Weekly Email 4-26-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

Although we can probably agree that compassion is good, there is often confusion about what compassion actually is. Buddhist practice emphasizes a clear and intimate connection with our internal and external conditions, moment by moment. This exposure to life challenges and transforms our way of relating to the world. It tenderizes the heart. Compassion is this experience of the heart becoming tender. I remember a wise teacher saying, “Don’t go into dialogue if you don’t want to be transformed.”  When we open to life as it is, the defensive crust of the heart inevitably begins to soften, revealing greater and greater sensitivity. Initially, we may want to defend against this exposure because it seems dangerous to be feeling so much. The art of living a wise and compassionate life is to allow the heart to open and be touched by all the joys and sorrows. As we learn to trust our sensitive heart, we learn not to be confused by the intensity of this exposure. Instead, we can begin to feel enlivened by living in a more undefended way. It is the willingness to open fully that reveals the heart’s capacity for a more fearless, wise, and creative engagement with our world. May we all learn to trust this movement of compassion.

Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

Join in for these upcoming community events and programs!

Daylong Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Jen Racho and Stacy McClendon
Saturday, May 13th | 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
In-person only
Register here

Garden Workdays
Second Sundays | 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Join the garden team in caring for the perennial and rain gardens, beginning May 14th. All skill sets are welcome.

Spring Maintenance Day!
Saturday, May 20th | 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Join Common Ground’s Building Committee to spruce up the city center for the new year. All skill sets welcome

The Practice of Generosity

Ongoing 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 the 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, 10:30-11:45 am in-person and on Zoom with Mark Nunberg
    • May 14th with Wynn Fricke
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30 pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
    • May 14th with Ramesh Sairam
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 pm now in-person and on Zoom with Shelly Graf.
    • Tonight! Wednesday, April 26th with Meg Brandeland on the “Last Days of the Buddha: Reflections on the Mahaparinibbana Sutta“. Meg will be live-streamed into the dharma hall.
Monthly Practice Groups
    • Now in-person and on Zoom! First Fridays, 7:00-8:30 pm, Lovingkindness with Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon
    • NEW PROGRAM! First Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 pm, Developing the Art of Spiritual Inquiry with Ramesh Sairam. On Zoom in May & June.
Community Practice Check-Ins
  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30 pm, on Zoom with Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke, on Zoom
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 pm, on Zoom with Stacy McClendon, on Zoom
  • Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30 am, in-person with Shelly Graf, assisted by Robin Major
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00 am, on Zoom with Shelly Graf
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30 am-12:00 pm, 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, 7:00-8:30 pm.
In-person and on Zoom
MBSR-Based Mindfulness Practice with Nancy Boros
On Zoom only
Mondays, 12:00 -1:00 pm
InterPlay with Spruce Kraus
On Zoom only
Thursday, May 11th | 7:00-8:30pm
Youth Programs
  • Children’s Program: The Children’s Program is held on the 1st and 3rd Sundays, 10:30 – 11:45 am. 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 meet 10:30 – 11:30 am on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. You can join the Common Ground teen listserv by emailing info@commongroundmeditation.org.

Upcoming Programs at Common Ground’s City Center
To see the 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 Mark Nunberg
Saturday, May 6th | 1:00 pm-5:00 pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Stacy McClendon & Mark Nunberg
Six Classes: Tuesday, June 6th – Tuesday, July 11th
7:00 – 8:30pm CST
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Buddhist Studies with Mark Nunberg: Divine Abodes
Eight Classes: Mondays, June 12th – July 31st
Optional Sitting Period, 7:00 – 7:30 p.m.
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Daylong Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, June 24th | 9:30am – 4:00 pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Upcoming 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 upcoming programs at the retreat center can be found here

Embodying the Dharma: an Insight Meditation Retreat with Wynn Fricke and Shelly Graf
Thursday, June 1st- Sunday, June 4th
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Tree Sangha: a Work Practice Period with Stephen Gregg & Robin Major
Thursday, May 25- Monday, May 29th
In-person only at the retreat center
More info and registration here

Teacher-Led Practice Period with Wynn Fricke
Thursday, June 8th – Sunday, June 11th
In-person only at the retreat center
More info and registration here

Teacher-Led Practice Period with Wynn Fricke
Thursday, June 15th – Sunday, June 18th
In-person only at the retreat center
More info and registration here

Contemplative Arts Practice Period with Wynn Fricke and Richard Bonk
Thursday, June 22nd – Sunday, June 25th
In-person only at the retreat center
More info and registration 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, 6:30-7:45 pm. The groups are led by Dharma teachers and community leaders. More info about these Wednesday night programs here.

Current Volunteer Needs 

Please contact our Office Manager, 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 is necessary.
  • Office Volunteers: We are looking for one or more people with 1-2 years of 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 redo 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.
  • Wishlists: If you would like to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.

Community News 

Disability & Chronic Illness Sangha at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center
CIMC’s Disability & Chronic Illness Sangha would like to invite Common Ground community members who self-identify as disabled and/or chronically ill to join their Sangha online. If it would be supportive to practice with others in this way you can learn more and access the Zoom link here.

TCVC Retreat with Deborah Helzer & Vance Pryor
June 17th-24th
This retreat, organized by the Twin Cities Vipassana Collective, will be held at St Anthony Spirituality Center in Marathon, Wisconsin.  Click here for more info and registration.

Volunteer with Dharma Seed
Dharma Seed is recruiting volunteers for its new project to categorize its talk collection. Go here for more info.

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 the 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
  • Millennials Sangha, Friday, April 28th, 7:00-8:30 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, May 7th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Community Group for Organizers and Social Justice Activists, Thursday, May 11th, 6:00-7:30 PM
  • Community Group: Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, Sun, May 21, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

The Innate Nature of Our Mind is Wakefulness
The innate nature of our mind
is wakefulness, where nothing is
created. There are no conditions,
just bare awareness, and we
can reside in this.
 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

One of our Garden Team Leads, Kathleen Schuler, caring for Common Ground's rain garden this week

One of our Garden Team Leads, Kathleen Schuler, caring for Common Ground’s rain garden this week

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