Weekly Email 7-20-21

Greetings Friends,

The Buddha taught that all conditions are impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self, and that in aligning with these truths, our hearts can let go of clinging and know deep peace. This process of our hearts reckoning and coming into alignment with these truths is what we call practice, and challenges all our habits of looking for ground in some kind of self-identification. We often struggle with the conditions of our lives, internal and external, because they are impermanent, unsatisfactory, and uncontrollable (not-self). The beauty of the Buddha’s teaching, for me, is their pointing to a paradigm shift where what changes isn’t conditions, but the mind and heart’s understanding and perspective on conditions. Can we imagine what kind of heart qualities would be supportive in meeting the moment just as it is in a beautiful way? This question is what keeps me interested in the continual development of the heart: the potential for a happiness, peace, and engagement with life no matter what conditions, challenging or beautiful, arise.


Gabe Keller Flores
Office Manager


Announcement: Helping Common Ground Purchase Land and Protect the Fields and Woods around our Prairie Farm Retreat Property
Common Ground is moving forward with the purchase of approximately 32 acres just to the east of our retreat property that is a beautiful mix of fields and mature woods. You can see the plot here. Please let Mark know if you are interested in helping make this purchase possible or you can go make a contribution here: Supporting the CenterPlease designate the gift “Prairie Farm Land”. Email mark@commongroundmeditation.org if you want additional information.


Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground

COVID Safety Protocol
There are no universal masking or social distancing requirements at Common Ground, though of course people may choose to wear masks if that makes them feel more at ease. The CDC and Minnesota Department of Health recommend that folks who are unvaccinated continue to wear masks and practice social distancing. We don’t have a vaccination requirement, but we continue to strongly encourage all community members who are able to get vaccinated to do so, out of compassion for our community. You can read more about the values guiding our reopening here.

Security at CG
As we begin reinhabiting our physical building, we want to strongly encourage participants to keep cars clear of anything that might appear to be valuable, as we have had break-ins in the past. Please bring your valuables into the building with you or leave them locked out of sight in your car. In addition, keep any backpacks, purses or valuables with you when you enter the meditation hall. Finally, there have been many bike thefts in the neighborhood these past months including one stolen from CG a few weeks ago even though it was locked to the center’s bike rack with a heavy steel bike lock.

Using Fragrance-Free Products
Some members of our community are very sensitive to chemicals, including fragrances, both synthetic and natural. Please refrain from using scented products. Thank you!

Sunday morning in-person option
We have started opening up the meditation hall on Sunday mornings for community members to gather to watch the 10:30am Sunday Weekly Practice Group livestream together on a screen. There will be a program host there to facilitate conversation for those who wish to stay afterwards. Mark will be teaching online from the office.

In Person Sunday evening Weekly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg
(The talk will cover the same material as the Sunday morning program.)

Community Tea and Dharma
Weekly on Tuesdays with Mark Nunberg, 8:00am-9:00am. More info here.

Silent Open Meditation In Person
Monday-Saturday, 7:30-8:30am,
Sundays 8:30-9:30am,
Wednesdays, 11:00am-12:00pm, &
Tuesdays from 7:30-9:00pm
more info here

Hybrid (In Person and Zoom): Mindful Yoga Level 1 with Nancy Boler

Tuesdays, 9:30-10:45am
Fridays, 9:30-10:45am

Hybrid: Teen Retreat with Gabe Keller Flores & Brian Young
Saturday, July 31st, 1:00-5:00pm. More info here.

Hybrid: Half-Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, August 14th, 1:00-5:00pm. Register here.

Hybrid: Daylong Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, August 21st, 9:30am-4:00pm. Register here.

Upcoming Programs: In Person at Prairie Farm

Prairie Farm is our retreat property in Wisconsin, about an hour and fifteen minute drive from Minneapolis. Registration is now open for the following programs there:

  • Practice Period at Prairie Farm with Dave Redelman and Nancy Boler
    Thursday evening, July 29 – Sunday morning, August 1.
  • BIPOC Women’s Practice Period with Jen Racho & Arleta Little (Registration full; waitlist only)
    5:30pm Thursday, August 5th – 1:00pm Sunday, August 8th
  • Work Retreat, Aug 9-13. There will be tasks for people of all skill levels. Register here.
  • Practice Period at Prairie Farm with Sarah Wilson and Dave Halsey
    Monday evening, August 23 – Thursday mid-day August 26
  • Hybrid: Labor Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf, Sep 1-6. We will be running the lottery for in-person spots next Tuesday, July 27th, so register before then if you want a chance at an in-person spot!
More info and registration for these programs can be found here. Please note that we are requiring vaccination for programs there this summer.

Upcoming Programs: Online

Tuesday, July 20th

  • Mark and Stacy lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 12:00pm-1:00pm on Zoom.
  • This week the Truth & Justice Vigil hosts Ralph Steele, a Vietnam veteran, practitioner of Theravada Buddhist meditation for over three decades, and guiding teacher at Life Transition Meditation Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 6:00-7:30pm on Zoom.
  • Wynn and Mark, Common Ground’s co-founders, are offering a 6-week Intro to Mindfulness course on Tuesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm, July 13th-August 17th, on Zoom. More info and registration here. It’s ok to join this week even if you missed last week. The Zoom link is in the public calendar.

Wednesday, July 21st

  • Jean Haley will lead the Weekly Practice Group, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom.

Thursday, July 22nd

  • The weekly Community Practice Check-In will be led by Sarah Wilson. Join in for a discussion/Q&A about our practice, 9:00am-10:00am on Zoom.
Friday, July 23rd
  • Stacy McClendon will lead the Lovingkindness Practice Group, 7:00pm-8:30pm, on Zoom.
Saturday, July 24th
  • In-person spots are full for the Daylong Retreat at Prairie Farm with Mark & Wynn, but you can still sign up to attend the Zoom option here.
Sunday, July 25th
  • Mark will lead the Weekly Practice Group, 10:30-11:45am on Zoom and Youtube.
  • Wynn Fricke & Mark Nunberg will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 4:30-5:30pm on Zoom.
Racial Affinity Group Meeting
Shelly Graf and Mark Nunberg are organizing an afternoon Zoom workshop on Saturday, July 31st, 1-3 p.m. central time for all those people interested in or currently part of a racial affinity group. More info and registration here.
These are program highlights. To see a complete list of all our programs and access Zoom links to participate, please visit the online calendar. Also, please note all times listed are in central time.

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

  • Looking for Teen Practice Group teachers: we are looking for a couple of teachers to join our Teen Practice Group teaching team this fall. Ideally teachers would have residential retreat experience, have been coming to the center for at least a year, and have experience working with youth. Please email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if interested. A modest stipend is provided.
  • Cooking for Practice Periods at Prairie Farm: There is a tradition in Buddhism of supporting people doing intensive retreat practice. We are always looking for volunteers interested in cooking and freezing meals ahead of time for retreatants at Prairie Farm. You can see a list of recipes here. Common Ground has pots and tupperware you can borrow for cooking and freezing. Contact gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if you wish to offer a meal. Or to donate in support of groceries for the retreatants, you can designate a gift for “PF Operating Expenses” here.


Community News   

Community Groups Meeting this Week
Find Zoom links at the public calendar.

  • Zoom: Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wed. July 21st, 7:30-9:00pm.

See the calendar for more info about these community groups.

Arrow River Forest Hermitage in Thunder Bay Looking for Steward
Some of you will be familiar with Arrow River Forest Hermitage, where one of CG’s longtime visiting teachers, Ajahn Punnadhammo is the resident Buddhist monk. The hermitage will be needing someone to act as steward for the fall and/or winter months. The best time to start would be early September. The steward is a volunteer position and is responsible for cooking the one meal a day, managing the kitchen and doing the shopping. It is strongly preferred if you have a driver’s license. For more information check out the Visitor’s Pageson their website. Please send all inquiries to arfh@xplornet.com and CC to akyle@lakeheadu.ca.

Co-Guiding Teacher Survey
If you missed the recent email requesting feedback for the Co-Guiding Teacher Hiring Committee, you can find it here.

Weekly Tejaniya
Don’t try to maintain equanimity;
only try to maintain awareness.

Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Thanks to the garden team for keeping the flowers happy and watered!

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