Weekly Email 11-1-22

Dear Common Ground Friends,

Ajahn Sumedho sums up our human predicament with this simple teaching: “Yesterday is memory, tomorrow is unknown, now is the knowing.” Much of our effort in meditation practice is to recognize and stabilize present moment awareness so that it becomes possible to keep in mind what is subtle and liberating. What is it that is here and now, subtle and liberating, but often missed?

In simple terms, there is the knowing and what is known. Because of our habits, the mind reflexively identifies and grasps after the experiences that are being known. There is another possibility. We can train our mind to be more interested that these experiences ARE BEING KNOWN! Notice how peaceful this way of relating to the present moment is. The nature of the knowing mind, not the objects of experience that are being known, but rather the space of the present moment itself can be sensed, appreciated, purified, and released. This is the essential art and science of our meditative training. This way of relating and understanding minimizes self-centered projections, and minimizes any clinging to these projections.

Ajahn Dune, a wise elder from Thai Forest tradition, simplified the practice for his students by encouraging them to, “Watch the mind right at the mind.” When asked what method would give the quickest results? He answered, “Don’t send your mind outside.” In other words, keeping the space of knowing in mind.

Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

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

  • Sunday mornings, 10:30-11:45am in-person and on Zoom with Mark Nunberg
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom with Shelly Graf
Monthly Practice Groups
  • First Fridays, 7-8:30pm on Zoom, Lovingkindness with Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon

Community Practice Check-Ins

  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30pm with Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke, on Zoom
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00pm with Stacy McClendon, on Zoom
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am with Shelly Graf, on Zoom
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm with Ramesh Sairam, on Zoom
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.
In-person and on Zoom
Visit the calendar for Zoom link

Youth Programs

  • Children’s Program: From October – December, the Children’s Program will run on the 1st and 3rd Sundays, 10:30 – 11:45am. The program is for kindergarteners – 3rd graders. If your child is preschool age, you are welcome to join the group but a parent will need to stay with the child.
  • Teen Program: The teen group will be meet 10:30 – 11:30am on 11/13, 11/27 and 12/11. You can join the Common Ground teen listserv by emailing Robin: robin@commongroundmeditation.org.


Upcoming Programs: Online Only

To see full list of programs and access Zoom links for online programs visit our calendar.

MBSR-Based Mindfulness Practice with Nancy Boros
Mondays, 12:00 -1:00pm

InterPlay with Spruce Krause
Thursday, November 10th | 7:00 -8:30pm

Mindful Self-Compassion Practice Group with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst
Friday, November 18th | 7:00 -8:30pm

Upcoming Programs: In Person/Hybrid at Common Ground
To see full list of programs visit our calendar

Untangling Karma; Intimate Zen Stories on Healing Trauma
A Book Launch with Judith Ragir

November 6th | 2:00 – 3:30pm
No registration necessary

Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, November 12th | 9:00am – 1:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Living with Chronic Illness: A Workshop with Ramesh Sairam
Saturday, November 12th | 2:00pm – 5:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Reflections and Poems on Aging, Living, Humor, and the Wisdom of Letting Go
Poems by community member Alice Vollmar
Sunday, November 13th | 4:30 – 5:30pm
In-person only
No registration necessary

Daylong Retreat with Patrice Koelsch
November 26th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In-person only
Register here

Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, December 3rd | 1:00pm – 5:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Upcoming In-Person/Hybrid Programs at our Retreat Center
Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. More information and registration for the following programs can be found here


Fall Retreat with Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf, Assisted by Gabe Keller Flores
Thursday evening, November 3rd – mid-day Sunday, November 6th
Only Zoom spots open

Year End Retreat with Shelly Graf & Mark Nunberg
Monday evening, December 26th – mid-day Saturday, December 31st
In-person at Common Ground in Minneapolis and on Zoom.
Practice Periods:

Practice Period with Robin Major & Pietro Ferrero
5:00pm Thursday, December 15th – 2:00pm Sunday, December 18th

For more upcoming Practice Periods, click here.

In addition to these weekend retreats, we also offer public drop-in groups on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month at the retreat center, 6:30-7:45pm. The groups are led by dharma teachers and community leaders. More info about these Wednesday night programs 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 
Please contact Robin Major at robin@commongroundmeditation.org if you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities:

  • Adopt a Cleaning Task for the Common Ground building! Our meditation home is welcoming more traffic these days. If it would feel good for you to pick up a work task and give to the community in this way, please let Robin know a specific time you would like to come in and we can identify a weekly 15 minute cleaning task for you to do.
  • Wishlist items: coffee grinder for the retreat center, large pot (for over 20 servings), one bookshelf, large high quality wool rugs for the dharma hall at the retreat center, nice large ceramic plant pots for the retreat center.

Community News 

Upcoming Community Group Meetings:

  • Be Queer Now, weekly on Wednesday, 7:30-9:00pm
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, Thursday November 3rd, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Book Study: Untangling Trauma, Intimate Zen Stories, Sunday, November 6th 2:00 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, November 6th, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Community Group for Organizers & Social Justice Activists, Thursday November 10th, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Buddhism & Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, November 12th, 9:00 – 10:15am
  • Retirement Community Group for Retirees, Thursday November 17th, 12:00-2:00pm

View public calendar for Zoom links and more information.
To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Weekly Tejaniya

Observe Confusion If You Are Confused
Sometimes my mind feels confused
and I don’t know what to do.

If you try to think of solutions when
in a confused state of mind, you will only
get confused answers. Don’t try to do any-
thing, don’t even try to meditate. Just
observe the confusion.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

The first snowfall in the woods at Common Ground Retreat Center earlier this fall

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