Academic background

Ruben received his PhD from The University of Queensland in Australia, winning the Research Excellence Award for his dissertation on insight experiences. He is now based at the VU University of Amsterdam as a postdoctoral fellow researching the effects of advanced meditation practices on the mind and brain with Professor Heleen Slagter. Using a combination of neuroimaging, machine learning, and phenomenology, Ruben is investigating some of the rarest states of consciousness. He has published articles in leading journals, regularly speaks at international conferences, consults for the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, and has written on topics that range from artificial intelligence to psychedelics. Ruben has an eclectic contemplative background, including traditions such as Zen, Advaita, and Theravada.

Beyond the ivory tower

There is much to enjoy in this life beyond the monkey-mind. In his other free time Ruben gets a kick out of dancing, martial arts, poetry, surfing, rock climbing, traveling, music, and mountains. He naturally inclines towards places that inspire creativity, harmony, and ecstasy, balanced with respites in solitude to clear the water. Ruben lives on a houseboat in Amsterdam and prefers the sunrise with black coffee, a notepad, and glistening light on the smooth surface of a canal. Adding confusion to his biographical narrative, Ruben once fought a two-time world champion on national TV in Hong Kong, hosted a music festival, and started the first business in Australia where you could buy bitcoin online.