In Addicted to My Ego, Dr. Dan Cohen imparts advice on how to free oneself from the negative effects of the ego.
As Cohen posits, the ego is just one part of the complete self, but the one that, since earliest childhood, demands constant attention, convinces us we’ll never be or have enough, and drives us to distraction with its demands that we run farther, jump higher, work smarter, and accumulate more. Cohen believes, after 20 years of self-study, that by accepting the ego as a necessary part of our personality, we can find the calm inside that allows for an investigation of every aspect of the whole self.
This is both a memoir of Cohen’s childhood, medical training, family life, and career as a neurologist and entrepreneur and a practical guide to various means of self-examination, including: mindfulness and meditation, gratitude, surrender, and stress reduction. While the discussion of the author’s 60-plus years illustrates how to identify the “fundamental beliefs” that drive the ego, the narrative jumps awkwardly between his life story and his spiritual teaching. The exhaustive dissection of his life would be more captivating with added color and emotion.
What’s worth readers’ time, however, is Cohen’s unique, imaginative way of illustrating how the ego works its wiles to do damage while the Higher Self repeats its unshakeable confidence in a positive outcome. These “inner dialogue[s]” on subjects such as “Judging and Acceptance” or “Purpose, Free Will and Destiny” are concise and energetic:
“Ego: …Why aren’t I experiencing more of what I truly am?
“Higher Self: It’s coming.
“Ego: I’ve heard that before. When is it going to get here?
“Higher Self: When it arrives.
These dialogues offer much more helpful, compelling ways to self-discovery than Cohen’s life story.
The book would be improved by narrowing the focus strictly to spiritual instruction. Nonetheless, readers will find the inner dialogues valuable examples of how to confront the ego and mitigate its destructive influence.