Ruben Laukkonen is a cognitive neuroscientist at the VU University of Amsterdam and an advisor to the OECD. Lately his research focuses on sudden insight experiences and the effects of intensive meditation on the mind and brain. Ruben has a contemplative background in Zen and Advaita Vedanta. Prior to science he competed internationally in Muay Thai, hosted a music festival, and surfed the East Coast of Australia spending most of his weekends in a van. Ruben regularly gives talks on meditation, psychedelics, and the nature of insight experiences.
Questions that inspire me and our research:
Is it possible that meditation genuinely allows practitioners to perceive the world in a more direct way, beyond conceptions? Using a combination of neuroimaging, machine learning, and neuro-phenomenology, we are investigating some of the most rare states of consciousness accessible to human beings.
How do we know when our ideas are true? What causes false insights? We are creating new ways to trigger insight experiences in the laboratory to investigate what leads to the dark side of eureka and the mechanisms that underly mystical experiences.