Weekly Email 5-11-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,
Dear Common Ground Friends,

After spending much of April teaching at Common Ground’s Retreat Center, I am newly inspired by what we as a community have been able to do together over these past ten years since we purchased the retreat property. The building we converted was originally built as an Amish furniture workshop and family residence. It’s now a simple and beautiful Buddhist retreat center with 16 beds in the main building plus two staff spaces outside of the main building. We have finished an extensive multi year renovation and are now beginning to move into the second phase of the development of the property which involves the visioning of a long term site plan for the land around the retreat building. The possibilities include: more housing for staff and teachers, one or two retreat cabins in a remote location, campsites, a pagoda roof over the stone walkway, a garden walking meditation area to the west of the building, trails connecting these various places, a memorial garden for the ashes of community members in the Southeast area of the field, and Guiding Teacher housing in the Northwest corner of the property. We will take on projects based on the interest and support for continued development from our community. Common Ground has always taken a conservative approach to development. When the donations offered to the center are greater than our operating expenses, then we have spent some of this money on developing the two centers in ways that support the community’s practice. This is how we have ended up with two wonderful centers without any debt. With shifting economics over the past few years, Common Ground has seen a decrease in donations, though gratefully, donations continue to be sufficient enough to cover basic operating costs of both centers. 

For more detailed information about the center’s financial health, I invite you to read Rick Condon’s Annual Treasurer Letter to the Community. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like to learn more about how to support the future development of either of the two centers.


  • Community Leaders and Volunteers will be planting 400 native bushes and trees at our Retreat Center over Memorial Day weekend later this month. The community is invited to come out to the Retreat Center on Sunday afternoon, May 28th, 1-6 pm, if you want to assist in this planting project. For more information and to register go here.
  • Please join in for our twice yearly Maintenance Day at the City Center on Saturday, May 20, 9:00 am – 12:30pm
  • We are looking for volunteers for this summer’s mowing team at our City Center. 
  • Our garden committee hosts monthly garden work days, on the 2nd Sunday of the month, 12-2pm, following the weekly practice group. All are welcome. 
  • Cory Clementson and other leaders will be organizing the annual work retreat at the retreat center, July 17 – 28th. Contact info@commongroundmeditation to inquire about participating.

With Deep Gratitude,
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 – 12:30 pm
Come join the Building Committee for a morning of joyful cleaning, tweaking and fixing. Refreshments will be provided at 12:00.

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

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
    • May 17th with Jean Haley
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
    • Canceled Friday, May 12th
  • 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
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. Sunday, May 21st is the final day for the children’s program for this semester. The children’s program will begin back up after Labor Day.
  • 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

Daylong Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, May 27th | 9:30 pm-4:00 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 – 8:30 pm CST
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Enlightenment is an Accident: a Book Reading with Tim Burkett
Sunday, June 11th | 3:30 pm-5:00 pm
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 | 9:30 am – 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
Zoom spots available.
Register 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:

  • 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.
  • 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!
Sunday, June 18th | 12:00 – 1:30pm
Celebrate community and bring a vegetarian dish to share! There will be music. If you’re like to volunteer to help out before, during or after, click 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
  • 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 – 3:00 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, May 21st, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Millennials Sangha, Friday, May 26th, 7:00-8:30 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Every Experience Is A Tool to Develop Wisdom
Let any experience arise. Greed, hatred, and delusion are objects
like any other. Because we are getting to know them,
there is no need to fear them. Just know they are there.
They are tools for you to further, develop wisdom.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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