Weekly Email 11-9-22

Dear Common Ground Friends,

I’ve had a quote from Ajahn Chah hanging in my office for a couple of months now. He simply states, “What is Dharma? Nothing isn’t”. I find it a good reminder, every time I turn my head to the left, to make every part of my life, dharma practice. Whether I’m writing emails, making lists, organizing, checking my voicemail, there isn’t a better moment to practice living with a kind and generous heart free of clinging. In fact all of the ordinary relational moments like parenting, friending, partnering, or otherwise engaging are opportunities to learn the art of living with a kind and generous heart free of clinging. Throughout an intense election cycle, we may have noticed the mind will call this an impossible moment to practice with. But the Buddha was clear. Everything is workable. Every moment can be our teacher in and of itself.  So what can we learn right now?

Every December, Common Ground hosts a Community Practice Intensive, a 3-week period of time in which we decide to make our lives our practice. We commit to showing up as fully as we can for all of our daily life activities and we commit to increasing our sitting and movement practice as well. I’m grateful to be leading this year’s Practice Intensive with Sarah Wilson. Every year, I participate in the Practice Intensive and every year given the busyness of the time of year, it seems like a tall order to increase my commitment to practice. Yet every year I learn, meet, and adjust to the changing conditions of life with a kind and generous heart free from clinging. I hope you’ll consider joining Sarah and me on this journey. See below for how to register.

Warm Wishes,
Shelly Graf
Co-Guiding Teacher

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

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
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

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
Saturday, 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

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:

  • 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.
  • Wishlist items: 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.
  • 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 

Upcoming Community Group Meetings:

  • Be Queer Now, weekly on Wednesday, 7:30-9:00pm
  • 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
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, Thursday November 17th, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, November 20th, 4:00-5:30pm

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

Weekly Tejaniya

The Mind Needs to Be Directed
The mind needs to be directed.
For example, if there is anger
and you decide to investigate this
emotion, you are setting the mind
in the right direction. If, however,
you decide to try to get rid of
the anger, you are directing
the mind wrongly.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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