Weekly Email 1-13-22

Dear Friends,

For some time now I’ve been formulating a practice aspiration for each new year. Sometimes it’s been to develop a particular parami – patience and renunciation have loomed large – and sometimes it’s been an intentional phrase such as “Practice making the wiser choice.” In 2020 I quite fortuitously decided on “Make room for not-knowing.” I practiced with that again this past year.

Recently, I had the good fortune of participating in Common Ground’s end-of-year retreat on-line from our Prairie Farm Retreat Center. The aspiration that emerged is “Befriend everything. And then begin again.” The first part grounds me in metta and the sincere wish to benefit all beings. The second reinforces the compassionate heuristic of our mindfulness training: we non-judgmentally accept the inevitable straying of the heart/mind – both on and off the cushion – and then simply, mindfully start over.

Wishing everyone a year of deepening practice,

Patrice Koelsch


Weekly Programs

To view our entire list of programs and to access Zoom links to participate in online programs, please visit the online calendar

Weekly Practice Groups
Led by our Guiding Teachers Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf, these programs provide ongoing instruction and teachings that help illuminate the simple but challenging practice of mindfulness.

  • Sunday mornings, 10:30-11:45am on Zoom with Mark Nunberg (with an option to watch the livestream together in person in the meditation hall)
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in person with Mark Nunberg
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom with Shelly Graf
Community Practice Check-Ins
Every week we offer several opportunities to practice with and ask questions of Common Ground Dharma teachers. It’s also a time to share reflections from your own practice with the group.
  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30pm with Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke, on Zoom
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00pm with Stacy McClendon (Mark Nunberg joining on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month), on Zoom
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am with Shelly Graf, on Zoom
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm with Ramesh Sairam, on Zoom (next meeting January 15th)
Open Meditation
Join fellow community members for meditation practice in person or online, 7 days a week. Visit the calendar for times and details.

Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times a week, both in person and online. Click here for times and details

Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30pm. On Zoom every week except the second Friday of the month, which is hybrid.

Upcoming Programs: In Person/Hybrid at Common Ground

Living the Practice Workshop: Freedom with Dukkha: Skillfully Applying the Buddha’s Teachings in our Unsatisfactory, Broken World
with Mark Nunberg, Shelly Graf, and Meski Mebatsion
Saturday, January 22nd, 9:30am-4:00pm
In Person or on Zoom. More info and registration here.

Daylong Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, January 29th, 9:30am-4:00pm
In Person or on Zoom. More info and registration here.

Half-Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, February 12th, 1:00-5:00pm
In Person or on Zoom. More info and registration here.

Upcoming Programs at Common Ground Retreat Center

Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. Registration is now open for the following programs there.

  • WAITLIST ONLY: Mindful Hatha Yoga Retreat with Nancy Boler
    5:30pm Thursday, January 20th – 2:00pm Sunday, January 23rd
  • Practice Period with Mary Clark & Roger Klisch
    5:30pm Thursday, January 27th – 2:00pm Sunday, January 30th
  • Practice Period with Mary Clark, assisted by Pietro Ferrero
    5:30pm Thursday, February 3rd – 2:00pm Sunday, February 6th
  • Residential/Zoom Retreat with Shelly Graf & Mark Nunberg
    6:15pm Thursday, February 17th – 12:00pm Monday, February 21st
More info and registration for these retreats can be found here.

In addition to these weekend retreats, we also offer public drop-in groups on select Wednesdays at the retreat center, 6:30-7:45pm.

  • First Wednesday of the month: Community Group led by Matthew King and other practice leaders
  • In January 2022 Mark Nunberg will offer a 3-week Introduction to Mindfulness class on January 12th, 19th, and 26th.

Upcoming Programs: Online

To access Zoom links for online programs visit our online calendar.
Interplay with Spruce Krause
Thursday, January 13th, 7:00-8:30pm
InterPlay helps you explore old habit energy and discover new possibilities through movement, sound, words, stillness and connection. 

New Program: MBSR-Based Mindfulness Practice with Nancy Boros
Mondays, 12:00-1:00pm
This mindfulness meditation drop-in is based on the tools offered in the evidence-based curriculum Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). 

Daylong Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, February 26th, 9:30am-4:00pm
More info and registration here.


The Practice of Generosity

Continuing in the tradition of Buddhist monasteries in Southeast Asia, all programs at Common Ground are offered free of charge in the spirit of generosity. This offering is possible because of the generosity of people like you—from the Buddha on down to all the people in our community—who contribute their practice, time, and financial resources to support the continuation of the center.

To learn how to support the center and our teachers, visit this page. Let us know if you have any questions.

Current Volunteer Needs 

  • Tuesday evening bellringer: We’re looking for someone interested in ringing the bell for the evening sit on Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00pm, once or twice a month. Email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if interested.
  • Weekly Sunday Evening Cleaning: Every Sunday evening there is a drop-in Community Cleaning time from 6-7pm, led by community leaders Brad Dupre and Dave Redelman. No RSVP needed.

Community News

 Upcoming Community Group Meetings

  • Community Group for Organizers and Social Justice Activists, Thurs. January 13th, 6:00-7:30pm on Zoom/In Person.
  • Buddhism/Christianity Book Club, Saturday, January 15th, 10:30-11:45am
  • Mindfulness & Depression Community Group, Sunday, January 16th, 4:00-5:30pm Zoom/In Person.
  • Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wed. January 19th, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom.
  • Refirement Community Group for Retirees, Thursday January 20th, 12:00-2:00pm, on Zoom.
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, Thurs. January 20th, 6:30-8:00pm on Zoom/In Person.
  • Every Tuesday, 8:00-9:00am: Tea and Dharma Community Group, In Person.

View public calendar for Zoom links and more information.

Teen Practice Group Back In Session!
The teen practice group had its first meeting of the year last week! For more info, click here.

Looking for Donations for CG Retreat Center
If anyone has a microwave or a loveseat in good condition you’d like to donate to our retreat center, please let us know by replying to this email, thanks!

Weekly Tejaniya
Don’t exert. Just pay attention to
whatever objects are arising in your
awareness—physical sensations, sense
perceptions, thoughts, emotions,
whatever. You will know what
needs to be known.

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