Weekly Email 4-6-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,
The Buddha taught, “Whoever is addicted to society and worldly bustle, they will not partake of the happiness of renunciation, dispassion, peace, awakening.” Our awareness practice is an invitation to wholeness. We practice recognizing the activities of the mind and body and learning to allow them to arise and pass away, to express their nature. Awareness practice requires a deepening trust in renunciation. Renunciation is experienced as a letting go or a letting be, but it can also be understood as a profound giving of ourselves to the moment just as it is. We are learning to give away our need to hold on to our fixed ideas and views.

Our habits of liking and dislikely will continue according to our conditioning, but we learn that we can relate to these preferences with a wise spaciousness and even a sense of humor about how seductive these attachments appear to be. Awareness and renunciation reveals to us that it is not possible to be in control and open and free at the same time. Can we trust an exposure to life with all of its joys and sorrows? Can it be safe to be feeling so much? Renunciation or non attachment isn’t a strategy to avoid feeling, it is a realization that allows us to deeply connect and respond with a generous uncontrived kindness that isn’t bound up with fixed ideas of good and bad.

Bhikkhu Bodhi, in his book The Noble Eightfold Path, writes, “To move from desire to renunciation is not, as might be imagined, to move from happiness to grief, from abundance to destitution. It is to pass from gross, entangling pleasures to an exalted happiness and peace, from a condition of servitude to one of self-mastery. Desire (with attachment) ultimately breeds fear and sorrow, but renunciation gives fearlessness and joy.”

Please consider joining in for our Spring Community Practice Intensive, April 10-29. Sarah Wilson and I will lead participants in the study and application of the wisdom and joy of renunciation. You can find out more information HERE.
Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

The Practice of Generosity

Regular 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
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30 pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 pm now in-person and on Zoom with Shelly Graf.
Monthly Practice Groups
  • Now in-person and on Zoom! First Fridays, 7:00-8:30 pm, Lovingkindness with Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon

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 Krause
On Zoom only
Thursday, April 13th | 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

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

Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf & Jen Racho
Saturday, April 8th | 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
In-person and on Zoom
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 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

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

Sound Bath Meditation with Marc Anderson
2:00-3:30 pm, Sunday, April 23rd
In-person only
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

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

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

Masculinity & Status: A Daylong Conversation
Saturday, April 8th | 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
In-person and on Zoom
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
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Tranquility & Insight Retreat with Gabe Keller Flores & Mark Nunberg
Tuesday, April 18th – Sunday, April 23rd
In-person only
Register 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

June Practice Periods
Common Ground Co-Founder and teacher Wynn Fricke will be in residence at the retreat center through the month of June. Click here to learn more about the teacher-led practice periods Wynn will be offering that month.

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 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 

Community Potluck!
Join in for Common Ground’s Spring community potluck on April 16th from 12:00-1:30. Bring a vegetarian dish to share!  If you’d like to volunteer before, during, or after the event you can sign up here.

New Article from our friends at Buddhist Justice Reporter (BJR)
Authored by Zenzele Isoke: Let’s Not Walk on Dead Bodies

Volunteers in Prison
A few Common Ground community members are working with prison facilitators to restart 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.

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
  • Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, April 8th, 9:00-10:30 AM
  • Community Group for Organizers and Social Justice Activists, Thursday, April 13th, 6:00-7:30 PM
  • NEW! Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, Sunday, April 16th, 1:30 – 3:00 pm
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, April 16th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Millennials Sangha, Friday, April 28th, 7:00-8:30 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Don’t Try to Stop Thoughts and Thinking
When you try to get rid of
thoughts, you are actually trying
to control them, rather than learn-
ing to understand them.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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