Weekly Email 4-18-24

Dear Common Ground Friends,

We assume that we are sincerely interested in reality, that our heart is sensing in a deep and clear way the way things are. But truthfully we are mostly entangled with and deluded by our mental constructions about reality. One good definition of delusion is the not understanding the difference between the underlying nature of present-moment experience and our deep habit of taking our thoughts about things to be reality. For this reason, the essence of our dharma practice is cultivating a simple authentic interest in the immediacy of present-moment reality. True interest depends on humility or an openness to the truth of the moment, free from the mind’s preconceived ideas about things. Mindful awareness is a skill that is strengthened by recognizing over and over the mind’s capacity to connect/know/feel the moment as it is, wisely and clearly. In other words, our practice allows the underlying nature of each moment of experience, the ever-changing activity of body and mind, to reveal itself in the non-judging space of wisdom and awareness. A moment of awareness can be immediately liberating when the mind realizes, to some degree, that clinging to and struggling with experience is always optional and unhelpful.

Moments of insight, discerning the underlying nature of experience, gradually transforms how the mind understands and relates going forward. This path of awakening taught by the Buddha undermines the tendency to feel burdened by the changing conditions of life. This possibility of freedom from attachment and all forms of clinging needs to be directly experienced, in any moment of life, in order to truly appreciate its power to transform the mind and heart.

“You live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a Reality.
You are that Reality. When you understand this, you will see that you
are nothing. And being nothing, you are everything. That is all.”
– Kalu Rinpoche

Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

Now Four Weekly Practice Groups!
Beginning on Tuesday, April 30th, I will be adding a Tuesday evening Zoom-only Weekly Practice Group. Shelly Graf will continue teaching the Wednesday in-person and Zoom group, 7:30 – 9 p.m. and also the Sunday evening in-person-only group, 7 – 8:30 p.m.. I will teach the Sunday morning hybrid group 10:30-11:45 a.m. and the new Tuesday group, 7 – 8:30 p.m.. Shelly and I look forward to seeing many of you at one of these four weekly practice groups.

Much Gratitude for Shelly Graf, Common Ground’s Co-Guiding Teacher
As I transition back into my teaching and administrative duties at Common Ground I would like to acknowledge and appreciate Common Ground’s Co-Guiding Teacher Shelly Graf for all the teaching and administrative duties they took on during my personal leave time. I encourage everyone to reflect on and appreciate the depth of commitment and the wise and loving engagement that Shelly demonstrates especially during these past several months. It is truly an impressive and beautiful flowering of the wisdom and energy from Shelly’s practice. With great gratitude we can send out our good wishes to Shelly, “May your wisdom and goodness continue, may it increase, may it never end!”

Programs with our Co-Guiding Teachers

With Mark Nunberg

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Sundays mornings, 10:30-11:45 a.m., in-person, on Zoom, and on YouTube
  • NEW Tuesday evening group starting April 30, 7:00-8:30 p.m., online-only

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

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats
In person and on Zoom
  • Daylong on Saturday, May 25. More info and registration here.
  • Half-Day on Saturday, June 8, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. More info and registration here.

Community Practice Check-in
Every Sunday, 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Zoom, with Wynn Fricke

Open Meditation
Mondays, 6:30-7:15 a.m. on Zoom

With Shelly Graf

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 p.m., in-person and on Zoom
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30 p.m., in-person only
    • May 12th with nakawe cuebas
Half-Day and Daylong Retreats
In person and on Zoom
  • Daylong with Cecilia Ramon and Shelly on Saturday, April 27. More info and registration here.
  • Daylong with nakawe cuebas and Shelly: Saturday, May 11. More info and registration here.
Community Practice Check-ins
Every Wednesday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. in-person
Every Friday, 9:00-10:00 a.m. on Zoom

Upcoming at our City Center

Queer and Trans Community Daylong Retreat with scottie hall and Brian Young
Saturday, April 20, 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m. More info and registration here.

Book Reading with Ellen Hufschmidt: a Gentle Practice for Tough Times: Contemplations for Dying and Living
Sunday, April 28, 2:00-3:00 p.m. in person. More info here.

Guest Teacher Talk with nakawe cuebas: How to cultivate “Embodied Equanimity” as a dear friend in our troubled times
Friday, May 10, 7:00-8:30 p.m. In person and on Zoom. More info here.

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.

Mindful Yoga Retreat with Nancy Boler
Thursday, May 9 – Sunday, May 12
More info and registration here. There is one open spot :)

Work Practice Period with Stephen Gregg, Tony Fernandez, and Julie Meyer
Thursday, May 16 – Sunday, May 19. The group will spend about 3 hours working in the morning and the rest of the day practicing. The work will mostly revolve around planting and plant maintenance. More info and registration here. Please note that if you can’t make the whole time, you could join for just the weekend or even a day. You can indicate your availability in the form.

Memorial Day Retreat with Shelly Graf & Wynn Fricke
Thursday, May 23 – Monday, May 27. More info and registration here.

Teacher-Led Practice Period for Experienced Practitioners with Wynn Fricke
June 6th – June 19th. A prerequisite of 30 days of Insight residential retreat time is required. Participants may attend for 2-10 nights depending on experience. More info and registration here.

Residential Retreat with Ayya Niyyanika & Wynn Fricke
Thursday, June 20 – Sunday, June 23. More info and registration here.

Residential Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Tuere Sala
Sunday, July 7 – Friday, July 12. More info and registration here.

Save the Dates:

  • Divine Abodes Retreat with Patrice Koelsch Aug 15-18
  • Labor Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf Aug 24-Sept 2
  • Residential Retreat with Deborah Helzer Nov 12-16

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

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

  • Video Processor: Rachel Orville has been editing our videos for Youtube since 2020; on behalf of our whole community, thanks so much Rachel for all you do to make our teachings accessible to a global audience :) Rachel will be offline July and August, so we’re looking for someone to fill in during those months and maybe also help share the workload on an ongoing basis. If you have interest or questions, please email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org
  • Gardening! It’s that time again! Join in this Sunday April 21, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. for our spring garden clean-up or any third Sunday of the month after that for the regular garden workday. The May 19 garden work day will include an orientation for new garden volunteers from 12:00 – 12:30. To join the garden team email list, email info@commongroundmeditation.org.


Recognize Why Positive Mind States Arise

Make it a habit to reflect on your
state of mind not only when things
aren’t going well but also when things
are going well. Ask yourself questions
like: “What is happening?” “How is the
mind working?” “What attitude is pres-
ent?” “Why are things going so well
right now?” You need to recognize
the factors that contribute to
positive states of mind. 

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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