Weekly Email 12/14/21

Dear Common Ground Friends,

This Sunday afternoon we are holding a community Zoom gathering to honor and celebrate Shelly Graf’s hiring as Co-Guiding Teacher of Common Ground. This marks the most important evolution in Common Ground’s 28-year history and a benchmark in the development of the Insight Meditation movement in the U.S. We will gather to mark this occasion and express our gratitude and encouragement to Shelly as they step into this new role. We will hear from many of Shelly’s mentors and colleagues, including Kamala Masters, Steve Armstrong, and Rebecca Bradshaw. Shelly and Mark will do their best to answer questions about how things at Common Ground might unfold going forward. (If you want to submit a question, email it to gabe@commongroundmeditation.org. Mark and Shelly will choose a few to answer.) And we’ll have time for community members to offer their good wishes to Shelly. We hope all members of our community who can will join in to celebrate and honor this significant evolution in leadership.

Community Gathering to Celebrate Shelly Graf’s Hiring as Co-Guiding Teacher
Sunday, December 19th, 1:00-2:30pm
Visit our online calendar for the Zoom link

See you there!

Mark Nunberg & Gabe Keller Flores

Weekly Programs

As a reminder, vaccination, masking, and social distancing are required for in-person programs.
To access Zoom links to participate in online programs, please visit the online calendar.

Weekly Practice Groups
These programs, led by our Guiding Teachers Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf, are a cornerstone for one’s practice by providing ongoing instruction and teachings that help illuminate the simple but challenging practice of mindfulness. Meeting times:

  • Sunday mornings, 10:30-11:45am on Zoom with Mark Nunberg (with an option to watch the livestream together in person in the meditation hall)
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in person, usually with Mark Nunberg, but for the month of December we’re lucky to be joined by these wonderful teachers:
December 19th: Jean Haley (teaching remotely to an in-person audience)
December 26th: Cancelled for Year-End Retreat
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom with Shelly Graf
Community Practice Check-Ins
Every week we offer several opportunities to practice with and ask questions of Common Ground Dharma teachers. It’s also a time to share reflections from your own practice with the group.
  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30pm with Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke, on Zoom
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00pm with Stacy McClendon and Mark Nunberg, on Zoom (Mark away until January)
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am with Shelly Graf, on Zoom
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm with Ramesh Sairam, on Zoom (next meeting Dec. 18th)
Open Meditation
Join fellow community members for meditation practice in person or online, 7 days a week. Visit the calendar for times and details.
Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
This ongoing program is for those seeking spiritual development by practicing the principles of the Twelve Steps and the Buddha’s teachings in everyday life. Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30pm. On Zoom every week except the second Friday of the month, which is hybrid.

Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times a week, both in person and online. Click here for times and details.

Upcoming Programs: In Person/Hybrid at Common Ground

New Year’s Day Yoga with Nancy Boler

Saturday, January 1st, 10:30am-1:00pm
In person and on Zoom. More info and registration here.
Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course with Mark Nunberg
6 Tuesdays, January 11th – February 15th, 7:30-9:00pm.
In person and on Zoom. More info and registration here.

Living the Practice Workshop: Freedom with Dukkha: Skillfully Applying the Buddha’s Teachings in our Unsatisfactory, Broken World
with Mark Nunberg, Shelly Graf, and Meski Mebatsion
Saturday, January 22nd, 9:30am-4:00pm
In Person or on Zoom. More info and registration here.

Upcoming Programs at Common Ground Retreat Center

Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. Registration is now open for the following programs there.

  • Practice Period with Joan Ursa Borchert & Robb Reed
    5:30pm Thursday, January 6th – 2:00pm Sunday, January 9th. Registration here.
  • Practice Period with Danielle Sewell & Matthew King
    5:30pm Thursday, January 13th – 2:00pm Sunday, January 16th. Registration here.
More info and registration for these programs can be found here.

Upcoming Programs: Online

Community Gathering to Celebrate Shelly Graf’s Hiring as Co-Guiding Teacher
Sunday, December 19th, 1:00-2:30pm

New Year’s Eve Celebration
Meditation, reflections, music, and more!
Friday, December 31st, 7:00-9:00pm

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 

  • In-Person Program Host: We’re looking for someone who’s been attending programs at the center for at least a year, ideally someone with residential retreat experience, to serve as an in-person program host one Sunday evening a month.
  • Snowblowing Team: We’re still looking for a few more snow removal volunteers!  The way we do it is you sign up for times when you’re on call to respond if there’s a snowfall. We need both shovelers and people to operate the snowblower. Snowblowing training provided :)
  • Tuesday evening bellringer: We’re looking for someone interested in ringing the bell for the evening sit on Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00pm, once or twice a month.
  • Flower arrangers: Do you like flowers? We are looking for a couple flower-arranging volunteers at Common Ground. Training provided!
Email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if interested in one of these volunteer positions.
  • Weekly Sunday Evening Cleaning: Every Sunday evening there is a drop-in Community Cleaning time from 6-7pm, led by community leaders Brad Dupre and Dave Redelman. No RSVP needed.


Community News

   Upcoming Community Group Meetings

  • Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wed. Dec 15th, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom.
  • Refirement Community Group for Retirees, Thurs. Dec. 16th, 12:00-2:00pm on Zoom
  • Buddhism-Christianity Book Club, Saturday, Dec. 18th, 11:05am-12:20pm on Zoom
  • Mindfulness & Depression Community Group, Sun. Dec. 19th, 4:00-5:30pm, In Person/Zoom
  • Every Tuesday, 8:00-9:00am: Tea and Dharma Community Group, In Person. (Except Tues. Dec. 28th)
For times and Zoom links visit the calendar.
Community Group in Portland, OR?
Greetings from Portland Oregon. Would you like to connect in person with other CG practitioners on Sunday mornings, who also live in this geographic area? Looking to form in-person CG sangha to sit together at 8:30 AM Pacific, to include small group sharing as done in the brick and mortar building in Minneapolis, followed by some time for fellowship. Please contact me at nancy@mindbodymindfulness.com or reach out to Gabe Keller Flores if you have interest. If there is interest, I will find a place where we can gather. Hope to hear from you!

Upcoming Antiracism Programs with ASDIC
Our friends at ASDIC (Antiracism Study and Dialogue Circle) have some online programs coming up, open to all:

  • Third Sunday Forums: Conversations on Race, Dec 19, 12:30 PM. More info here.
Arrow River Forest Hermitage Looking for Steward
Some of you will be familiar with Arrow River Forest Hermitage, where one of CG’s longtime visiting teachers, Ajahn Punnadhammo is the resident Buddhist monk. The hermitage will be needing someone to act as steward starting mid-December. The steward is a volunteer position and is responsible for cooking the one meal a day, managing the kitchen and doing the shopping. It is strongly preferred if you have a driver’s license. For more information check out the Visitor’s Pages on their website. Please send all inquiries to abbot@arrowriver.ca.

Weekly Tejaniya
Don’t fight with craving. Don’t say
it should or shouldn’t be this way. The
right attitude is to focus on the presence
of awareness. You could say something like:
“Never mind if it is still happening, at least
I see it now. I’m not being blindly led by
craving. I might not be able yet to get
a handle on it completely, but I can
learn something from it.”

Sunset at Common Ground, photo by Anita R

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