Weekly Email 2/7/21

Dear Common Ground Friends,

I’ve been reflecting on the importance of attention lately. Where we put attention, how we put attention; it really defines our reality. We can think of attention as the most precious resource we have available to us. So, the question is, how are we spending it and what effects is that having? It takes intentionality to put down distraction, even for a moment, in favor of cultivating mindfulness. And initially, being mindful can be unpleasant, revealing the bodily, mental, and emotional tension our distraction was distracting us from. But by bringing supportive qualities to bear like patience, relaxation, acceptance, and kindness, the tangles in our heart can begin to unwind in the space of awareness. This process takes time and gentle, persistent effort, to bring our attention back from its habit of narrowing into worry, blame, fantasy, and speculation. Over time, we can begin to trust the peaceful quality of a non-clinging heart, and live with less conflict, agitation, and despair, even as we engage wholeheartedly in our lives and in the world. In this way, moment by moment, we can use our attention to set in motion happiness for ourselves and others.

Wishing you the happiness of wise attention,



Upcoming Program Highlights

BEN CONNELLY will lead Dharma Among Us tonight. Ben is a Soto Zen priest and Dharma heir in the Katagiri lineage. He also teaches mindfulness in a wide variety of secular contexts including police training and addiction recovery groups, and is engaged with social and climate justice activist communities. 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.

SHELLY GRAF will lead the Weekly Practice Group as usual. 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.

SPRUCE KRAUSE will lead InterPlay from 7:00-8:30pm. InterPlay helps you explore old habit energy and discover new possibilities through movement, sound, words, stillness and connection. We use simple, easy to do, incremental forms to promote a playful sense of ease, and an authentic sense of connection – both to yourself and others. Connect to the wisdom of the body. Zoom link here.

MERRA YOUNG leads the weekly Lovingkindness Practice Group, 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.

There is still space in the Two-Day Online Retreat with SHELLY GRAF and MARK NUNBERG.For more info and registration, click here.

RAMESH SAIRAM will lead his biweekly Dharma Reflections program from 10:30am-12:00pm. Zoom link here.


  • MARK NUNBERG will lead the Weekly Practice Group as usual, 10:30-11:45am. Zoom link here. Mark is currently covering Mindfulness of Breathing. There are resources on the topic here.
  • WYNN FRICKE & MARK NUNBERG will begin offering a Weekly Community Practice Check-In each Sunday from 4:30-5:30pm. Zoom link here. Remember, there are two other Community Practice Check-Ins each week: Tuesdays at noon with Mark and Stacy (Zoom link here) and Thursdays at 9am with Shelly (Zoom link here).

SHELLY GRAF will lead a Daylong Retreat, 9:30am-4:00pm. More info and registration here.

MERRA YOUNG will start a book club on the book No Self, No Problem by Anam Thubten. It will meet the 2nd Friday of the month 11:15am-12:30pm from March to June. You can register here.

Please note that all times listed are in Central time. For complete, up-to-date program information, visit the online calendar. We recommend you bookmark it for easy access during the week. You might also want to bookmark our Youtube channel. 

Additional non-CG events Taught by Mark and Shelly:

Mindfulness & Insight Meditation: The Mah?si Method
Thursday, February 25 – Sunday, February 28 w/ Mark Nunberg, Kamala Masters, & Steve Armstrong


The Practice of Generosity

Continuing in the tradition of Buddhist monasteries in Southeast Asia, all programs at Common Ground, including these online programs, 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.

Interested in snowblowing for CG this winter?

We are still looking for snowblowing volunteers! We have a snowblower and we can train you in. If you’re intimidated by the snowblower, we also need shoveling volunteers. If interested in joining the snow team, please email Rob at rwkohlmeyer@yahoo.com. Thank you!


Community News 

Community Groups Meeting this Week

  • Mindfulness & Depression Community Group, Sunday, Feb. 7th, 4:00-5:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wednesday, Feb. 10th, 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • Community Group for Organizers & Social Justice Activists, Thursday, Feb. 11th, 6:00-7:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • Dharma Friends Sit & Discussion, Sunday Feb. 14th. Zoom link here.

See the calendar for more info about these community groups:

Parallel Trauma and the Line 3 Pipeline
Clouds in Water Zen Center is offering three free online workshops this week that will put the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in the broader context of the historical trauma suffered by Indigenous people from centuries of U.S. genocidal policies, and the little-discussed parallel trauma of the perpetrators who have done such great harm. Monday-Wednesday @ 7pm. More info here.

Article by Kyoko Katayama
Our dear dharma teacher Kyoko was featured in MN Women’s Press recently. Her article is called Belonging to the World, wherein she reflects on isolation and connection at this time.

Shelly and Gabe Recommend
Each week Shelly and Gabe will feature Dharma resources they found useful recently. Read more on our blog here.

New Book for CG Book Club 
The CG Book Club reads books on the topics of race and racism and is facilitated by April Hanson. The next book they will be reading is The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart by Alicia Garza. The first meeting to discuss the new book will be Sunday, February 28th @ 8:45am. To get on their mailing list you can email April at apriljoyhanson@gmail.com.

CG Mutual Support Form
We’ve created a form to gather info from community members interested in offering eachother support in the form of social connection, help with errands, or other forms of support. If you’re interested in participating, you can fill out the form here.

Job Opening at Metta Meditation Retreat Center 
Our friends at Metta Meditation Retreat Center in Janesville, MN are hiring an Administrative Lead and asked us to spread the word. Read more here.


Weekly Tejaniya

When you experience good mind states, ac-
tively remember them. Remind yourself that
that you are experiencing a good mind state;
that good mind states are possible; that this
is how a good mind state feels. In this way
you reinforce the understanding of
the good states you experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.