Weekly Email 3/22/2021

Dear Common Ground Friends,

Greetings Friends,

Last week our humanity took another hit. Today we reckon with the racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence that led to the murder of 8 people in Atlanta, and to the life changing injuries of one survivor. Please join me in saying their names: Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Grant, Yong Ae Yue, Suncha Kim, and Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz.

Let us remember that our social locations help define the way we tell the stories of this day. It matters whether we acknowledge the 150% increase in Asian hate crimes over the past 4 years or whether our minds dodge the reality of hate inspired violence. Perhaps, what is among the most significant to spiritual seekers, is developing an understanding of the influences that contribute to the stories we tell.  If we aim to be sincere in our mindfulness practice, we must name colonization, imperialism, and white-centric culture among the influences of the stories we tell. This is how we do the brave and noble work of getting closer to what Sebene Selassie calls the “unbearable complexity” of understanding oppression and trauma.

These days, when I’m at a loss how to relate to the unbearable complexity of suffering around us, I light a candle and sit in front of my altar. I take time to simply bow to the profundity of suffering in this world. I’ve been doing this a lot lately…and crying…I’ve been doing a lot of that too… and when the time has passed for this, I pick myself up off the floor and do something. Our practice involves time to “be” and time to “do”. It is up to us to discern what time it is.  May we all allow ourselves the time to be so that we might feel into both what is visible and what is less visible to us, drawing us closer and closer to the unbearable complexities that make up this suffering world we live in. Only when we reckon in this most sincere way, do we learn to take beneficial action.

One way you might take up this noble practice of living into the unbearable complexities of now in a most sincere way, is to join Common Ground’s Truth and Justice Vigil. A vigil is a period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep. The Truth and Justice Vigil will help us stay awake and honor the complexity that moves within us during the trials of the former officers involved in the killing of George Floyd. Ayo Yetunde and Stacy McClendon will open the Truth & Justice Vigil on Monday March 29th 6-7:15p, and all subsequent sessions will take place 6-7:30p on Tuesdays, beginning April 6th. See the public calendar for a full description and complete listing of the amazing teachers who will be teaching, sharing their gifts, and holding space throughout the trials. The Truth and Justice Vigil is a collaboration with Buddhist Justice Reporter: The George Floyd Trials, a project that Common Ground cares deeply about.

Join me.


Shelly Graf
Associate Director

Upcoming Program Highlights


  • STACY MCCLENDON & MARK NUNBERG lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. 12:00-1:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • MEGAN BRANDELAND will lead Dharma Among Us this week on the topic of Befriending Death and Dying. 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.
SHELLY GRAF will lead the Weekly Practice Group. 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.THURSDAY, MARCH 25TH
  • SHELLY GRAF leads the weekly Community Practice Check-In, this week with a focus on racism through an inquiry into whiteness and domination9:00-10:00am. Zoom link here.
  • FEMI AKINNAGBE leads the weekly Lovingkindness Practice Group, 7:00-8:30pm. All are welcome. Zoom link here.
  • MARK NUNBERG will lead a Daylong Retreat, 9:30am-4:00pm. More info and registration here.
  • MARK NUNBERG will lead the Weekly Practice Group. 10:30-11:45am. Zoom link here.
  • WYNN FRICKE & MARK NUNBERG lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. 4:30-5:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • AYO YETUNDE & STACY MCCLENDON will lead the Opening Night of the Truth & Justice Vigil. 6:00-7:15pm. More info here.
  • MARK NUNBERG will lead a Half-Day Retreat, 1:00-5:00pm. More info and registration here.
  • MESKI MEBATSION, SHELLY GRAF, & MARK NUNBERG will lead a daylong Living the Practice Workshop on Relating Wisely to this Sensual World. More info and registration here.
  • STACY MCCLENDON & JEAN HALEY will lead a Daylong Retreat. More info and registration 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. 


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.

Community News 

Community Groups Meeting this Week

  • Be Queer Now, Wed., Mar. 24th, 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • Millenials Community Group, Fri. Mar. 26th, 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • Dharma Friends Sit & Discussion, Sun. Mar. 28th, 7:00-8:00pm. Zoom link here.

See the calendar for more info about these community groups.

Please Fill Out Our Communications Survey!
We are considering making changes to our website and weekly email and would like your feedback on our communications systems. Please take 5 minutes to fill out the survey here. Thank you!

Antiracism Study & Dialogue Circle Beginning March 25th
ASDIC is a local organization Common Ground has partnered with in the past. We recommend anyone interested to join in for their upcoming 10-week circle. More info here.

Weekly Tejaniya
The awareness we are seeking is un-
prompted. We are not digging for it;
we are simply residing in the ebb
and flow of nature itself.


Photo of Prairie Farm Retreat by Ari Lindquist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.