Les Lancaster

Brian Les Lancaster, PhD

Alef Trust Founding Director

Email: les.lancaster@aleftrust.org


Brian Les Lancaster has been instrumental in the growth of Transpersonal Psychology in the UK and internationally. He has previously served as Chair of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society, President of the International Transpersonal Association, and a Board member of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology.  Les is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Sacred Science Circle. He is Emeritus Professor of Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), where with colleague Michael Daniels, he initiated postgraduate programmes in Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology. He was Programme Leader of an award-winning online MSc in Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology, about which a UK government agency wrote:

“This highly innovative programme is a tribute to the university. It has gained widespread recognition in the UK and abroad as an innovative, substantive and well-run programme.”

Les is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS).

On leaving LJMU, Les put his energy into founding and establishing the Alef Trust in order to further his primary mission—that of ensuring that those seeking postgraduate opportunities in transpersonal psychology and allied disciplines might find a community of like-minded people and be offered high-quality teaching.

Research interests

Les’ research has encompassed cognitive neuroscience, consciousness, and mysticism. His work has focused on spiritual and mystical insights into processes, and states, of consciousness and their value for building psychological models that draw on cognitive and neuroscientific data. Recent research has explored experiential hermeneutics, especially as evident in Kabbalistic literature. He is currently working on a project on shamanic kabbalistic psychology. He has studied and practised the Kabbalah for fifty years and developed its practices in the light of his work in transpersonal psychology. In addition to numerous articles and chapters in colleagues’ books, Les’ published works include Mind Brain and Human Potential, winner of a Scientific and Medical Network Best Book Award, The Essence of Kabbalah, and Approaches to Consciousness: The Marriage of Science and Mysticism, about which the Chief Rabbi, Professor Jonathan Sacks commented:

“With formidable erudition and the widest of perspectives, Brian Lancaster has written a challenging and potentially ground-breaking book on the relationship between scientific and mystical ideas of human consciousness. A humane scholar in the great tradition of William James, his work deserves to be read and discussed widely.”

Key publications

Lancaster, B. L. (2018). Re-veiling the revealed: Insights into the psychology of ‘enlightenment’ from the Kabbalah. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 37(2), 73–87. https://doi.org/10.24972/ijts.2018.37.2.73

Lancaster, B. L. (2008). Engaging with the mind of God: The participatory path of Jewish mysticism. In J. Ferrer & J. Sherman (eds.), The Participatory Turn: Spirituality, Mysticism, Religious Studies (pp. 173-196). State University of New York Press.

Lancaster, B. L. (2004). Approaches to Consciousness: The Marriage of Science and Mysticism. Palgrave Macmillan.

Lancaster, B. L. (1997). On the stages of perception: towards a synthesis of cognitive neuroscience and the Buddhist Abhidhamma tradition. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 4(2), 122-142.

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