Weekly Email 3-8-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

The Buddha taught that it is our not deeply understanding dukkha–the pervasive and sometimes subtle unsatisfactoriness that characterizes experience, that is the cause for the stress and mental pain we experience in life. Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of our delusion is that we think we already know all there is to know about our experiences of suffering. We mostly live with a profound lack of curiosity about the conditioned nature of the stresses, gross and subtle, we experience in life. When was the last time we remember bringing a fresh, clear, open attention to an experience of frustration or stress? Instead, we tend to fall into an unacknowledged arrogant fixed idea about what is going on. For example, thinking that the cause of my distress is that, “You are making me mad!”

With our dharma practice, we train the mind to relate to experience in a clear, deep and open way. We learn not to be so identified by any preexisting habits of interpretation and perception. This more bare and open way of experiencing, allows us to relate to moments of happiness and unhappiness simply as something being known. The mind can even be trained to allow all of the underlying feelings to be seen and felt without imagining that any feeling is more or less than what it is, simply feelings being felt. The mind begins to open to the flow of experiencing without adding or projecting anything extra. With sincere, patient and courageous practice, an insight arises that experience is empty of what is not here. The reverberation of this deepening insight is a greater lightness, ease and freedom in life that isn’t dependent on the particular circumstances that come and go. This is the fruit of deepening insight into the empty nature of experiences of both happiness and unhappiness.

Shelly Graf, Meski Mebatsion and I will be teaching a Living the Practice Workshop on Dukkha and Emptiness on Saturday March 25th. Please join in if you are interested.


Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

Registrations Open:

Buddhist Studies: The Three Refuges
Three Mondays: March 13th – April 3rd | 7:30-9:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Shelly Graf
Six Tuesdays: April 4th – May 9th | 7:00 – 8:30pm CST
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Weekly Programs
To view a complete list of our regular program offerings, visit our upcoming programs page on our website. As always, our 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, 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

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 Ramón 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

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

Earth Day! Celebrating our Love for Earth
9:30am- 12:30pm, Saturday, April 22nd
Optional Potluck 12:30pm-1:30pm
In-person only
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

Masculinity & Status: A Daylong Conversation
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 

Volunteers in Prison
A few Common Ground community members are working with prison facilitators to re-start meditation and Buddhist programs that were suspended during the height of covid. If you are interested in volunteering with this community group, you can read more here.

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 upcoming programs page on our website. As always, our 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, 6:30-8:00PM
  • 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
  • NEW! Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, March 19th, 1:30 – 3:00 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, March 19th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Millennials Sangha, Friday, March 24th, 7:00-8:30 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Greed and Hatred Arise From Ignorance
Greed and hatred
arise out of ignorance.
What is ignorance?
It is just not seeing
what is really happening in the mind.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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