Weekly Email 3-14-24

Dear Common Ground Friends,

One of the beautiful things about faith as a functional force in our lives as spiritual beings is that it moves us ever closer to what matters most. Faith leads us to a wise participation with life, learning to nurture what aligns with our deepest values and both wisely and lovingly acknowledge what doesn’t.

Faith is the initiating energy behind our willingness to acknowledge the elusive beliefs and views we hold. Once we see them, we can explore their utility in our lives and in the world. We can start to see how the ideas and stories we carry shape our relationship to all the mysteries of living and dying. We learn to loosen the grip on those that get in the way of our own and our collective freedom and linger in the felt sense of those that are onward leading.

It can be useful to have teachers and guides, but what is most important is to be creatively guided by life as it moves through us. Our lived experience—what’s moving in our own hearts, what we feel, what we sense, how life is expressing itself to us—that is the way it is. That’s the stuff that we get to work with.

Let’s be moved by life together and tune into what guides and shapes our actions. We can all agree to be learners, uncovering along the way, our deepest values and what gets in the way of living them out.

Warm Wishes,
Shelly Graf

New Weekly Email Format
Starting this week, we are exploring a new weekly email format, which will be shorter and hopefully easier to digest. We will be listing fewer programs in the service of curating a collection of programs that feel important to highlight.

Our online calendar remains the definitive place to check for program information.

We’re open to any feedback about these changes; you can reach out to gabe@commongroundmeditation.org with your thoughts.

Programs with our Co-Guiding Teachers

With Shelly Graf

Weekly Practice Groups with Shelly

  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 p.m., in-person and on Zoom
  • Sundays mornings, 10:30-11:45 a.m., in-person, on Zoom, and on YouTube
  • Sundays, 7:00-8:30 p.m., in-person only
    • with Jean Haley on April 7th
Buddhist Studies with Shelly Graf: Expressions of a Benevolent Heart
5 Mondays, March 18 – April 15, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Optional Sitting Period, 7:00 – 7:30 pm
In-person and on Zoom
Registration here
*The Buddhist Studies Program is designed for people who have attended three or more mindfulness retreats and have a commitment to daily meditation practice.*Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Shelly Graf

In person and on Zoom
  • Daylong Retreat on Saturday, March 23rd. More info and registration here.
  • Half-Day Retreat on Saturday, April 6th. More info and registration here.
  • Daylong Retreat on Saturday, April 27th. More info and registration here.
  • Daylong with nakawe cuebas and Shelly: Saturday, May 11th, 9:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. More info and registration here.

Community Practice Check-ins with Shelly Graf
Every Wednesday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. in-person
Every Friday, 9:00-10:00 a.m. on Zoom

With Mark Nunberg

Buddhist Studies: Dependent Origination with Mark Nunberg
5 Mondays, April 29th – May 27th, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
optional sitting time 7:00-7:30
In-person and on Zoom
More info and registration here.

Upcoming at our City Center

Daylong Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Stacy McClendon
Saturday, March 30th, 9:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. In person only. More info and registration here.

Self-Compassion Half-Day Retreat with Jean Haley & Jane Rauenhorst
Saturday, April 13th, 1:00-5:00 p.m. In person only. Registration coming soon.

Guest Teacher Talk with Bhikkhu Sambodhi: How Has the Idea of Gradual Training Gone Out the Window?
Tuesday, April 16th, 7:00-9:00 p.m. In person and on Zoom

Programs at Our Retreat Center

Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. For background on our retreat center, click here.Practice Period with Tracey Ghilardi & Robb Reed
Thursday, April 4 – Sunday, April 7
More info and registration here.

Practice Period with Louise Delagran & Matthew King
Thursday, April 18 – Sunday, April 21
More info and registration here.

A note about practice periods: Practice periods are non-teacher led, silent meditation retreats. It is strongly encouraged that participants have attended a prior silent residential meditation retreat or many daylong retreats. Two experienced practice leaders will lead the practice period; they don’t provide formal meditation instruction, but are there to facilitate the daily schedule and provide general support for independent practice. Many people have found this format deeply beneficial; practicing in a quiet, beautiful environment with a small group of dharma friends can be conducive to the mind settling and seeing deeply. To learn more about practice periods, the practice leaders, and whether a practice period might be a good fit for you, click the links above and/or reach out to gabe@commongroundmeditation.org with any questions.

Work Retreat with Stephen Gregg, Tony Fernandez, and Julie Meyer
May 2-5. More info and registration coming soon.

Mindful Yoga Retreat with Nancy Boler
Thursday, May 9 – Sunday, May 12
More info and registration here.

Community News 

Mindfulness of Shoes
Unfortunately, it appears that on two occasions recently, community members’ shoes have gone missing from the entryway. It’s likely that someone is stealing them. You might consider not wearing your finest footwear as a way to take care of everyone.

Online Silent Auction for Apple Watch and Keurig Coffee Maker!
Sometimes we receive donations that can’t find a use for. So we decided to run an online silent auction with them! We have a 38mm Apple Watch, 1st generation (comes in box, pre-owned, works!) and a Keurig 2.0 K560 coffee maker (with pods!) Make your bid here by entering your name, email, and bid (no bid too small). The auction will close in two weeks, on March 27th, at 9am.

Freely Giving and Receiving

Common Ground offers all programs freely in the spirit of generosity. If you’d like to donate to support the teachers and the center, click the link below.


Volunteer Opportunities

Program Hosting: We are looking for a few more program hosts to help greet people and set up the meditation hall on Sunday mornings. If you enjoy making people feel welcome, have good attention to detail, including basic computer skills, and have been coming to the center for at least a year, feel free to reach out to gabe@commongroundmeditation.org. Thank you!


How to Weaken the Darkness of Delusion

Every moment that we bring
awareness to life, weakens the
the darkness of delusion.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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