I am excited to share my interview with Jory Pryor. As stated on the Methods site, Methods is a free podcast designed to showcase the myriad ways in which we can engage with our ego, develop inner peace, and connect with the divine.
Why did you create the Methods podcast? Tell us a little bit about your podcast.
Methods started as a project for alternative prayer practices in a small church plant called The Restoration Project near my home in Salisbury, MD. I knew there was so much that could be done with it, and so many people that could benefit from a more contemplative podcast, in contrast to the endless entertainment on the platform. I’m a very kinesthetic learner, and I respond well to guided meditations, with someone leading you through the practice. I think it can help those that might feel unsure or lost on how to start a meditation or prayer practice by themselves.
And I wanted to provide a free resource for people that had left faith, and were sticking a toe back into the waters, and for those interested in an inter-spiritual or iconoclastic practice, or even for those that had left faith entirely. I’m partial to Death of God Theology as a tool or a means of shattering our idols and stagnant conceptions of God, to allow us to more easily enter into a fluid stream of trust with the ineffable, and so I find atheism to be a helpful antagonist to theism of most kinds. Even if you don’t buy into the spiritual nature of meditation, research shows that its just good for your brain.
Pulled from your site you mention, “methods is a free podcast, designed to showcase the myriad ways in which we can engage with our ego, develop inner peace, and connect with the divine.” How do you define the ego?
I think the ego can be defined in many ways, but personally, I view it as the arising of our separate sense of self out of our true self. The separate sense of self is something that we operate under the influence of, whether we know it or not. What prayer and meditation allow us to do is to shed that sense of separation from the rest of life, through various techniques. Once we see that “I” is just a story we tell ourselves (which can be heartbreaking), it allows us to realize the interconnectedness of all life and to come from that sense of unity. Many religions have spoken of this, including Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
How do you pray? How do you meditate?
I tend to default to centering prayer, or basic mantra meditation using a mala necklace of 108 beads. I can sink into a place of detachment very easily as a 9 on the enneagram, so following japa allows me to stay more tactilely engaged and not “zone out”.
What are some of the benefits of meditation?
Meditation has been shown in research to help reduce anxiety, anger, stress, and restlessness. It also tends to increase healthy grey matter in the brain, boost memory, and promote a posture of compassion toward others. There’s some light being shed on questionable methodology of studies connected with the TM (transcendental meditation) technique, but the body of research on meditation and prayer as a whole is larger than this. There are also those that push back on the idea of prayer having any benefit at all, which I think is just silly.
Of course engaging in any practice for an extended period of time is going to have an effect on your body and mind, and meditation is no different. Coming from a Christian background where I believe that God has incarnated herself with all of creation, It’s plain to me that connecting with that source might have some beneficial effects. Although the Hindu Sutras warn against practicing meditation for any perceived gain, I side with Ram Dass in that sometimes once you achieve what you want, you realize you don’t want it anymore. So these benefits can draw us to the mat, but eventually it’s the mat that draws us to itself.
Who are some of your favorite author(s) and why?
I love the work of Franciscan Father Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, Thich Nhat Hanh, Peter Rollins, Pete Enns, Rob Bell, Eknath Easwaran, and many others. I enjoy writers that write in a way that feels more like remembering what I already knew.
What future projects do you wish to share?
I’m currently working on a series of interviews and guided meditations by others in the same field of work. Writers, speakers, pastors, and everyday people too.
What is the best place for people to visit to learn more about you and your work?
My website is www.methodspodcast.com and I’m also on facebook and Instagram @methodspodcast
Thanks for taking the time for this interview and for the great work you do!
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