Weekly Email 3-2-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

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. Common Ground has been committed to operating this way since the time of our inception. 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. Generosity or “dana” as spiritual practice invites us to explore the effects of giving and receiving freely. Mindful giving and receiving frees the heart of clinging. It is an opportunity to see fear, greed, and confusion, as well as the basic goodness of a generous act, which leads to both joy and wisdom.

Because each person’s circumstances are different, we do not provide suggested donations or constant reminders to give. The center, however, is completely dependent on your gifts. Your contributions pay for all the center’s expenses: maintaining the buildings, our administrative staff, and Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf’s support as the Guiding Teachers. Other teachers at the center receive support based on the contributions offered at their programs; they receive two-thirds and the other third is used to support the Center’s operations. Details about how to donate are outlined on our website. Thank you deeply for participating in Common Ground’s continued grand experiment of operating in this unique way in the United States.

Here is a beautiful reflection written by community member, Steve Hillson during our winter Buddhist Studies course.

“I have not really thought of myself as a generous person.  I’ve often wanted to be generous, and I have certainly wanted to be seen by others as generous, but the truth is my giving has been largely transactional, or driven by habit and custom.  But maybe I’m growing a little bit.  Since joining the Common Ground community a few years ago, I’ve witnessed almost unbelievable generosity, taking the forms of money (how did that lovely retreat facility ever get built?), service (how many inches of snow did volunteers move the first 2 months of this winter?), and goodwill (you know who you are: the young couple who invited me to tea after they saw me weeping during my very first visit here).  But most especially, I’ve witnessed the generosity of the teachings, offered day after day and week after week for decades (or should I say “millenia?”), without obligation.

And so Common Ground is teaching me generosity by example.  I’m still a work in progress, a slow and sometimes stubborn student.  I still measure and keep score sometimes, I still find my habits elbowing their way in.  And I’m still easily confused.  How much is enough?  What form is best?  Do I give till it hurts, the way some charitable organizations urge?  But I’m finding my way.  I think I want to give not until it hurts, but until it feels good.  Until it feels right, feels that it is what I can do without neglecting my other responsibilities.  Until I can feel my heart loosening up – which, I’m learning, it does!  And I want to give in a way that assures that Common Ground can continue its work, teaching us all to be more free.”

Warm Wishes,

Shelly Graf
Co-Guiding Teacher

Registrations Open:

Buddhist Studies: The Three Refuges
Three Mondays: March 13th – April 3rd
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Community Practice Intensive with Sarah Wilson and Mark Nunberg
Three Mondays: April 10th, April 17th and April 24th from 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Ending with a Daylong Retreat on Saturday, April 29th from 9:30am – 4:00pm
Register here

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
  • Now in-person and on Zoom! First Fridays, 7:00-8:30pm, Lovingkindness with Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon

Community Practice Check-Ins

  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30pm, on Zoom with Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke, on Zoom
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00pm, on Zoom with Stacy McClendon, on Zoom
  • Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30am, in-person with Shelly Graf and assisted by Robin Major
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am, on Zoom with Shelly Graf
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm, on Zoom with Ramesh Sairam
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

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

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

Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, April 8th | 9:00am – 1:00pm
Register 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

Masculinity Conversation and Workshop
Saturday, April 8th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
Register here

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
Register here

Tranquility & Insight Retreat with Gabe Keller Flores & Mark Nunberg
Tuesday April 18th – Sunday April 23rd
Register 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:

  • Audio and YouTube Volunteers: We’re looking for volunteers to join our audio processing and YouTube editing teams. It’s easy to learn! No previous experience in audio or video necessary.
  • 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.
  • Retreat Center Wishlist: If you would like to donate a specific item to Common Ground Retreat Center, you can view our wishlist on this document.

Community News 

Article from Buddhist Justice Reporter
With gratitude for our friends at Buddhist Justice Reporter, we share their recently published piece in Lion’s Roar: A Buddhist and a Cop?

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, 6:30-8:00 PM
  • 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.

With Joy and Interest You Are Doing Fine
As long as you find joy
and interest in the practice,
you are doing fine.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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