Weekly Email 4-27-22

Dear Common Ground Community,

 There is sometimes confusion about the emphasis on retreat practice at Buddhist centers. You might have the reasonable thought that running or hiding from the messiness of our lives is not a lasting answer to our problems. How do we resolve this apparent contradiction?  One of the first lessons we learn when retreating is that it is not an escape from life, but rather it is a powerful turning towards life as it is. When we are on retreat we purposely set aside many of the ways we distract ourselves from our lived and felt experience. It is this exposure to the activities of our mind, heart and body that makes retreating a difficult and transforming practice.  As long as we remain in our habitual settings, our minds tend to act out in their usual ways. When we simplify our inner and outer environment through meditation and reducing the opportunities for socializing, it becomes easier to recognize the skillfulness and unskillfulness of the mind’s habits. Awakening and freedom depend on deepening insights regarding ways of relating to experience that are stressful and lead to more and more stress, and ways of relating that are conducive to wisdom, compassion and liberation. In order to transform our understanding, we will need the support that retreat experience provides by helping to minimize the deluding effects arising from the complexity of our human lives. It is a great and rare gift to be able to retreat from our duties and responsibilities for a period of retreat practice whether it is a half a day or three months. May we all offer ourselves the healing gift of a retreat, however short it needs to be.


Mark Nunberg

Opportunities for Retreating at the Retreat Center:


Embodied Dharma: an Insight Meditation Retreat with Ayya Niyyanika, Shelly Graf, and Wynn Fricke

5:30pm Thursday, June 2nd – 12:30pm Sunday, June 5th
Register here

Mindful Gardening Practice Period with Julie Meyer & Tony Fernandez
5:30pm Tuesday, May 3rd – 2:00pm Sunday, May 8th
Register here

Practice Period with Tracey Ghilardi & Robin Major
5:30pm Thursday, May 19th – 2:00pm Sunday, May 22nd
Register here

Practice Period for BIPOC Practitioners with Jen Racho & Zenzele Isoke
5:30pm Thursday, May 26th – 2:00pm Sunday, May 29th
Register here

June Practice Periods with Wynn Fricke & Gabe Keller-Flores
More info and registration here

Opportunities for Retreating at the City Center

Half-day Retreat with Shelly Graf 
Saturday, May 7th, 1:00pm-5:00pm
In Person or on Zoom. More info and registration here.

Daylong Retreat with Mark Nunberg 
Saturday, May 28th, 9:30am – 4:00pm
In Person or on Zoom. More info and registration here.

Half-day Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, June 4th 1:00 – 5:00pm
In Person or on Zoom. More info and registration here.

Labor Day Retreat with Shelly Graf & Mark Nunberg
Save the Date! Registration opens near the end of May. 

August 28th – September 5th
In person at the city center, the retreat center or on Zoom


Weekly Programs

To view our entire list of programs and to access Zoom links to participate in online programs, please visit the online calendar

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Sunday mornings, 10:30-11:45am on Zoom with Mark Nunberg (with an option to watch the livestream together in person in the meditation hall)
  • 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
  • Fourth Fridays, 7:00-8:30pm on Zoom, Lovingkindness with Stacy McClendon
  • First Fridays, 7-8:30pm on Zoom, Lovingkindness with Mark Nunberg

Community Practice Check-Ins

  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30pm with Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke, on Zoom
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00pm with Stacy McClendon (Mark Nunberg joining on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month), on Zoom
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am with Shelly Graf, on Zoom
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm with Ramesh Sairam, on Zoom
  • Every first Tuesday of the month, 8:00-9:00am, with Mark Nunberg, in person
Open Meditation
Join fellow community members for meditation practice in person or online, 7 days a week. Visit the calendar for times and details.Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times a week, both in person and online. Click here for times and details.

Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom only.

Upcoming Programs: Online

To see full list of programs and access Zoom links for online programs visit our calendar.
MBSR-Based Mindfulness Practice with Nancy Boros
Mondays, 12:00-1:00pmBook Study: The Citadel of Awareness with Merra Young
Wednesday, April 20th, 12:15 – 1:30pm

InterPlay with Spruce Krause
Thursday, May 12th 7:00 – 8:30pm

Mindful Self-Compassion Practice Group with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst
Friday, May 20th 7:00 -8:30pm

Upcoming Programs: In Person/Hybrid at Common Ground
For upcoming retreats, please see above, or click here.

Sound Bath Meditation with Marc Anderson
Sunday, May 22nd 2:00 – 4:00pm
In Person Only
More info and registration here.

Writing as a Practice of Freedom: a Workshop with Shannon Gibney
June 19th 2:00 – 4:00pm
In Person Only
More info and registration 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. Registration for all programs can be found here.
In addition to the retreats listed above, we also offer public drop-in groups on select Wednesdays at the retreat center, 6:30-7:45pm.
  • First Wednesday of the month: Community Group led by Matthew King and other practice leaders
  • Third Wednesday of the month: Monthly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg and guest teachers
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 

  • Wish List for the retreat center: We are looking for a large cooking pot (sized for 15 or more servings) and comfy sitting chairs for the bedrooms.
  • Weekly Sunday Evening Cleaning: Every Sunday evening there is a drop-in Community Cleaning time from 6-7pm, led by community leaders Brad Dupre and Dave Redelman. No RSVP needed.
  • Bellringers (in-person): We’re looking for volunteers interested in ringing the bell for the morning sits on Tuesday mornings, 8:00-8:30am. Email info@commongroundmeditation.org if interested.

Community News 

Garden Work Day!

Friday April 29th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Spring is finally here! We’re inviting Garden Team members and anyone who wants to join us. All levels of garden experience welcome! Follow up garden work days will be on the first Saturday of the month from 10am – 12pm. If you’d like to be added to the garden listserv, please contact Kathleen at keschuler47@gmail.com or robin@commongroundmeditation.org.We have some garden needs and positions to fill. If interested, please contact Kathleen at keschuler47@gmail.com.  

Spring Maintenance Day!
Thursday, May 19th from 9:00am – 12:30pm
Join the city center Building Committee to participate in a day of maintenance, repairs and deep cleaning of the building.
Refreshments will be provided

Upcoming Community Group Meetings

  • Be Queer Now, weekly on Wednesday, 7:30-9:00pm
  • Millenials Sangha, Friday April 29th, 7:00 – 8:30pm
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, May 1st, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, Thursday May 5th, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Community Group for Organizers & Social Justice Activists, Thursday May 12th, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Christianity-Buddhism Book Group, May 14th, 9:00 – 10:15am
  • Refirement Community Group for Retirees, Thursday May 19th, 12:00-2:00pm

View public calendar for Zoom links and more information.
To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Teen Practice Group
For more info, click here.

In honor of Thích Nh?t H?nh’s teachings and life of

compassionate action, we share this timely video

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