Ruben Laukkonen is a cognitive neuroscientist at the VU University of Amsterdam and an advisor to the OECD. His research focuses on sudden insight experiences and the effects of intensive meditation on the mind and brain. Ruben has an eclectic contemplative background, including different meditation traditions such as Zen, Advaita, and Theravada. 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.
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. Read our unifying theory of meditation.
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.
Can we change the education system? Should we teach students to meditate? In collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) we are investigating how meditation can help students learn.