Weekly Email 7-20-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

One of the beautiful things about faith as a functional force in our lives as spiritual beings is that it moves us ever closer to what matters most. Faith leads us to a wise participation with life, learning to nurture what aligns with our deepest values and both wisely and lovingly acknowledge what doesn’t.

Faith is the initiating energy behind our willingness to acknowledge the elusive beliefs and views we hold. Once we see them, we can explore their utility in our lives and in the world. We can start to see how the ideas and stories we carry shape our relationship to all the mysteries of living and dying. We learn to loosen the grip on those that get in the way of our own and our collective freedom and linger in the felt sense of those that are onward leading.

It can be useful to have teachers and guides, but what is most important is to be creatively guided by life as it moves through us. Our lived experience—what’s moving in our own hearts, what we feel, what we sense, how life is expressing itself to us—that is the way it is. That’s the stuff that we get to work with.

Let’s be moved by life together and tune into what guides and shapes our actions. We can all agree to be learners, uncovering along the way, our deepest values and what gets in the way of living them out. You can read here, a longer article I wrote on faith for Insight Meditation Society, based on a talk I offered there a few months back.

Warm Wishes,
Shelly Graf

Announcing 1:1 Meetings 
Along with Co-Guiding Teachers, Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf, we are grateful that Common Ground dharma teachers Kyoko Katayama, Ramesh Sairam, and Patrice Koelsch are now offering to guide students on the path in individual meetings. As there is limited space, please consider their public offerings a good place for questions and connection, and feel welcome to sign up for an individual meeting if that is a more beneficial form given your circumstances. To sign up for a 1:1 meeting click 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 Mark Nunberg

Weekly Practice Groups with Mark:
Sundays, 10:30 – 11:45 AM,  in-person, on Zoom, and live-streamed to YouTube

  • July 23rd with Shelly Graf

Sundays, 7:00 – 8:30 PM, in-person only

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

Community Practice Check-ins
Sundays, 4:30-5:30 PM, on Zoom with Wynn Fricke, Zoom only
Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM, on Zoom with Stacy McClendon, Zoom only, Mark joins on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Mark Nunberg

  • Daylong: Saturday, July 29th | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
  • Daylong: Saturday, Aug 19th with Ramesh Sairam | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
  • Half-Day: Saturday, Sep 9th | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Mark Nunberg & Gabe Keller Flores
Six Tuesdays: September 5th – October 10th | In-person and on Zoom
Register here

With Shelly Graf

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

  • July 26th with Mark Nunberg
  • August 2nd with Mark Nunberg

Community Practice Check-ins
Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30 AM, in-person only, assisted by Robin Major
Fridays, 9:00-10:00 AM, Zoom only, every other Friday with Jen Racho

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Shelly Graf

  • Half-Day: Saturday, Aug 5th | In-person and on Zoom Register here
  • Daylong: Saturday, Sep 30th | In-person and on Zoom | Register here

Upcoming Teacher-Led Programs

Waking Up with the Heavenly Messengers:
A Workshop with Meg Brandeland and Sandra Shallcross

Saturday, August 12th | 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
In-person and on Zoom
More info and registration here

Mindfulness & Physical Pain: a Workshop with Ramesh Sairam
Saturday, August 26th | 1:00 – 4:00 PM
In-person only
More info and registration here

Ongoing Teacher-Led 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 Zoom
MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Practice with Nancy Boros
Mondays, 12:00 – 1:00 PM
On Zoom only
Mindfulness 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 

Supporting a Community Member
Longtime leader and community member Chaiya Isenberg had hip surgery on Tuesday, July 18th. Chaiya would appreciate the community’s love and support as she recovers, including someone to drive them occasionally as needed. Chaiya lives in St. Louis Park. Contact the center for Chaiya’s contact information and we’ll get you in touch: info@commongroundmeditation.org

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 Sangha is on Summer Break, returning in September.
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, 6:30-8:00 PM
  • Refirement Group, Thursday, July 20th, 12:00-2:00 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, August 6th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, August 12th, 9:00 – 10:30 AM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Beginners Mind
Once you become more experienced in meditation,
you will start thinking that you understand what it is about.
But jumping to such a conclusion
will prevent you from deepening your understanding.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Happy retreatants at last Saturday’s closing meal for the Joy of Renunciation Practice Period

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