Weekly Email 11-22-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

An important turning point on the path of awakening is a change in allegiance from a dependence on conceptual thinking to a deepening trust in intuitive awareness that simply reflects the way things are. Conceptual thinking usually discriminates and divides experience into good and bad, me and you, this and that. It attempts to construct meaning in ways that provide certainty, pleasure and safety, but instead, it most often confines and limits the mind.  Intuitive awareness opens and includes without judgment. It understands intuitively, “This is how it is now.” It is not attempting to organize or explain experience in any way. It is simple, refreshing, and illuminating. Intuitive awareness is capable of knowing confusion or any disturbing mindstate without defensiveness, humiliation, rationalization, or denial.

The great gift of this way of relating is its capacity to transform afflictive patterns of mind into objects of awareness being felt and known. Intuitive awareness arises out of wisdom that recognizes that any experience is simply that experience being known here and now. The simple acknowledgement, “This is how it is now” can cut through layers of identification and entanglement. Through all the twists and turns of our lives, intuitive awareness always remains a simple and powerful potential. It requires that we remember it, and clearly recognize it, but needs no protection. It has the distinct flavor of freedom. May the transforming power of intuitive awareness be a cause for peace in our hearts and in our world.


Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

The Practice of Generosity

Programs with our Co-Guiding Teachers
Visiting our online calendar is the best way to find the correct times and Zoom links. 

The Sure Heart’s Release
Year End Retreat with Wynn Fricke, Mark Nunberg, and Shelly Graf

Tuesday, Dec 26 – Sunday, Dec 31| In-person at the city center, retreat center, and on Zoom | Register here


New Year’s Celebration & Potluck!
With Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf
Music with Ellis Delaney and Gabe Keller Flores
No registration required
See the calendar page for more info

With Mark Nunberg

Weekly Practice Groups with Mark
Sundays, 10:30-11:45 AM, in-person, on Zoom, and live-streamed to YouTube

  • November 26 – Mark will be livestreamed into the dharma hall. He is away teaching at the Forest Refuge in Barre, MA. You can join via Zoom or YouTube through our calendar page if you’d like to participate from home.
Sundays, 7:00-8:30 PM, in-person only
  • November 26 with Ramesh Sairam

Buddhist Studies: Dependent Co-Arising with Mark Nunberg
Eight Mondays, January 8th – February 26, 7:30 – 9:00 PM
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Mark Nunberg
Six Tuesdays: January 9 – February 13, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Lovingkindness Practice Group
First Fridays, 7:00-8:30 PM with Stacy McClendon, in-person and on ZoomCommunity Practice Check-ins
Sundays, 4:30-5:30 PM, on Zoom with Wynn Fricke, Zoom only
Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM, on Zoom with Stacy McClendon, Zoom only, Mark joins on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.

With Shelly Graf

Weekly Practice Group with Shelly
Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 PM, in-person and on Zoom

  • November 29 with Gabe Keller Flores
  • December 6 with Jean Haley

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Shelly Graf

  • Half-Day: Saturday, December 9 | 9:00 AM- 1:00 PM | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
  • Half-Day: Saturday, January 6 | 1:00 – 5:00 PM | In-person and on Zoom | Register here

Community Practice Intensive with Shelly Graf & Sarah Wilson
Three Mondays: December 4 – 18 | 7:00 – 8:30 PM | In-person and on Zoom
Ending with a Daylong Retreat on Saturday, December 23
Register here

Upcoming Teacher-Led Programs

Living with Chronic Illness with Ramesh Sairam
Sunday, December 3 | 1:00pm – 4:00pm
On Zoom only
Register here

Ongoing Teacher-Led Programs
As always, our online calendar is the best way to find the correct times and Zoom links. 

Open Meditation
Check our online calendar for times and details. There are many opportunities for silent meditation, 7 days a week, in-person and on Zoom.

Monthly Practice Groups
  • First Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 PM, Developing the Art of Spiritual Inquiry with Ramesh Sairam. On Zoom only.
  • Mindfulness Self-Compassion with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst. The next session is Friday, December 15.
Community Practice Check-Ins
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, on Zoom with Ramesh Sairam
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM, on Zoom with Stacy McClendon, on Zoom, joined by Mark Nunberg on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.
Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times weekly, both in person and online.
Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30 PM.
In-person and on Zoom
Youth Programs 
View the calendar page for more info
  • Children’s Program: Kindergarten- 3rd grade, every other Sunday 10:30-11:45 AM
  • Preteen Program: 4th grade- 7th grade, every other Sunday 10:30-11:45 AM
  • Teen Practice Group: Many Sundays 10:30-11:30 AM. See the calendar page for the schedule.

Programs at Our Retreat Center
Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis.

CLICK HERE for more info and registration for retreat center programs. We have many upcoming practice periods and retreats. 

Volunteer Opportunities

Please contact Robin Major, at robin@commongroundmeditation.org if you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities:

  • Snow Removal: Join the Common Ground snow removal team to help shovel and snowblow to keep the center’s sidewalks clear after snowstorms.
  • Audio Editing: For talks uploaded to dharmaseed. The audio editing is easy to learn, no previous experience required. 1-2 hours per week, or every other.
  • Graphic design: One or two graphic designers to support the buildout for a new website. Experience with mobile-friendly graphic design preferred.
  • Bell ringing: For a community member who is interested in training to be a practice leader at one of the morning in-person silent sits.
  • Tree trimming: A community member with skill and experience trimming trees; for a tree at the city center.
Wishlists: If you want to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.

Community News 

Young Adult Community Group
There is interest in a monthly young adult community group at the center. If you consider yourself a young adult and are interested in helping to initiate this community group, we are looking for folks who have residential retreat experience with Insight Meditation and have been around Common Ground Meditation Center for a few years. If this is you please let Robin Major, robin@commongroundmeditation.org, know. We are aiming to start the group in January of 2024. You can also let us know if you just want to be on the email list for this young adult group.

Upcoming Community Group Meetings
To view a complete list of our regular program offerings, visit our upcoming programs page on our website. As always, our online calendar is the best way to find the correct times and Zoom links. 

  • Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, Sunday, November 26th, 1:30-3:00 PM
  • Be Queer Now: First Wednesdays of the month, next meeting is December 6th, 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, next meeting is December 7th, 6:30-8:00 PM
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, December 9th, 9:00-10:30 AM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, December 17th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Refirement Group, Thursday, December 21st, 12:00-2:00 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

The Buddha Gave Us Wonderful Guidelines

The Buddha in his wisdom gave
us wonderful guidelines to purify
the mind. But that is all they are—
guidelines. The experiences you
have within those guidelines will
be unique to you and the way
in which you practice.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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