Weekly Email 8-2-21

Greetings Everyone,

As you may know, the CDC recently issued new guidance regarding mask-wearing, even for vaccinated people, in areas of high virus transmission, due to new evidence on the delta variant currently circulating in the United States. Hennepin County (and most of the metro area)’s transmission rate is substantial enough to warrant this extra level of precaution, according to the CDC. Although State and City leaders haven’t issued a mandate, we at Common Ground will follow the CDC recommendations and the recommendations of our doctor advisors. So, starting today, masks are again required for all participants in programs at Common Ground and at Prairie Farm, our retreat property (vaccination is also required at Prairie Farm). Hopefully the surge due to the new variant will pass in the next few weeks or at worst months. As always, we will follow the recommendations from health experts in order to keep our communities safe. Please stay tuned to this weekly email for the latest announcements regarding our COVID policies as we continue monitoring the evolving conditions of the pandemic over the coming months. For now, thank you for wearing a mask when you visit Common Ground.

As a result of this change, Mindful Yoga will go back to being online only for the time being. All other in-person programs will continue, with the mask requirement: the Sunday evening Weekly Practice Group, the Sunday morning in-person option, the Tuesday morning Tea and Dharma Discussion, monthly Half-Day and Daylong retreats, and the Open Meditation times. Masks aren’t required for groups meeting outside in the garden.

This is a good time to check in with the mind. How does this news land? What reactions does the mind have? Can we acknowledge the uncertainty and imperfection of the conditions of our world and keep our hearts open, nimble, and interested? Can we hold the suffering we sense in and around us with compassion? And can we stay open to joy and goodness as they flow within us and around us? The Buddha encouraged us to develop the heart, so that we can rely on it in times good and bad. May we be inspired to cultivate this heart for the benefit of all beings.



Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground

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 Patrice Koelsch
Patrice will lead the Weekly Practice Group this Sunday, August 8th.

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

In-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 property in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. Registration is now open for the following programs there:
  • 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
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: Online

Tuesday, August 3rd
  • Mark and Stacy lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 12:00pm-1:00pm on Zoom.
  • This week the Truth & Justice Vigil hosts Marisela Gomez, a public health scholar, mindfulness practitioner, social justice activist, community builder, and author. 6:00-7:30pm on Zoom.

Wednesday, August 4th

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

Thursday, August 5th

  • Sarah Wilson will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. 9:00am-10:00am on Zoom.
  • The bimonthly Black, Indigenous, People of Color Practice Group meets 6:30-8:00pm over Zoom.
Friday, August 6th
  • Mark Nunberg will lead the Lovingkindness Practice Group, 7:00-8:30pm, over Zoom.
Sunday, August 8th
  • 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 8 & 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
There have been many bike thefts in the neighborhood these past months including one stolen from CG a about a month ago even though it was locked to the center’s bike rack with a heavy steel bike lock. 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!

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
I have a scheme to combat anger: The
“Angry 0-1-0 Formula.” Whenever I notice
anger is at level 1, I will attend to it and bring
it back down to 0, because a small fire can turn
into a big fire. It can get out of control and go to
level 10 very quickly. I have learned how to see
very subtle anger emerging, so when I see the
irritation in my mind, I automatically bring
it back to 0 before it builds. I will do any-
thing necessary to make sure my
anger comes back to 0.

Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Photo of Common Ground Retreat at Prairie Farm by Ari Lindquist

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