Weekly Email 1-11-24

Dear Common Ground Friends,

We are entangled humans, living in our entangled world, desiring some relief from what often appears to us to be too much. Being human isn’t easy for any of us. And, even when conditions are pleasant, deep down our heart knows those conditions are subject to change. As the Buddha was asked a long time ago, “A tangle within, a tangle without, people are entangled in a tangle. I ask you this: who can untangle this tangle?” Of course, the Buddha says that someone who is practicing wisely is able to untangle the tangle of life. We might think that there must be a particular formula of diet, exercise, meditation, life choices that will make us immune from the tangle, but however we try, as we must, to master the details of our life, real freedom doesn’t arise because we have become super competent at doing the details of life. You can read the Buddha’s response to this question below. I hear the Buddha pointing to a realization, available right here in any moment, whenever the heart drops its dependence/fixation/attachment to all that is in motion; any moment of full non-grasping will do. There is a transformative magic in these simple moments of wisdom & awareness that are not easily described in words. How can we encourage ourselves to be interested in them?

The Buddha’s Response in Jata Sutta: The Tangle, SN 7.6
“A person established in virtue, discerning, developing discernment & heart, a practitioner, ardent, astute: this one can untangle this tangle. Those whose passion, aversion, and ignorance have faded away, awakened, their effluents ended: for them the tangle’s untangled. Where name-&-form, along with perception of impingement and form, totally stop without trace: that’s where the tangle is cut.”

Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

P.S. Shelly Graf and I would like to invite the community to join us on zoom or youtube livestream, Monday, January 15th, 7-9 p.m. for a special Community Dharma Evening led by Common Ground’s two Guiding Teachers. During our time together, I will update the community on the medical ordeal that I am navigating and I will share with you how my practice has helped me with these dramatic changes in my life. I’ll provide an update as well on my teaching schedule ahead. Thre will be time for questions and discussion about the practice and about the schedule of programs at Common Ground. Please join in if you can. We will plan to record the talk and conversation for those who can’t make it.

Programs with our Co-Guiding Teachers

With Mark Nunberg

Community Dharma Evening led by Common Ground’s Guiding Teachers
Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf

Monday, January 15th, 7:00-9:00pm
On Zoom and Youtube Livestream; links will be available in the online calendar.

With Shelly Graf

Weekly Practice Group with Shelly

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

  • January 21st with Patrice Koelsch
Sundays, 7:00-8:30 PM, in-person only
  • January 21st with Gabe Keller Flores

Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 PM, in-person and on Zoom

  • January 24th with Gabe Keller Flores
Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Shelly Graf and Jen Racho
Six Tuesdays: January 9 – February 13, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
In-person and on Zoom
Register here
*It’s still ok to register and join in starting week 2!
Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Shelly Graf
In person and on Zoom
  • Daylong: Saturday, January 27th, 9:30am-4:00pm. Register here.
  • Half-Day: Saturday, February 3, 1:00-5:00 PM. Register here.
  • Daylong: Saturday, February 10, 9:30am-4:00 PM. Register here
Buddhist Studies: Impermanence with Shelly Graf
Four Mondays, January 29th – February 19th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Community Practice Check-ins with Shelly Graf
Every Wednesday, 8:30-9:30am in-person
Every Friday, 9:00-10:00am on Zoom
co-led every other Friday with Jen Racho

Upcoming Teacher-led Programs

Half-Day Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Stacy McClendon & Jen Racho
Saturday, January 20 | 1:00-5:00 PM
In-person only
Register here

Recovery & Twelve Steps Half-Day Retreat with Mark M and Mary G
Saturday, February 17, 1:00 – 5:00pm
In-person only. Registration here.

Ongoing Teacher-Led Programs

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

Developing the Art of Spiritual Inquiry with Ramesh Sairam.
On Zoom only.
First Thursdays of the month, 7:00-8:30 PM, next session is February 1st.

Lovingkindness Practice Group with Stacy McClendon
In-person and on Zoom. First Fridays of the month, 7:00-8:30 PM, next session is February 2nd.

Mindful Self-Compassion with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst 
On Zoom Only. Third Fridays of the month, 7:00-8:30pm, next session is Friday, February 16th. (Jan 19th cancelled)

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

Youth Programs 

  • Children’s Program: Kindergarten- 3rd grade, every other Sunday 10:30-11:45 AM
  • Preteen Program: 4th grade- 7th grade, every other Sunday 10:30-11:45 AM
  • Teen Practice Group: Every other Sunday 10:30-11:30 AM.
View the calendar page for the exact schedule. (The teen group alternates with the children and preteen groups.)

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

Upcoming Practice Periods
With Pietro Ferrero: Thursday, Feb 1 – Sunday Feb 4. More info and registration here.

President’s Day Residential Retreat with Shelly Graf and Gabe Keller Flores
Thursday, February 15 – Monday, February 19
In person and on Zoom. Registration coming soon.

For background on our retreat center, click here.

Community News 

Open Meditation
There is silent meditation at the city center every day of the week! Drop in for 30-minute sessions at these times:

  • Sunday: 8:30-9:30am
  • Monday through Friday: 6:30-8:30am
  • Saturday: 7:30-8:30am
  • Tuesdays: 7:30-9:00pm
  • Wednesdays: 11:00am-12:00pm

Upcoming Community Group Meetings
As always, our online calendar is the best way to find the correct times and Zoom links. 

  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, January 13th, 9:00-10:30 AM
  • Refirement Group, Thursday, January 18th, 12:00-2:00 PM
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, next meeting is January 18th, 6:30-8:00 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, First and Third Sundays, next meeting is January 21st, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Be Queer Now: First Wednesdays of the month, next meeting is February 7th, 7:30-9:00 PM
  • 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. 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

Please contact Gabe Keller Flores, at gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities:

  • Bell ringing: For a community member who is interested in being a practice leader at one of the morning in-person silent sits at the city center. We’re looking for someone to fill the Wednesday 6:30-7:30am time slot starting January 31st.
  • Snow Removal: Join the Common Ground snow removal team to help shovel and snowblow to keep the center’s sidewalks clear after snowstorms.
  • Audio Editing: For talks uploaded to dharmaseed. The audio editing is easy to learn, no previous experience required. 1-2 hours per week, or every other.
  • Tree trimming: A community member with skill and experience trimming trees; for a tree at the city center.
Wishlists: If you want to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.


Every Morning, Bring the Dhamma Into Your Life

Every morning when you
wake up, you have to set the
intention, “How am I going to
live today? How will I look after
the mind?” In this way, you clear
a path for bringing the Dham-
ma into your life that day.      

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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