My name is Mikan van Zanten. I was born in The Netherlands in 1975. When I was 8 years old my family moved to Taiwan, where we lived for about 4 years. Whilst there, I learned English as a second language and picked up an American English accent. I came into contact with many different cultures, and developed a taste for traveling. After Taiwan we moved back to the Netherlands, where I attended high school and subsequently university. I had a passion for mathematics, and wanted to make some money using this. I chose to pursue (and received) Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Econometrics, with a specialization in Quantitative Finance, from Tilburg University. Later on I became a Chartered Financial Analyst, and subsequently a Board Member and then President of the Netherlands CFA Society.
I have worked in the financial services industry for coming up on 25 years. I started at a large pension fund, working for several years in the Private Equity Department. In 2000, I joined the Rotterdam-based asset management firm Robeco as a founder of its Private Equity business. Over the next 13 years, I was jointly responsible for building that business, and I lived in New York for several years. More recently, I was the head of Robeco Luxembourg for several years, involved in managing investment funds investing in public markets, and have also been Chairman of several Alternative Investment Funds.
Finance is not the only thing I have been interested in. I have loved reading books my entire life. I devoured book after book in my spare time, particularly science fiction and fantasy novels. This type of writing opened me up to thinking about what is possible, also beyond what is currently known. Later on, this translated into an interest in spirituality and self-development. I suppose that part of the reason for reading so much was to escape my feeling world. I have been aware particularly of other people’s feelings all my life, but not known what those things that I felt were coming from. I remember clearly being at a music concert with thousands of people, ducked into my chair with my arms over my head to get away from the emotions of those around me coursing through my belly. I must say it was not a pleasant experience, and I learned to suppress such feelings at an early age. Much later, after many years spent in the mind applying logical thinking, I relented and started investigating these feelings. They led me to a realization of differences between thoughts, emotions, and different (physical) sensations. And how intuitive insight can support dealing with these experiences. I spent a lot of time becoming aware of different manifestations of these experiences, and listening to and applying intuitive solutions to perceived issues.
In my twenties, I developed an interest in spiritual development, started taking online teachings for chakra activation and cleansing, neuro linguistic programming, learning to use both sides of the brain, and meditation. I read many, many books about self discovery and development. I took a sabbatical to travel through India, Nepal and Tibet, looking at different religions and modes of spirituality. I became a practicing Buddhist for a year, and I visited Sarnath, where Buddha taught. I then followed the teachings of an Indian guru through many hours of energetic practices and meditation. I did not just pursue the spiritual aspects of these teachings, and also completed a coaching course in 2013 and commenced coaching people that year.
I found that as I started integrating these various practices into my daily life, that the distinctions between them started to fade, or perhaps merge, into a way of life and looking at the world. This transformed slowly into becoming more aware of who I was, and the temporary nature of all things. I became interested in non-duality, or perceiving/becoming aware of what is behind all phenomena. This guided my to several instances of insights or experience, each of which shifted my perspective further. I experienced the ‘emptiness’ of all ‘things’ I observed. I realized when observing the world around me that ‘I am that (and that, and that)’. I then became aware that I Am, which awareness lasted for several days.
The most profound change that occurred was when I was lying in my bathtub one day. I was empty of all thoughts, and all of a sudden, I knew that it was right to accept Jesus Christ in my heart as my Lord and Savior. A few minutes later, standing up, I for the first time in my life knew something so completely, without any sense of doubt at all, and it was that I and the Father are one. Several days later, I experienced the Holy Spirit coming unto me from above, every part of my body tingling, and a sense of lack that had been there within me all my life but which I had not been aware of, was gone. I was full, where before I had felt empty. Since then, I spend my time hearing the the Lord, and reading and being led by His Word, and being aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence.
I find that supporting others is what I’m supposed to be doing.
I live in the Netherlands with my loved ones.