Weekly Email 2-3-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,
With all of the insistent demands on our time, it is easy for the to do list to get the best of us. We create a reality out of our thoughts, what we should do, what we haven’t done, what we need to do and so on. We can be grateful for those moments in which we can feel the intensity of the thinking mind. The felt sense of tension or stress can be a call back to the present moment. It is only here in the present that we can observe how we are actually using our time and our energies, and only here in the present moment where we are able to realize that the pursuant energy that builds as our thoughts take us farther and farther away from the present moment, actually interferes with our ability to be right here in a meaningful way. The heart’s courage to connect with what is real, is the way to confidence and skillful responding. Can this heart learn that experience isn’t a foe? In the middle of realness, the heart learns that the energy it takes to deny experience actually gets in the way of a creative and wholehearted response. Resisting the way it is limits our access to the body and the many ways of knowing available to us. As the heart learns to value sensitivity, we get stronger, more creative and more capable of standing up in the middle of life as well as doing what needs to be done. May we all continue to be curious about presence and what gets in the way of both presence and a skillful response.
Best Wishes,
Shelly Graf
Co-Guiding Teacher

“We’re not trying to stand in the middle of something and know that the situation will pass, we’re trying to stand in the middle of it and know that our overwhelm will pass. That’s what’s passing. The situation itself may take a long time, and we have to do some effort in it. But what we’re aimed at as practitioners is to first let our overwhelm pass, let it be, let it rise and fall as all emotions do.”

-Tuere Sala, Insight Meditation Teacher

Upcoming Teacher Led Retreats

  • February 4th Half Day with Shelly Graf; Register here
  • February 16-20 Four Day retreat with Shelly Graf, Mark Nunberg, Assisted by Stacy McClendon; Register here
  • February 25th Daylong with Mark Nunberg; Register here
  • March 9-12, Introduction to Buddhist Retreat Practice with Mark Nunberg & Stacy McClendon; Register here

Upcoming Guest Teachers
To see full list of programs and access Zoom links for online programs visit our calendar.

Rebecca Bradshaw
Karma, We Become What We Practice
Thursday, February 16th | 7:30 -9:00pm
In Person and On Zoom

Chas DiCapua
Friday, February 24th | 7:00 – 8:30pm
In Person and On Zoom

Weekly Programs
We are experimenting with new ways to get information out about upcoming programs. You may see this weekly email changing some over the upcoming weeks. 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-Th, 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, 7-8:30pm 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
  • 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, February 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

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

With the Current: Poetry Reading with Susan Deborah King, and Sue Kearns
With the Current is a poetry book written by community members and inspired by the 18 Harmonizing movements of Qi Gong.
February 12th | 1:30 – 3:00pm
In person only
No registration required

Daylong Retreat with Mark Nunberg
February 25th | 9:30 am – 4:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register 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. More information and registration for the following programs can be found here

Tranquility & Insight Retreat with Shelly Graf & Mark Nunberg. Assisted by Stacy McClendon
Thursday evening, February 16th – mid-day Monday, February 20th
On Zoom and in-person at Common Ground Retreat Center in Prairie Farm, WI

Introduction to Buddhist Retreat Practice with Mark Nunberg & Stacy McClendon
Thursday evening, March 9th – mid-day Sunday, March 12th
On Zoom and in-person at Common Ground Retreat Center in Prairie Farm, WI

Practice Periods:
Practice Period with Robin Major & Melissa Bailey
5:00pm Thursday, February 9th – 12:00pm Sunday, February 12th

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:

  • Cleaning: We are looking for folks to help out with ongoing cleaning at our city center. If you regularly come to a program in person and are willing to spend 15-30 minutes before or after doing some cleaning, please email shelly@commongroundmeditation.org
  • 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 
New Book by our very own Ayo Yetunde!
Common Ground dharma teacher Ayo Yetunde, also founder of Buddhist Justice Reporter, has a new book coming out, Casting Indra’s Net: Fostering Spiritual Kinship and Community. Congratulations Ayo! There will be a book release party on February 9th, at 7pm CT hosted by her organization, Center of the Heart. Join us if you can!

New Articles from our friends at Buddhist Justice Reporter (BJR)

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, 7:30-9:00pm
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursday, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, February 5th, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Community Group for Organizers and Social Justice Activists, Thursday,  February 9th, 6:00 pm
  • Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, February 11th, 9:00 a.m.
  • Retirement Group, Thursday, February 16th, 12:00-2:00 PM
  • Millenials Sangha, Friday, February 17th, 7:00pm
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Weekly Tejaniya

Try to Make the Mind Positive Every Moment
We need to try to make
what’s in the mind positive
in every moment, because if
it’s not positive it’s going
to be negative.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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