Weekly Email 11/6/20

Dear Common Ground Friends,

This week might feel especially intense given all that is in motion and all that is unresolved. Living a wise and compassionate life demands that we find ways to self soothe and calm the body and mind – this is why we do our best to be devoted to our meditation practice, especially the skill to be able to drop worldly concerns, even during intense times! Being able to touch into the healing calm of ‘putting it all down’ is what helps us to lean into skillful action as we do our best to respond appropriately to what the moment is asking of us. Skillful action in the world is made especially challenging because we never have perfect clarity, instead we are always acting in a changing sea of causes and conditions. At every turn we find that things are ambiguous, even if we imagine that we are certain. The Buddha’s teachings and our lived experience teach us to take refuge in the wholesomeness of our intention to care and alleviate suffering. We also learn the necessity of humility and sensitivity so we can sense and learn from the impact and limitations of our actions.

Some of you might feel moved to express your concern for the health and well-being of our wider community. Shelly and I have helped create an inter-sangha action committee composed of leaders from several Buddhist centers in town to let us know when there are social actions that might be appropriate for our wider Buddhist community to participate in, so we can express our solidarity with all those interested in nonviolent action in the service of justice. This might seem impossible in these political times, but we shouldn’t let the current divisiveness keep us from expressing our shared and universal values of justice and respect for all beings. Such action can be a powerful antidote for despair and cynicism. We will periodically be letting the Common Ground community know about these events and how to connect with others folks from Buddhist centers who will be attending. Click here to learn about the first of these recommended actions.


Mark Nunberg
Guiding Teacher

P.S. The Sunday morning Weekly Practice Group will be offered over Zoom going forward, instead of Youtube. See below for more info.


Upcoming Program Highlights

PATRICE KOELSCH will lead the weekly Lovingkindness Practice Group this Friday. Zoom link here.

Please note that Dharma Reflections with RAMESH SAIRAM is cancelled this Saturday.

On Sunday, MARK NUNBERG will lead the Sunday morning Weekly Practice Group over Zoom instead of Youtube. 10:30-11:45am. We will be offering the program over Zoom going forward. The talks will still be recorded and posted to Youtube afterwards. Here is the Zoom link for this week and going forward.

From 4:00-6:00pm there will be a Zoom meeting called Twin Cities Buddhist Response to Election Unrest. Join other members of Twin Cities Buddhist communities to continue the discussion of our on-going non-violent response to post-election events and to support our shared commitment to non-harming. All are welcome. Zoom link here.

Next Tuesday, 7:00-8:30pm, JASON SOLE, a criminal justice educator and past president of the Minneapolis NAACP will be leading a program entitled Actions Speak Louder Than Words: How Do You Bring Your Values to the Work of Racial Justice? More info and registration here.

Next Saturday, we will host our next Living the Practice Workshop: Othering and Belonging with MARK NUNBERG, SHELLY GRAF, SCOTTIE HALL, STACY MCCLENDON, and CECILIA RAMON, from 9:30am-4:00pm over Zoom. More info and registration here.

Remember that every day of the week there are opportunities for Open Meditation led by teachers or other community members. Monday-Saturday from 6:30-7:15am, Sunday from 9:00-9:45am, Monday-Friday from 7:30-8:30am, Tuesday from 9:15-9:45pm, and Thursday from 8:30-9:00am. More info and Zoom links in our online calendar.

Please note that all times listed are in Central time. For complete, up-to-date program information, visit the online calendar. We recommend you bookmark it for easy access during the week. You might also want to bookmark our Youtube channel. 

The Practice of Generosity

Continuing in the tradition of Buddhist monasteries in Southeast Asia, all programs at Common Ground, including these online programs, 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.


Preparing Meals for Retreatants at Prairie Farm

One way you can offer support is by preparing a meal for retreatants at Prairie Farm. Mark Nunberg will be on retreat at Prairie Farm for the second half of November and most of December and will be training in other practice leaders during his stay. If you’re interested in preparing and freezing a meal, let info@commongroundmeditation.org know. You can view possible recipes here.

Community News 

Community Group for Friends of People with Mental Illness
The Support Group for Friends of People with Mental Illness will be meeting again over Zoom this Sunday, November 8th, 1:00-2:30pm. This is a friendship/support group for people who have a loved one with mental illness, to provide listening, support, practical resources and reflections on our experiences in light of the dharma.  Facilitated by Jean Fagerstrom and Carolyn Lancaster. Zoom link here. For more info text Jean: 612-423-2926

Dharma Friends Community Group Meets Sunday Evening
Join this new peer led community group, facilitated by Danielle Sewell, Gabe Keller Flores, and Megan Brandeland. Our evening will start with a guided meditation, followed by a dharma discussion. Come as you are: peaceful, anxious, angry, equanimous. We’ll reflect together on dharma themes and how they pertain to our lived experience. We hope this will be a supportive community that we’ll co-create together, to reconnect with the medicine of wisdom and compassion. Every two weeks on Sunday evening, 7:00-8:00pm central time. All are welcome. Zoom link here.

Community Love Letter to Minneapolis & America Video
Recently a group of community members wrote a love letter to Minneapolis & America. You can watch a video of some of the authors reading the letter here and read the letter on our blog here.

Poem From Community Member Reflecting on Prairie Farm
Click here to read a sweet poem written by a community member, Kyle, after his recent stay at Prairie Farm.

Community Survey Still Open for Participation
Thank you to everyone who filled out the community survey we sent out recently. You can still fill it out if you haven’t already, here.

Weekly Tejaniya
Instead of dwelling on fear and worrying
thoughts, the most important thing to ask your-
self is: “What can I do right now?” There is no
point in thinking about certain things. What can
you do now? One thing you can practice right now
is keeping your mind in a happy state. Deal with
what’s happening on a case-by-case basis. Keep
your mind in the best possible state.

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