Weekly Email 1-18-22

Dear Friends,

If you’ve ever been to a meditation retreat you know that a retreat is generally not the blissed out experience that popular culture leads us to believe it is. What we learn though by spending anywhere from a few hours to a few or more days being intimate with the heart is that we don’t have to be afraid of what we feel or what we think. All experience is here naturally. We learn to relax with it all and responsibly and lovingly care for ourselves and each other. Life is hard. This practice allows us to develop tremendous courage to be who we are and to be a force of good in the world. Yesterday, I spent some time with a few of the speeches and sermons delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One of his many great gifts was an ability to model being a seeker of the depths of truth and a shepherd of the heart that cares for the sake of all beings. For example, as he preached about loving our enemies, it seemed that he was really trying to understand how. And again, less than 24 hours before he was assassinated, aware of threats on his life, in a powerful extemporaneous offering now regarded as his I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech, Dr. King seemed to seek the depths of courage as he grappled with the possibility of his own death. As I studied his words, I found myself feeling so grateful for his fierce modeling of how to be a student in the most complicated moments, even when the circumstances seem impossible, to seek love, courage, and wise action. This is our charge too. It’s easy to romanticize Dr. King but the truth is that he was a seeker just like us, an imperfect human being, just like us. He kept asking the most of his spiritual practice and he kept showing up for the learning. Perhaps we can do that too.

Shelly Graf

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
    • Rebecca Bradshaw will lead the group on Feb. 2, at an earlier time: 6:30pm. She will teach on “Freeing the Heart.”
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 29th)
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

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.
  • 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.
More info about these Wednesday night programs here.

Upcoming Programs: Online

To access Zoom links for online programs visit our online calendar.
Mindful Self-Compassion Practice Group with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst
Friday, January 21st, 7:00-8:30pmLiving the Practice Workshop: Freedom with Dukkha: Skillfully Applying the Buddha’s Teachings in our Unsatisfactory, Broken World
*Now Online-Only*
with Mark Nunberg, Shelly Graf, and Meski Mebatsion
Saturday, January 22nd, 9:30am-4:00pm
More info and registration here.

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 

  • 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.
  • Tuesday evening bellringer (in-person): 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.


Community News

 Upcoming Community Group Meetings

  • 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.
To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Teen Practice Group Back In Session!
For more info, click here.

Looking for Donations for CG Retreat Center
If anyone has 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
We need to understand the nature of anger, the thought processes that lead to this
upsurge of emotion. Ask questions of yourself: “Why was the mind not angry before,
but now it is? What activity has made the mind angry?” Whatever level of understanding we come to, the anger will
decrease by that same amount.

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