Weekly Email 6-28-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

Ajahn Chah, an influential Thai Buddhist monk, encouraged us to contemplate the formless nature of mind. When we investigate, we feel there is force to mental activity, but that activity lacks a center or edges. When we have mental/emotional pain, where is it? We sense reverberations in the body, but those sensations aren’t the location or source of our suffering. The nature of mental/emotional pain can be compared to a whirlpool that is fueled by craving and that dissolves back into still water when the craving is gone. The whirlpool, though powerful, has no separate substance.

When we are flailing under the difficulty of pain, we tend to judge ourselves, which is a subtle form of craving born of self-view. Let’s aspire to replace judgment with allowing – allowing the pain and allowing the flailing. They both can be known. The space of allowing is itself kindness and wisdom and anchors us squarely in the present moment. We can feel its impersonal qualities of non-friction, of stillness, and of knowing. By contrast, craving states of mind, when separated from mindful presence, are deluded by definition. We are lost in them. We can consider Ajahn Chah’s ‘still flowing water’ paradox. Whirlpools of mental activity and the stillness of ‘knowing’ can be found in the same present moment. Our path of practice and our destination are located in the same and only present moment.  We begin to intuit that there is nothing else.

Metta (lovingkindness),

Wynn Fricke

Co-Founder Common Ground Meditation Center

“Have you ever seen flowing water? Have you ever seen still water? If your mind is peaceful, it will be just like still, flowing water. Have you ever seen still, flowing water? There! You’ve only ever seen flowing water and still water, haven’t you? But you’ve never seen still, flowing water. Right there, right where your thinking can not take you, even though it’s peaceful you can develop wisdom. Your mind will be like flowing water, and yet it’s still. It’s almost as if it were still, and yet it’s flowing. So I call it `still, flowing water.’ Wisdom can arise here.” Ajahn Chah

Maneuvering the Simple Complexity and Complex Simplicity of Dhamma Practice with Nils Heymann
Sunday, June 29, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
In-person and on Zoom
No registration needed

Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, July 1st | 1:00 pm – 5:00 PM
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

The Practice of Generosity

Programs with our Co-Guiding Teachers
Visiting our online calendar is the best way to find the correct times and Zoom links. 

Labor Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf, assisted by Gabe Keller Flores and Stacy McClendon
In-person at the city center, In-person at the retreat center and on Zoom
Saturday evening, August 26th – midday Monday, September 4th
More info and registration here

With Shelly Graf

Weekly Practice Group with Shelly
Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 PM now in-person and on Zoom with Shelly Graf

  • June 28th with Mark Nunberg

Community Practice Check-ins
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 and every other Friday with Shelly and Jen Racho

Half-Day Retreats with Shelly Graf

  • Saturday, July 1st | 1:00 pm – 5:00 PM | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
  • Saturday, Aug 5th | 1:00 pm – 5:00 PM | In-person and on Zoom Register here

With Mark Nunberg

Weekly Practice Groups with Mark:
Sundays, 10:30 – 11:45am,  In-person, on Zoom, and live-streamed to YouTube
Sundays, 7:00 – 8:30pm, In-person only

Lovingkindness Practice Group
First Fridays, 7:00-8:30 PM, with Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon, on Zoom

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, joined by Mark Nunberg on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.

Daylong Retreats with Mark Nunberg

  • Saturday, July 29th | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
  • Saturday, Aug 19th with Ramesh Sairam | In-person and on Zoom | Register here

Ongoing and Upcoming Programs
As always, our online calendar is the best way to find the correct times and Zoom links. 

Open Meditation
Check our online calendar for times and details. There are many opportunities for silent meditation, 7 days a week, in-person and on Zoom.

Monthly Practice Groups
  • First Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 PM, Developing the Art of Spiritual Inquiry with Ramesh Sairam. On Zoom only.
Community Practice Check-Ins
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30 am-12:00 PM, on Zoom with Ramesh Sairam
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM, on Zoom with Stacy McClendon, on Zoom, joined by Mark Nunberg on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.
Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times weekly, both in person and online.
Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30 PM.
In-person and on ZoomMindfulness Self-Compassion with Jane Rauenhorst & Jean Haley
Friday, July 21st, 7:00-8:30 PM
On Zoom only
Youth Programs
The Children’s Program and Teen Group are on pause for the summer


Programs at our Retreat Center
Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis.

CLICK HERE for more info and registration for retreat center programs. We have many upcoming practice periods and retreats. 

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 

Stacy McClendon in Lion’s Roar!
Common Ground teacher Stacy McClendon was recently interviewed for the Lion’s Roar podcast about how mindfulness can transform the way we think about work.

Mimi Jennings Celebration of Life
The Life Celebration for long time Common Ground community member will take place on July 15th at St. Catherine’s College. Click here for the invitation to the Common Ground community.

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
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, July 2nd, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, July 8th, 9:00 – 10:30 AM
  • Community Group: Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, Sunday, July 16th, 1:30 – 3:00 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Keep a Light Awareness Going Steady in the Mind
A light, general awareness allows us
to do all our daily activities,
while it works steadily in the background.
It’s not continuous to start,
but eventually, it gains momentum.
When it becomes natural and continuous,
you’ll feel like you’re living this awareness
in everything that you do.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Community member Jenny Wrenson planting flowers in the Common Ground garden in Minneapolis

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