More Awareness/Less Neurosis with Mark Epstein, M.D.

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We in the West are bombarded with ways to enhance our sense of self. Books everywhere promise ways to increase self-confidence, self-esteem, self-expression, self-control, self-development. As more and more Westerners become acquainted with Eastern thought, they mistakenly feel that it is only through a negation of the self that one can achieve enlightenment. Mark Epstein, a Buddhist psychiatrist says, "It's wrong to think that Buddhist insight wipes out the ego-self; it wipes out the identification of whatever is happening in the mind/body process; but for that ability to be present is actually an ego function." Discover the intricate complexities of the ego and the self in this insightful dialogue, as well as how to reach a level where your awareness becomes stronger than your neurosis, because "understanding who you are releases you from the prison of that identity." (hosted by Michael Toms)


Mark Epstein is a contributing editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and clinical assistant professor of psychology at New York University.

Epstein is the author of many books including:

  • Thoughts Without a Thinker (Basic 1995)
  • Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart (Broadway 1999)
  • Going On Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change (Broadway 2002)
  • Open To Desire: The Truth About What Buddha Taught (Gotham Books 2004)
  • Psychotherapy without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective (Yale University Press 2008)

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Why meditation is similar to falling in love
  • How meditation changes your sense of who you are and what you're capable of
  • What is the role the ego plays in achieving insight
  • What are some of the intriguing alternatives to traditional therapy
  • A crucial element of parenting that is often overlooked
  • What is the difference between your ego identity and your self
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 7/8/1999      Program Number: 2785