Weekly Email 10-5-21
Dear Common Ground Friends,
Being steadfast with what our own experience has taught us is beneficial is the cause for real peace and happiness. Each of us has to learn how to plant and cultivate seeds of peace and happiness; no one can do this work for us. It is easy to dismiss the daily ritual of sitting meditation because it can be so challenging, and during the dry spells it can leave us with the strong sense that nothing of value is happening. There is nothing magical about putting aside 20-60 minutes for this daily ritual, but it stands as the necessary and obvious counterweight to the mind’s stressful and seductive habits of endless mental proliferation. There is truly no end to the mind’s capacity for mental proliferation. We spend our days worrying, fantasizing, imagining becoming someone or doing something, remembering the past, and on and on. We can even obsess about how much we are obsessing. Built into this proliferation is the promise that once I think this through, plan this out, analyze or speculate enough, there will be a resolution and the mind will finally get to put it all down; then I will be peaceful! Of course that never happens. Instead, the habit-bound mind, once again, does some version of what it has done before, getting similar results.
Out of compassion for this life and our world, we sit down every day and we train the mind to be present with the wild and often neurotic swirl of bodily and mental activities, without judgment. We are not directly trying to get rid of the mess, but rather, from a place of humility, we desire to better understand the nature of these incessant loops of thought and the bodily tensions that thoughts create. We learn to persist no matter what comes and goes in the field of experience; any experience is simply the next thing being known, being felt: “It is like this now, can this be OK?” We learn to commit to this meditative process, because it illuminates what is necessary to see. In this way, wisdom grows slowly, the heart becomes more tender and sensitive, and gradually the mind releases its self-imposed grip and weight.
Wishing Everyone Steady Practice,
Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground
Silent Open Meditation
Sundays 8:30-9:30am, &
Tuesdays from 7:30-9:00pm
more info here
- In Person: Community Tea and Dharma with Mark Nunberg, 8:00-9:00am. (every Tuesday)
Sunday, October 10th
- 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.
- Fall City Center Building Cleaning and Maintenance Day, 9:00am-1:00pm. More info and RSVP here.
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, assisted by Pietro Ferrero
Thursday evening, October 7th – October 10th
- We are having an Open house for the local community surrounding Common Ground’s retreat property in Wisconsin. If you have been involved with the Retreat Property in the past and would like to volunteer to prepare food or be a greeter on Saturday, October 23rd, 11:30 – 2 p.m. let email@example.com.
- October Zoom/In-Person Retreat with Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf
Thursday, October 28th – Sunday, October 31st; lottery will run Wednesday, October 6th
Upcoming Programs: Online
Tuesday, October 5th
- 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.
- Yoga cancelled today.
Wednesday, October 6th
- 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.
- Shelly Graf will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In; this meeting and every other will explore racism through an inquiry into whiteness and domination. All are welcome. 9:00am-10:00am on Zoom.
- Yoga cancelled today.
- 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.
- Mark Nunberg and Cecilia Ramon will lead a Daylong Retreat on Zoom: Cultivating a Wise and Kind Resilience, 9:30am-4:00pm. More info and registration here.
- Ramesh Sairam will lead the Dharma Practice Reflections, an opportunity to explore the practical implications of following the path of dhamma, 10:30am-12:00pm on Zoom.
- 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.
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 Dave Redelman and Brad Dupre. Upcoming dates: Oct 17th
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 Groups Happening This Week
- Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wed. Oct 6th. On Zoom, 7:30-9:00pm.
- BIPOC Community Group, Thurs. Oct 7th. On Zoom, 6:30-8:00pm.
- Dharma Friends Sit & Discussion, Sun. Oct 10th. On Zoom, 7:00-8:00pm.
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.
Most yogis make the mistake
of expecting good experiences in-
stead of trying to work with craving,
aversion and delusion. Once you are
able to handle these three unwhole-
some roots, good experiences
will naturally follow.
Trish Daniels and Christi Johnson’s marriage on Saturday Oct. 2. Trish is a long time CG program host and leader. Joined by Mark and Wynn!