Weekly Email 7-20-22

Dear Common Ground Friends,

I was talking to some dharma friends recently and the question, “What would the Buddha be like in an intimate, sexual relationship?” came up. The question felt unanswerable but also inspiring, pointing to a deep wish to be free in all arenas of our lives, including our social and sexual lives. We may feel quite humbled by the prospect of living and acting completely free of greed, aversion, and delusion in this area of life, but we can begin by acknowledging that not including our social and sexual needs in the field of our mindfulness practice certainly isn’t the way towards increasing freedom and skill in this arena.

The Buddha’s path of liberation avoids repression of our natural desires on the one hand, and addiction and obsession with them on the other hand. This is often called the Middle Way, but this can be misunderstood as simply an avoidance of extremes and a recommendation of moderation. I think the real aim of this teaching is a shift in view of what our sensual/social/sexual lives are for/about in the first place. Are they personal, personally meaningful, an appropriate container for self-identity, status, and comparing ourselves with others? Or are they simply nature, the kamma of being born a social, sexual, tribal mammal, just another aspect of our conditioning to relate to with wisdom and compassion? If we take this part of life personally, we will try to control these natural forces either through greed and appropriation or through denial and repression. It’s only the view that understands these forces as nature that allows them to be seen as they are, without grasping, and that allows for more skill, integrity, freedom, and compassion in relating to them and choosing how we do or don’t act on them.

If this topic is of interest to you, feel free to join me Wednesday evening, July 20th at the Zoom Weekly Practice Group, as I will be sharing reflections on this topic and would love to hear your reflections and questions as well.

Wishing us all freedom, joy, connection, and peace in our lives,
Gabe Keller Flores

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 in-person and on Zoom with Mark Nunberg
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom with Shelly Graf
    • Wednesday, July 20th with Gabe Keller Flores
    • Wednesday, July 27th with Ramesh Sairam
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
    • Friday, July 22nd with Robin Major
    • Friday, July 29th Peer-Led
  • 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.
In-person and on Zoom
Visit the calendar for Zoom link

– Kevin Griffin joining via Zoom on August 19th

Upcoming Programs: Online Only

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 -1:00pm

InterPlay with Spruce Krause
Thursday, August 11th | 7:00 -8:30pm

Mindful Self-Compassion Practice Group with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst
Friday, August 19th | 7:00 -8:30pm

Upcoming Programs: In Person/Hybrid at Common Ground
To see full list of programs visit our calendar
Daylong Retreat with Meski Mebatsion & Mark Nunberg
Saturday, July 23rd | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Info and registration here.
Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, August 6th | 1:00pm-5:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Info and registration here.
Living the Practice Workshop: Understanding Healing and Awakening
with Femi Akinnagbe, Shelly Graf, and Mark Nunberg

Saturday, Aug 13th, 2022 | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In- person and on Zoom
Info and registration here
Daylong Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, August 20th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Info and registration here.
Young Adult Daylong Retreat
with Meg Brandeland and Gabe Keller Flores

Saturday, August 27th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Info and registration here
Save the Dates!
Daylong Retreat with Kevin Griffin
Saturday, September 24th | 10:00am – 5:00pm
More info and registration coming soon
Half-Day Retreat with Kevin Griffin
Sunday, September 25th
For Recovery Community Only
More info and registration coming soon
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.
Labor Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf
6:15pm Sunday, August 28th – 10:30am Monday, September 5th
Register here
In addition to these weekend retreats, 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.

Mindful Service Cleaning Afternoon 
Common Ground Meditation Center in Minneapolis, MN
Sunday, July 24th | 3:30pm – 6:15pm
Join Robin Major and Dave Redelman for an afternoon of deep cleaning. Refreshments will be provided before Mark Nunberg’s Practice Group begins at 7:00pm.

Current Volunteer Needs 
Please contact Robin Major at robin@commongroundmeditation.org if you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities:

  • Children’s Program: We are looking for a volunteer or two to help lead the reforming of Common Ground’s children’s group. If you are interested, have been practicing for awhile, and have skill in youth work, please send a letter of interest to Robin.
  • Website volunteer: We are looking for a volunteer to help post upcoming programs to the website. Experience with WordPress preferred.
  • Trailer need: We’re in need of a means to haul a 20ft. steel beam to Common Ground Retreat Center the week of July 11th. It’s only about 250 lbs but quite long. Let us know if you have a long enough trailer we could borrow (16ft. is ideal but maybe 12ft. would work).
  • Truck need: We are looking for a vehicle to transport two donated armchairs to Common Ground Retreat Center in Western WI. If you are planning to head out to the Retreat Center this summer and would be interested in transporting the chairs, please let us know.

Community News 

Articles from the Buddhist Justice Reporter
Please take a moment to read these articles on the themes of racial and social justice from an anti-racist Buddhist lens. The Buddhist Justice Reporter is a Kataly Foundation-funded project that Common Ground is a fiscal sponsor for.

The Ethics of Abortion: A Black Mama’s Wise Contemplation by Zenzele Isoke
Right Remembering: An Antidote to Scapegoing’s Erasure by Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Upcoming Community Group Meetings:

  • Be Queer Now, weekly on Wednesday, 7:30-9:00pm
  • Refirement Community Group for Retirees, Thursday July 21st, 12:00-2:00pm
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, Thursday July 21st, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Millenials Sangha, Friday, July 22nd, 7:00-8:30pm
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, August 7th, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Community Group for Organizers & Social Justice Activists, Thursday August 11th, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Buddhism & Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, August 13th, 9:00 – 10:15am

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.

Weekly Tejaniya

When there is right prac-
tice, there’s a sense of wanting
to explore even difficult experi-
ences. You’ll enjoy the practice,
and you’ll want to keep practic-
ing. All experiences can lead
to good meditation.

Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Kuan Yin resting in the hot dharma summer

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