, in turn, enables us to move past blame towards repairing relationships and alleviating the more negative forms of shame. What emerges is a passionate advocacy for personal introspection and doing the work to understand our own racial conditioning and perspectives. Only then can we take responsibility and actively seek avenues for redress and healing.
Recorded live in London, November 2022.
Bodhilila has been meditating and practising mindfulness for over 25 years. She is a fully accredited Breathworks mindfulness trainer as well as a qualified counsellor, teacher and massage therapist. She also worked for many years as a classical musician and as a nursery manager. She is currently Chair of the West London Buddhist Centre, where she has been teaching meditation, mindfulness and Buddhism, as well as helping to run the Centre, since 2012. She regularly leads retreats for the WLBC and at Taraloka women’s retreat centre.
Eugene Ellis is an activist, writer and public speaker on issues of race, difference and intersectionality. He is also the founder and director of The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network (BAATN), a network of therapists committed, passionate and actively engaged in addressing the psychological needs of Black, African and South Asian people in the UK.
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