Weekly Email 11-16-22

Dear Common Ground Friends,

The Buddha taught that, “One gives gifts to adorn and beautify the mind.” Imagine the quality of our hearts and our world if we spent our days adorning each moment with compassionate acts done with the wisdom of non-attachment. Common Ground Meditation Center is dedicated to the teachings and practices that support this wholesome aspiration. 2023 will be our 30th anniversary. It is inspiring to reflect on the countless acts of generosity that have created and sustained our Buddhist meditation community all these years. More importantly, it is helpful to directly sense how protecting and liberating it has been to align with these teachings and spiritual practices in our own lives. We best assess the value of our center and what we have been practicing together by recognizing how our hearts/lives have been positively changed. We honestly ask, am I more often able to engage life with wisdom and kindness? Do I more often recognize and trust a stability of present moment awareness that is deep, wide, balanced and non judging? These are the wholesome fruits of our practice.

On behalf of Common Ground’s staff, Board of Directors, teachers, leaders and our entire community; Shelly and I would like to offer our deep gratitude for all the gifts of love, dedicated practice, and financial support that sustains all that we do together. May this beloved community of practitioners continue to find our way with humility and dedicated practice. And may the healing and releasing of our hearts continue, increase and never end. May this deep work we do together support the healing of our suffering hearts and world.

From Left to Right: Robin Major, Nancy Boler, Mark Nunberg, Shelly Graf

Introducing Common Ground’s wonderful (new) staff team. Longtime Dharma teacher, board member, bookkeeper, and all around Dharma Gem, Gail Iverson will be retiring at the end of the year. The center has hired Common Ground’s longtime yoga teacher, Nancy Boler to replace Gail as the center’s bookkeeper. As most of you already know, Robin Major was hired last February to replace Gabe Keller Flores as the center’s office manager. Speaking for all of us in the middle of the Common Ground Community, we are deeply grateful for the wisdom and generosity of all those who contribute to making this center/community what it is through all the uncertainty and change.

Common Ground’s Guiding Teachers
Shelly Graf and Mark Nunberg

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
    • November 20th with Shelly Graf
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
    • November 20th with Jean Haley
  • 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
  • Beginning Wednesday, November 30th, Shelly Graf will be leading an in-person Practice Check-In from 8:30am – 9:30am
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 11/27 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

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

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

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

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

Community Practice Intensive with Shelly Graf & Sarah Wilson
Three Mondays: November 28th, December 5th, and December 12th from 7:00pm – 8:30pm, ending with a daylong retreat on December 17th.
In-person and on Zoom
More info and registration here

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

Guest Teacher Talk with Ben Connelly: Imagination, Interdependence, and Liberation
Thursday, December 8th | 7:00 – 9:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
No registration necessary

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


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:

  • Snowblowing and Shoveling: ‘Tis snow season! If you would like to help Ollie and Rob keep the sidewalks and parking lot clear, please contact Ollie at: ostocker1@gmail.com. Ollie and Rob will be happy to train you in with the snowblower if you have not used one before.
  • YouTube Volunteer: We are looking for a volunteer to help our yoga teacher Nancy Boler upload livestream thumbnails to our YouTube page. This task is easy to learn and takes about 15 minutes every couple weeks.
  • 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 15-45 minute cleaning task for you to do.
  • Website Volunteer: We are hoping to re-do our website in the coming months. If you have experience building websites and are interested in helping with this, please write an email of interest to Robin.

Community News 

Community Potluck!
Our next Community Potluck will be on Sunday, December 18th from 12:00 – 1:30pm. If you’d like to help out during the event, you can sign up for a volunteer slot here.

Calendar Page Captchas
If you have been experiencing difficulty opening the calendar page, you are not alone! We are working to update our calendar page and hopefully will have it fixed soon. Accessing the calendar through Google Chrome, or another non-Safari platform, works best.

Upcoming Community Group Meetings
View public calendar for Zoom links and more information.

  • Be Queer Now, weekly on Wednesday, 7:30-9:00pm
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, Thursday November 17th, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Mindfulness Recovery, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps  Friday, November 18th, 7:00 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, November 20th, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Millennials Sangha, Friday, November 25th, 7:00 PM
  • Community Group for Organizers & Social Justice Activists, Thursday December 8th, 6:00-7:30pm

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

Weekly Tejaniya

A Story of Meditative vs Ordinary Awareness

Once, a yogi told me that he noticed a
car passing by. Was that meditative aware-
ness? No! Everybody also knows that. So what
then is meditative awareness? A meditator would
know that “seeing is happening at the eye sense
door,” and that “hearing is happening at the ear
sense door.” When you know what’s happening
at the sense doors, that’s meditative awareness.
Knowing only the concept isn’t meditative,
and “a car passing by” is a concept.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.