Guiding Principles and Practices

Common Ground Meditation Center exists to support the awakening of suffering beings through the development of an ethical life, the cultivation of a pure heart and quiet mind, and through a deepening of insight into the way things are. These trainings are all guided by mindfulness, and with dedicated practice they lead to freedom from fear, clinging and all ideas of separation. As a community, we take refuge in the freedom of the awakened heart. We take refuge in this path of training and a life of mindful awareness and finally, we take refuge in the great generosity of those who have undertaken this practice and who show us the way.

Practicing mindfulness: an open, clear, non-judging awareness

We practice turning toward and trusting things as they are — a kind and patient acceptance of our internal and external experience. Recognizing and opening to both the joy and sorrow in life is an essential practice in healing and freeing the heart.

Awakening wisdom

Seeing clearly the way things are reveals the impermanent, unsatisfying and impersonal nature of conditioned experience. These insights uproot the mind’s stressful habits of clinging to its self centered constructions.

Walking the path as practiced by our spiritual ancestors

We support ongoing study, practice, and learning opportunities for all community members, including the guiding teacher.

Cultivating skillful intentions, words, and actions

We aspire to live in a way that promotes harmony and alleviates suffering. We commit to the practices of non-harming and non-greed, especially in the areas of sexuality, speech, and consumption. We also understand the need to integrate these practices into all areas of our community and our hearts.

Communicating skillfully at all levels of the community

We commit to the practice of honesty. We not only value skillful speech, but also listening wholeheartedly and mindfully. We value fearlessness and looking deeply as we practice opening to what is working and what is not working in our lives and in our community.

Responding directly to the suffering in our world with compassion

We are devoted to walking alongside each other with interest and compassion as we wake up to the unequal, and yet interrelated, experiences of privilege and oppression in our relationships, institutions, and communities. We understand that this wise and fearless opening to the real pain and confusion in our world is a difficult and necessary process in addressing the roots of suffering.