Weekly Email 2/23/2022

Dear Common Ground Friends,

The Buddha said spiritual friendship is the whole of the holy life and that he saw no other condition that is as supportive for our spiritual development than the support of wise friends. By wise friends he meant people who model for us the spiritual values we aspire to and who live out those values in the way they live, relate to other people, and make a living. As I reflect on what I’ve gained from my past 6 years serving as Common Ground’s Office Manager (first 3 or so were as Admin Assistant), the most obvious blessing is the gaining of many spiritual friends: people I respect, look up to, and who inspire me to continue walking the path towards freedom and love.

I imagine this is what draws so many of us to Common Ground in the first place. We can read the teachings on our own and be inspired, but it’s in community where we get to see real-life, present-day examples of how these teachings can be lived out and integrated into our lives, and where we get to ask questions and share reflections with each other about our aspirations and our struggles. This is not a small thing. I hope we don’t take it for granted. Each of us who considers ourself a part of the Common Ground community can feel that we are not just passive recipients of the programs offered, but that we are part of making the community happen: by showing up to practice, by sharing volunteer time or donations, by attending community groups or exploring starting new ones. As I step out of the Office Manager role, I have confidence in the Common Ground community, in the practical, compassionate teachings we practice, and in the leadership of the center, helmed by our fearless Guiding Teachers Mark & Shelly.

I’m not sure what the next phase of my life will look like: I feel a call to make music and writing, to engage with the difficult social issues of our time, and first and foremost, to continue exploring the endlessly interesting terrain of the mind and heart. Common Ground will always be my spiritual home, and I hope to remain connected as a community member and practice leader. Wynn Fricke and I will be leading a little under a month of practice at our retreat center in Wisconsin during the month of June, so keep an eye out for that registration in the coming months.

I’ll close by saying that I’m very happy that Robin Major, a wonderful human being and dedicated Dharma practitioner will be taking over as Interim Office Manager. I will be cheering her on as she takes the reins starting March 14th and I’ve told her she can count on me for support during the transition.

Thank you for everything. Take good care of your hearts,

Gabe Keller Flores
Outgoing Office Manager

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 on Zoom with Mark Nunberg (with an option to watch the livestream together in person in the meditation hall)
    • teacher TBD on March 6th
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in person with Mark Nunberg
    • teacher TBD on March 6th
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom with Shelly Graf
    • Patrice Koelsch will lead the group on Wednesday, February 23rd.
    • The weekly practice group will happen at an earlier time on Wednesday, March 2nd: 5:30-7:45pm. Shelly will be giving the talk through Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. As such, the Zoom link will be different this week. See CIMC’s webpage for more details.
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 (Mark Nunberg joining on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month), on Zoom
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am with Shelly Graf, on Zoom
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm with Ramesh Sairam, on Zoom (next meeting February 12th)
  • NEW: Every first Tuesday of the month, 8:00-9:00am, with Mark Nunberg, in person
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. On Zoom every week except the second Friday of the month, which is hybrid.

Upcoming Programs: Online

To see full list of programs and access Zoom links for online programs visit our calendar.
Book Study Group: The Citadel of Awareness with Merra Young
3rd Wednesday of the month starting February 16th, 12:15-1:30 pm
More info and registration here.

Lovingkindness Practice Group with Stacy McClendon
Friday, February 25th, 7:00-8:30pm

Daylong Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, February 26th, 9:30am-4:00pm
More info and registration here.

MBSR-Based Mindfulness Practice with Nancy Boros
Mondays, 12:00-1:00pm

Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, March 12th, 9:00am-1:00pm
More info and registration here.

Inner Self-Compassion Course with Jean Haley & Jane Rauenhorst
6 Tuesdays, 1:00-3:00pm, April 19th-May 24th + Half-Day Retreat on May 14th
More info and registration here.

Upcoming Programs: In Person/Hybrid at Common Ground

To read our latest covid protocols, click here.

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course with Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf
6 Tuesdays, March 8th – April 12th, 7:30-9:00pm
In Person or on Zoom. More info and registration here.

Living in Liminal Space with Love: An inquiry into and conversations on how to be present with the unknown with Jean Haley & Kaia Svien
Saturday, March 26th, 9:00am-3:00pm
In Person only. More info and registration here.

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. Registration is now open for the following programs there.
  • Intro to Buddhist Retreat Practice with Mark Nunberg & Stacy McClendon
    6:15pm Thursday, March 10th – 10:15am Sunday, March 13th. In Person and on Zoom.
  • WAITLIST ONLY: Practice Period with Jane Reyer & Robb Reed
    5:30pm Thursday, March 17th – 2:00pm Sunday, March 20th
  • Daylong Retreat with Mark Nunberg & Cecilia Ramon: Cultivating a Wise and Kind Resilience
    Saturday, April 2nd, 9:30am-4:00pm. In Person and on Zoom.

More info and registration for these retreats can be found here.

In addition to these weekend retreats, we also offer public drop-in groups on select Wednesdays at the retreat center, 6:30-7:45pm.

  • First Wednesday of the month: Community Group led by Matthew King and other practice leaders
  • Third Wednesday of the month: Monthly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg or guest teachers
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 

  • Looking for audio processing volunteers to help upload talks to Dharmaseed, let gabe@commongroundmeditation.org know if you have the skills to help.
  • 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.
  • Tuesday evening bellringer (in-person): 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. Email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if interested.

Community News

 Upcoming Community Group Meetings

  • Millenials Sangha, Friday, February 25th, 7:00-8:30pm, in person and on Zoom.
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, Thurs. March 3rd, 6:30-8:00pm on Zoom.
  • Mindfulness & Depression Community Group, Sunday, March 6th, 4:00-5:30pm, on Zoom

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

Upcoming Antiracism Study and Dialogue Circle
We want to spread the word about our friends at Antiracism Study and Dialogue Circle’s upcoming 10-week circle starting next week on Feb. 24th, over Zoom. Common Ground has hosted this circle a couple of times at our center, including a circle for our leaders which we all benefited from. We highly recommend this program. More info and registration on their website here.

Openings in CG Sutta Study Groups
Common Ground has three Sutta Study Groups that meet on the first Saturday morning of each month to study the teachings of the Buddha and to strengthen relationships among committed practitioners and leaders. The groups are now accepting applications for new members, who will join the groups starting in April. Apply before February 17th to be included in the lottery. For more info and to apply, click here.

Video of Community Gathering to Celebrate Shelly Graf’s Hiring as Co-Guiding Teacher
In case you missed the event we held back in December to celebrate and honor Shelly stepping into their new role as Co-Guiding Teacher, you can watch the recording here.

Teen Practice Group Back In Session!
For more info, click here.

Weekly Tejaniya
Everything is experience. Whatever is
happening is happening through cause-and-
effect. They do their job, we do our job. What
should we do? We just recognize what is
happening. Everything is nature.

Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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