Weekly Email 8-10-2021

Dear Common Ground Friends,

In the early Buddhist teachings there is a strong emphasis on developing the spiritual skills needed to keep one’s heart established with an attitude of friendliness. We call this meditative training metta practice. One of my teachers talks about four distinct and increasingly refined meditative skills that can be cultivated. First, we learn how to arouse metta, an open giving heart, as our ongoing sincere attitude of mind. This can be done by creatively directing our attention toward experiences, memories, and phrases that evoke the actual present moment attitude of friendliness and goodness. We can ask, “What, when I bring it to mind, naturally and effectively turns this heart away from aversive states and toward mental states of loving kindness?” The second skill is to begin to notice the distinct experience of the upwelling of good wishes for oneself and others. This is a natural opening of the heart often expressed as wishes for ease and well being. This generosity of the heart, given time and wise cultivation, will blossom into a more and more boundless refined radiance of goodness of heart. Keeping this beautiful radiance in mind and noticing its boundless nature is the third skill to be developed in the practices of metta. Finally, we are asked to wean the mind from our ideas of “doing” metta practice to “being” this radiant goodness of heart. We call this fourth step learning how to abide or rest with this loving, friendly heart.

May we all learn how to live our days abiding with a wise kindness,

Mark Nunberg


Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground

Sunday morning in-person option
The meditation hall is open 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

Community Tea and Dharma
Weekly on Tuesdays, 8:00am-9:00am. This week Sharon Sebring will be leading. 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 hereIn-Person/Zoom: Half-Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, August 14th, 1:00-5:00pm. Register here.In-Person/Zoom: Daylong Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, August 21st, 9:30am-4:00pm. Register here.In-Person/Zoom: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course with Mark Nunberg
6 Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00pm: September 14th – October 19th. More info and registration here.

Upcoming Programs: In Person at Prairie Farm

Prairie Farm is our retreat center 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 Sarah Wilson and Dave Halsey
    Monday evening, August 23 – Thursday mid-day August 26
  • Practice Period at Prairie Farm with Julie Meyer and Tony Fernandez
    Thursday evening, September 23 – Sunday mid-day, September 26
Practice periods are opportunities for independent retreat practice in a community retreat container of up to 9 people. More info and registration for these programs can be found here. Please note that we are requiring vaccination and masking for programs there this summer.

Upcoming Programs: OnlineTuesday, August 10th

  • Mark and Stacy lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 12:00pm-1:00pm on Zoom.
  • This week the Truth & Justice Vigil hosts Vimalasara (Valerie Mason-John), a poet, public speaker, and award winning author of 9 books. Vimalasara is a senior teacher in the Triratna Buddhist Community and a leading African descent voice of mindfulness for addiction. 6:00-7:30pm on Zoom.

Wednesday, August 11th

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

Thursday, August 12th

  • The weekly Community Practice Check-In will be peer-led this week and will explore racism through an inquiry into whiteness and domination. 9:00am-10:00am on Zoom.
  • Spruce Krause will lead Interplay, an exploration of old habit energy and the discovery of new possibilities through movement, words, sounds, stillness, and connection, 7:00-8:30pm on Zoom.
Saturday, August 14th
  • Ramesh Sairam will lead the biweekly Dharma Practice Reflections, 10:30am-12:00pm, over Zoom.
Sunday, August 15th
  • 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.
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

  • Biweekly Sunday Evening Cleaning: Every other Sunday evening there is drop-in Community Cleaning time from 6-7pm, led by community leader Dave Redelman. Upcoming dates: Aug 22.
  • 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   

New Bike Rack in Basement of CG
If you’d feel more comfortable locking your bike up in the basement, that is now an option! We have a chain affixed to two columns in the room under the Community Room; feel free to lock your bike there during programs. You can bring your bike down the back stairwell to access the room. If the back door is locked, ask a program host to help you unlock it.

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!

Community Groups Happening This Week

  • Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wed. Aug 11th. On Zoom, 7:30-9:00pm.
  • Organizers and Social Justice Activists, Thurs. Aug 12th. On Zoom, 6:00-7:30pm.
  • Buddhism/Christianity Book Group, Sat. Aug 14th. On Zoom, 9:00-10:15am.
  • Friends and Family of People with Mental Illness, Sun. Aug 15th. On Zoom, 1:00-2:30pm.
  • Mindfulness and Depression Community Group, Sun. Aug 15th. In Person/On Zoom, 4:00-5:30pm.
  • Dharma Friends Sit & Discussion, Sun. Aug 15th. On Zoom, 7:00-8:00pm.

Article from Ben Connelly on Line 3
Priest and teacher at MN Zen Center and local intersangha leader Ben Connelly has written an article for Lion’s Roar regarding participating in the Stop Line 3 movement. You can read it here.

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.

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 Center. Please designate the gift “Prairie Farm Land”. Email mark@commongroundmeditation.org if you want additional information.

Print Newsletter
Our Summer 2021 newsletter is available at Common Ground and in our newsletter box outside the front door. You can view the PDF here.

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
Whenever you are experiencing
an emotion, ask yourself the question:
“Am I going to feel the emotion, or be
aware of the emotion?” In other words,
are you going to watch it as an uninvolved
observer, or are you going to participate in
the emotion? This has made a big dif-
ference for a lot of yogis.

Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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