Weekly Email 2-21-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

Please Note: Those of us in the upper midwest are preparing for a significant winter storm to hit these next three days so it seems wise for us to close the City Center in Minneapolis from Wednesday morning February 22nd, until Friday afternoon February 24th. Some programs will continue as scheduled on Zoom. See below for details. 

As hard as it is to believe at times, it is possible to radically change the quality of our mind simply by cultivating interest in what is conducive to calmness. Because of habit, we tend to pay attention to what is dramatic, intense, and juicy. However, the heart can be retrained to be interested in what is peaceful and calming. If we actually check we might find that there are always elements in our experience that will be supportive of calm. For example, we can pay attention to the sense of deeply caring about this life, or we can open to a bigger perspective of what is happening, or notice the activity in my life as a natural process.

When things are intense, it can seem inappropriate to attend to aspects of the present moment that are conducive to tranquility. Let’s remember that we are not attempting to avoid responsibilities related to taking care of ourselves or others, we are simply finding ways to respond more wisely and compassionately. Appropriate and dynamic action in life depends on being intimate with the conditions of the moment, and tranquility of the body and mind is what allows us to truly connect, to see more clearly and feel more deeply. When we honestly reflect, we see how often we feed cycles of stress and suffering because of the distortions arising from our agitated minds. Of course, it is understandable that we get agitated, life is difficult for us human beings. But, we can still acknowledge that agitation and reactivity doesn’t help us to be free from these cycles of stress. It is truly heartbreaking to consider how much suffering we have all set in motion in this way. Let’s consider having tranquility as a resonate value in our hearts that we keep in mind at all times. Let’s find out for ourselves what this sets in motion in our lives and in our world.


Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher


Community Practice Check-In with Robin Major

  • Wednesday 8:30-9:30am: Zoom Only

Qigong Practice with Steve and Autumn Compton

  • Wednesday 9:30am-10:30am: CANCELLED

Mindful Yoga with Nancy Boler

  • Wednesday 12:05pm-1:15pm: Zoom Only
  • Friday 9:30 – 10:45am: Zoom Only

In-person Open Meditation

  • Wednesday-Friday 6:30am – 8:30am CANCELLED
  • Wednesday 11:00am – 12:00pm: CANCELLED

Cultivating Virtue as a Support for Liberation: a Bimonthly Practice Group with Stacy McClendon, 

  • Thursday 7:00pm-8:30pm: Zoom Only
Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps

Guest Teacher Talk with Chas DiCapua: Creating A Home In The Body For The Heart/Mind, Friday, 7:00-8:30pm: In person and on Zoom

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

Open Meditation
In person meditation is now available, M-F, starting at 6:30 a.m. Check our online calendar for additional times and details. There are many in-person as well as virtual opportunities for silent meditation, 7 days a week. Visit the calendar for times and details.

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Sunday mornings, 10:30-11:45am in-person and on Zoom with Mark Nunberg
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom with Shelly Graf
Monthly Practice Groups
  • First Fridays, 7:00-8:30pm now in-person and 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
  • NEW! Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30am with Shelly Graf, in-person
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am with Shelly Graf, on Zoom
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm with Ramesh Sairam, on Zoom
Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times a week, both in person and online.
Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30pm.
In-person and on Zoom

Youth Programs

  • Children’s Program: The Children’s Program is held 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 the 2nd and 4th Sundays. You can join the Common Ground teen listserv by emailing info@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, March 17th | 7:00 -8:30pm

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

Cultivating Virtue as a Support for Liberation: a Bimonthly Practice Group with Gabe Keller Flores
2nd and 4th Thursdays | 7:00 – 8:30pm
In-person and on Zoom
No registration necessary

Guest Teacher Talk: Chas DiCapua
Creating A Home In The Body For The Heart/Mind
Friday, February 24th | 7:00 – 8:30pm
In-person and on Zoom

Daylong Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, February 25th | 9:30 am – 4:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, March 4th | 1:00 – 5:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Living the Practice Workshop with Shelly Graf, Mark Nunberg, and Meski Mebatsion
Saturday, March 25th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
More info and registration here

Upcoming In-Person/Hybrid Programs at our Retreat CenterCommon 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

Registrations for the following April programs will be released soon:

Resilience Daylong Retreat with Cecilia Ramon and Mark Nunberg
Saturday, April 1st | 9:30am-4:00pm
Registration coming soon

Masculinity Conversation and Workshop
Saturday, April 8th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
Registration coming soon

The Stress of Change and Impermanence: An exploration of viparinama dukkha: Inquiry Retreat with Ramesh Sairam and Mark Nunberg
Thursday, April 13th – Sunday April 16th
Registration coming soon

Spring Work Retreat with Gabe Keller Flores & Mark Nunberg
Tuesday April 18th – Sunday April 23rd
Registration coming soon

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:

  • Office Volunteers: We are looking for one or more people with 1-2 years experience at the center and with prior office experience to help us with office tasks and bulletin board maintenance. Experience with G-Suite and general comfort with computer technology would be helpful.
  • 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.
  • Plant Pots: We are looking for two large terracotta, ceramic, or nicely made resin pots for plants at the retreat center. The pots should be at least 15in in diameter.

Community News 

Notes for Gail
Beloved community member and dharma teacher Gail Iverson is retiring from her long time service as Common Ground’s bookkeeper. Common Ground’s finance committee and staff will be celebrating Gail’s retirement on March 3rd. If you would like to send a card or note to add to a group card, we can present these to Gail at the celebration on March 3rd. Common Ground is purchasing a $100 gift card to Mother Earth Gardens as part of this offering for Gail.

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

  • Be Queer Now, weekly on Wednesday, 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, 6:30-8:00PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, March 5th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Community Group for Organizers and Social Justice Activists, Thursday,  March 9th, 6:00-7:30 PM
  • Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, March 11th, 9:00-10:30 AM
  • Millennials Sangha, Friday, March 24th, 7:00-8:30 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

There is Now Way to Rush Progress in Meditation
There is no way to rush progress in meditation;
we can only proceed steadily.
But we don’t stop, either.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Community member practicing standing meditation at Common Ground Retreat Center last month

Community member practicing standing meditation at Common Ground Retreat Center last month

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