Weekly Email 3-7-24

Dear Common Ground Friends,

I am probably not alone in finding that it is challenging keeping the practice in mind in an ongoing way, to keep recollecting, “This is being known, it is like this now, can this be okay?” On the surface this doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult. But, the real challenge is learning how to remain interested in what is both subtle and surprisingly ordinary in an ongoing way. One of the stories from the tradition that has always intrigued me tells us that the Buddha was initially hesitant to teach. Even though the insight from his deep awakening into the nature of the heart was profoundly liberating, he felt that what he had come to understand was too subtle and that others would not be able to understand. I appreciate this story because it points to something that I have seen in my own practice and something that my teachers have often emphasized: the necessity of sincere and ongoing interest in the present moment. Our willingness to be open, receptive, and not dependent on or confused by our mind’s mental constructions is the essence of our practice. This is how our practice stays fresh and real and onward-leading toward liberating insights.

Of course, our mind is often seduced by dramas, choices, and the push and pull of desire swirling in and around us. Whenever the mind is fixed on this gross worldly level of reality, we become forgetful that there exists a simple, subtle, and wise way of relating/knowing. Each moment of our life arises simply as an appearance, a moment of knowing, that is being felt here and now. What happens if we keep this understanding in mind even as we navigate all the twists and turns of our lives? Just as the Buddha did, we can realize that attachment is unnecessary. The resulting skill and freedom that we experience can be used to inspire a greater appreciation and devotion to continuous practice throughout our days.

Wishes for peace and healing all around,
Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

As always, our online calendar is the best way to find the most up-to-date information and Zoom links. 

Programs with our Co-Guiding Teachers

With Shelly Graf

Weekly Practice Groups with Shelly

Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 p.m., in-person and on Zoom

Sundays mornings, 10:30-11:45 a.m., in-person, on Zoom, and live-streamed to YouTube

Sundays, 7:00-8:30 p.m., in-person only
  • with Jean Haley on March 10th and April 7th
Befriending Illness Workshop with Meg Brandeland & Shelly Graf
Saturday, March 9th, 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
In person and on Zoom. More info and registration here.Buddhist Studies with Shelly Graf: Expressions of a Benevolent Heart
5 Mondays, March 18 – April 15, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Optional Sitting Period, 7:00 – 7:30 pm
In-person and on Zoom
Registration here.

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Shelly Graf

In person and on Zoom
  • Daylong Retreat on Saturday, March 23rd. More info and registration here.
  • Half-Day Retreat on Saturday, April 6th. More info and registration here.
  • Daylong Retreat on Saturday, April 27th. Registration coming soon.
  • Daylong with nakawe cuebas and Shelly: Saturday, May 11th, 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Registration coming soon.
Community Practice Check-ins with Shelly Graf
Every Wednesday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. in-person
Every Friday, 9:00-10:00 a.m. on ZoomWith Mark Nunberg

Buddhist Studies: Dependent Origination with Mark Nunberg
5 Mondays, April 29th – May 27th, 7:30-9:00pm,
optional sitting time 7:00-7:30
In-person and on Zoom
More info and registration here.

Upcoming Teacher-led Programs

Movement in Four Postures Workshop with Kei Tsuruharatani
Sunday, March 10th, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
In person only. More info and registration here.

Daylong Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Stacy McClendon
Saturday, March 30th, 9:30am-4:00 p.m. In person only. More info and registration here.

Guest Teacher Talk with Bhikkhu Sambodhi: How Has the Idea of Gradual Training Gone Out the Window?
Tuesday, April 16th, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
In person and on Zoom

Ongoing Teacher-Led Programs

Developing the Art of Spiritual Inquiry with Ramesh Sairam
On Zoom only.
First Thursdays of the month, 7:00-8:30 p.m., next session is March 7th. 

Mindful Self-Compassion with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst 
On Zoom Only. Third Fridays of the month, 7:00-8:30 p.m., next session is Friday, April 19th. The March 15th session is cancelled.?

Community Practice Check-Ins
  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30 p.m., on Zoom with Wynn Fricke and Sarah Wilson
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., on Zoom with Ramesh Sairam
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 p.m., on Zoom with Stacy McClendon
Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Weekly group meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
In-person and on Zoom

Programs at Our Retreat Center
Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis.

Practice Period with Tracey Ghilardi & Robb Reed
Thursday, April 4 – Sunday, April 7
More info and registration here.

Practice Period with Louise Delagran & Matthew King
Thursday, April 18 – Sunday, April 21
More info and registration here.

Mindful Yoga Retreat with Nancy Boler
Thursday, May 9 – Sunday May 12
Registration coming soon

For background on our retreat center, click here.

Community News 

Mindfulness of Shoes
Unfortunately, it appears that on two occasions recently, community members’ shoes have gone missing from the entryway. It’s likely that someone is stealing them. You might consider not wearing your finest footwear as a way to take care of everyone.

Tax Receipts
Year-end tax letters for dana contributions by check and cash received in 2023 were mailed in January and February. In the interest of saving paper and postage we did not send out the letters where the contribution was less than $100. If you did not receive this letter and would like one, please let Nancy Boler, our bookkeeper, know by emailing bookkeeper@commongroundmeditation.org and she will be happy to put it in the mail to you.

Emails were sent out on January 15 for donations made through PayPal. If you’d like an email acknowledging contributions of less than $100 made online through PayPal please let Nancy know.

Finally, Nancy is happy to answer any general question you might have about donations.

Mindful Writing from the County Jail
You’re invited to check out the newly released book, Mindful Writing from the County Jail, curated by Common Ground member, Dennis Kelly. It presents over one hundred, micro-short stories written by men and women being held in county jails throughout Minnesota. The stories allow the reader to become a compassionate witness into the lives of jailed men and women and come away with an understanding of the background, humanity, and inherent hope of an underserved and oft-forgotten segment of our community. To order visit: https://denniskellywriter.com

Weekly Email Change
Starting next week, we will be experimenting with a much shorter version of the weekly email. There will still be a reflection from one of our guiding teachers, but we will be listing fewer programs in the service of highlighting new programs opening for registration, programs where registration is low and we want to get the word out, and other priority programs that need more attention, as well as community news. We hope to encourage everyone to bookmark our calendar webpage, which is the definitive place to check for our complete calendar, which fortunately, has an abundance of practice opportunities online, here in Minneapolis, and at our retreat center.

Upcoming Community Group Meetings

  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, next meeting is March 7th, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, March 9th, 9:00-10:30 a.m.
  • Mindfulness & Depression, First and Third Sundays, next meeting is March 17th, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
  • Refirement Group, Thursday, March 21st, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
  • Be Queer Now: First Wednesdays of the month, next meeting is April 3rd, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Steward Needed at Arrow River near Thunder Bay, Canada
As a small hermitage in a non-Buddhist country, Arrow River operates by dependence on a lay steward who lives here and takes care of the duties which monks cannot. This is an opportunity to live at the center for an extended period of time and to serve the Triple Gem. The duties are not time consuming and leave ample time for study and meditation. There is an opening beginning February 26th. More information about stewardship at Arrow River.

Freely Giving and Receiving

Common Ground offers all programs freely in the spirit of generosity. If you’d like to donate to support the teachers and the center, click the link below.


Volunteer Opportunities

You may fill out our Volunteer Interest Form here.

Wishlists: If you want to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.


Don’t Work at Being Angry, Work at Being Aware

If there is anger in the mind, don’t
think more about what is making you
angry. Instead, notice there is anger and
get interested in it: “This is anger; this is
the nature of anger. What is that like?”
Bring this awareness continually. In this
way, you don’t work at being angry, you
work at being continuously aware.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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