Weekly Email 10-20-21

Dear Common Ground Friends,

There is a gigantic oak tree right outside my window where I work these days. As I look beyond it into the skyscape, shades of yellow, green, and orange abound. Change is imminent and all around us, as this time of year so beautifully illustrates. The beauty itself is an important teacher.  The heart softens, and with appreciation in the face of beauty, is more capable of taking in that which can be harder to accept. For example, one of the beautiful things about evening is that we can surrender to it. The pleasant warmth in the Minneapolis evening air these last few days has made surrendering to the night a bit more smooth. Let us all remember our intentions to be awake to these ordinary moments that help us live in a more fearless way.

With Gratitude,

Shelly Graf

Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground

Silent Open Meditation
Monday-Saturday, 7:30-8:30am,
Sundays 8:30-9:30am,
Tuesdays from 7:30-9:00pm, &
*starting this Wednesday, October 20th*:
Wednesdays, 11:00am-12:00pm

Tuesday, October 19th
  • In Person: Community Tea and Dharma with Mark Nunberg, 8:00-9:00am.

Sunday, October 24th

  • Livestream of Weekly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg, 10:30-11:45am. The meditation hall is open on Sunday mornings for community members to gather to watch the Weekly Practice Group livestream together on a screen. There will be a program host there to facilitate conversation for those who wish to stay afterwards. Mark will be teaching online from the office.
  • In-Person Weekly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg, 7:00-8:30pm.

Upcoming Programs In Person at Common Ground’s Retreat Center at Prairie Farm

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 Matthew King and Evelyn Kaiser
    Thursday evening, December 2nd – Sunday mid-day December 5th. Registration here.
  • Practice Period with Matthew King and Tracey Ghilardi
    Thursday evening, December 16th – Sunday mid-day December 19th. Registration here.
More info and registration for these programs can be found here. Please note that we are currently requiring vaccination and masking for programs at the retreat property.

Upcoming Programs: Online

Tuesday, October 19th

  • Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon will lead the Community Practice Check-In, please join in for a guided meditation and Community conversation and Q&A about our practice, 12:00-1:00pm on Zoom.

Wednesday, October 20th

  • Shelly Graf will lead the Weekly Practice Group, a cornerstone for one’s practice by providing ongoing instruction and teachings that will help illuminate the simple but challenging practice of mindfulness, 7:30pm-9:00pm on Zoom.
Friday, October 22nd
  • Shelly Graf will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. Today’s meeting will explore racism through an inquiry into whiteness and domination, all are welcome. 9:00-10:00am on Zoom.
  • Stacy McClendon will lead the Lovingkindness Practice Group for anyone interested in developing the heart by training in the four beautiful emotions of lovingkindness (metta), compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity, 7:00pm-8:30pm on Zoom.
  • The Mindfulness and Recovery Weekly Practice Group meets every Friday from 7:00-8:30pm. This drop-in group is for those seeking spiritual development by practicing the principles of the Twelve Steps and the Buddha’s teachings in everyday life. Led by various teachers.
Saturday, October 23rd
  • Ramesh Sairam will lead the Dharma Practice Reflections, a biweekly practice and reflection group to explore the practical implications of following the path of dhamma, 10:30am-12:00pm on Zoom.
Sunday, October 24th
  • Mark Nunberg will lead the Weekly Practice Group, 10:30-11:45am on Zoom and Youtube.
  • Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke will lead the Weekly Community Practice Check-In; join in for a guided meditation and Community conversation and Q&A about our practice. Everyone is welcome. 4:30-5:30pm on Zoom.
Inner Self-Compassion Course with Jean Haley & Jane Rauenhorst
  • 6 Tuesdays, 1:00-3:00pm, Nov 2-Dec 7, plus a half-day retreat on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 1-3:30. This course will be offered over Zoom. More info and registration here.
Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf
  • Saturday, November 6th, 9:00am-1:00pm. More info and registration here.

Mindfulness and Physical Pain Workshop with Ramesh Sairam

  • Saturday, November 6th, 1:00-4:00pm. More info and registration here.
These are program highlights. To see a complete list of all our programs and access Zoom links to participate, please visit the online calendar. Also, please note all times listed are in central time.

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

  • Biweekly Sunday Evening Cleaning: Every other Sunday evening there is drop-in Community Cleaning time from 6-7pm, led by community leader Brad Dupre. Upcoming dates: Oct 31st
  • Cooking for Practice Periods at Prairie Farm: There is a tradition in Buddhism of supporting people doing intensive retreat practice. We are always looking for volunteers interested in cooking and freezing meals ahead of time for retreatants at Prairie Farm. You can see a list of recipes here. Common Ground has pots and tupperware you can borrow for cooking and freezing. Contact retreatproperty@commongroundmeditation.org if you wish to offer a meal. Or to donate in support of groceries for the retreatants, you can designate a gift for “Prairie Farm” here.


Community News

   Community Groups Happening This Week

  • Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wed. Oct 20th. On Zoom, 7:30-9:00pm.
  • Refirement Community Group, Thurs. Oct 21st. On Zoom, 12:00-2:00pm.
  • BIPOC Community Group, Thurs. Oct 21st. In Person, 6:30-8:00pm.
  • Common Ground Book Club, Sun. Oct 24th. On Zoom, 8:45-10:15am.
  • Buddhism & Christianity Book Club, Sun. Oct 24th. On Zoom, 9:00-10:15am.

Heartfelt Gratitude from Jeffrey Swainhart, longtime Building Committee leader
Jeffrey writes: “Thanks to everyone who helped on last week’s Work Day. We got a lot done thanks to all of you.” Read more on the blog here.

Open Staff Positions at Insight Meditation Society
Our grandmother institution IMS is hiring for various positions ahead of their in-person reopening this fall. Read more here.

Aloka Vihara’s Kathina-Almsgiving Celebration
Aloka Vihara is a monastery for Buddhist nuns in California where former community member Niyyanika Bhikkhuni is a resident. They are having their annual Kathina or Almsgiving Celebration online on Saturday, October 30th. Learn more here.

Invitation to Braver Angels: Bridge-Building Across Political Difference
Charlie Birge, a CG community member, describes in this blog post his work with Braver Angels and invites other CG community members to join him. He writes: “Braver Angels workshops invite both sides of political conflicts to attempt to understand the underlying values and concerns of their opposites.” Read more on the blog here.

Weekly Tejaniya
Nobody outside of this mind can
upset it, make it angry, averse, afraid,
happy, joyful or grateful. Nobody out-
side of the mind triggers it. The mind
is responsible for its own feelings,
gladness and suffering.

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