"Accessing the Divine" series
by Don Oakley
This series of ten short (about nine minutes each) video clips available on YouTube discuss practices that we can use to approach our deepest, truest nature which is not other than Source.
Salwan Cartwright-Shamoon of Belfast, Northern Ireland conceived this series and posed subjects for Don's extemporaneous filmed talks over three days in September 2018 at Well Being Retreat Center. These talks have been posted on Don's YouTube channel. The linked and downloadable text for each talk below is an edited and expanded version of the YouTube videos.
Introduction to Accessing the Divine series
This short Introduction to the "Accessing the Divine - Ten Useful Practices" series of brief talks on YouTube presents ways to approach our deepest nature, which is not ultimately separate from the Divine. This introductory talk also clarifies which Don means by the word "Divine."
"I am; I exist"
There are few things that we can say with absolute certainty. "I am" and "I exist" are such statements because you can't say the opposite. You can't say "I don't exist" because, of course, you have to exist to make the statement. The simple, yet challenging, practice of remaining with the non-conceptual, felt sense of "I am" can open the door into our true nature.
The Power of Silence
Reverence for silence is found in most traditions worldwide. There is exterior silence; there is interior silence; and there is silence that is present even when there is mental chatter. Silence transcends the limits of our thinking minds. It is a doorway to the Divine.
Walking in Nature
A useful practice to make ourselves more "grace-prone" is to spend time out in Nature non-conceptually. We actually don't need to provide a mental commentary to what we are experiencing. It doesn't add to the experience. We don't need to label, compare, evaluate, categorize, summarize, identify. We can enjoy the visual and auditory feeds into our consciousness.
Meditation is one of the classic ways of approaching the Divine, but which technique is best and how do I know if it's working? This talk discusses the spectrum of meditation practices and the usefulness of each.
Inquiry is an important practice in our efforts to approach the Divine. It is asking important questions and then resisting the temptation to try to answer them conceptually. We can allow them to simmer in our awareness. If we are earnest in our asking, Life has a way of responding. We just need to listen open-heartedly...
The Importance of Being Earnest
Earnestness is our compass on our spiritual journey to more fully access the Divine. It's what keeps us honest with ourselves. It is what helps us to recognize those areas where we are still unfamiliar and to have the courage to act in conformance with what we know to be true.
Coming into Alignment with Life
Life seems to offer many opportunities to encounter painful circumstances - both physical and psychological. We often use the terms pain and suffering interchangeably. But they are different. Pain may be inescapable, but suffering.....
Gratitude is a very significant practice in our approach to the Divine. It cuts through any personal objection we have with Life. It is binary: you are either grateful or you are not. You can't be partially grateful. Gratitude is what liberates you from all the past injustices, hurts, blames and shames.
Living Fully in the World
To a large degree, spirituality eventually comes down to our ability to live in the world without fear, to be comfortable in our own skin, and to feel at one with existence. Doing so requires us to get out past our comfort zones and risk "failure." This is where Life comes alive and fresh and real.
Facing the Unknown
Who we are is unknowable because we can't stand back and look at ourselves as an object. We are what is doing the looking. Much like an eyeball can't see itself, what we are - essentially - is unknowable, and yet we can BE what we are, knowingly.