Weekly Email 8-24-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

The Buddha recognized the importance of having a training ground for the development and maintenance of present moment awareness. In one well known passage the Buddha said, “When one thing is practiced & pursued, the body is calmed, the mind is calmed, thinking & evaluating are stilled, and all qualities on the side of clear knowing go to the culmination of their development. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body. When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit ‘I am’ is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body.”

It is not enough to have the intention to be mindful, we need to specifically train the mind due to its existing habits of distractedness, superficiality and mental proliferation. Fortunately we always have our bodily experience, here and now, to practice connecting, allowing, and cultivating a willingness to feel whatever is present to feel. Developing an authentic interest in the current of bodily sensations is healing and liberating. It can lead to a deep renunciation of the many entanglements the thinking constructs. Instead, awareness can open to what is simple and immediate, “It feels like this now.” In any moment, wisdom and awareness can recognize that bodily sensations are being felt here and now. Can this be OK?

We are working hard to restart the children’s programs in September. Please let us know if you might be interested in having your child(ren) participate in these programs. Also, we are looking for adults to support our youth teachers. Let Shelly Graf (shelly@commongroundmeditation.org) know if you are interested in volunteering to support these youth programs.

Finally, long time community leader and friend Cory Clementson is recovering well from his spinal surgery. His friends have started a Go Fund Me page with updates and ways to support him during his long recovery journey.


Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

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. 

With Shelly Graf

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

  • 8/30 Shelly will be livestreamed into the dharma hall

Community Practice Check-ins

Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30 AM, in-person only, assisted by Robin Major

  • Canceled August 30th
Fridays, 9:00-10:00 AM, Zoom only, every other Friday with Jen Racho

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Shelly Graf

  • Daylong: Saturday, Sep 30th | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
Skillful Means: Using Buddhist and Western Psychology in the Service of Liberation from Suffering–A Workshop with Shelly Graf and Gabe Keller Flores
Saturday, September 16th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In-person only
Register here

With Mark Nunberg

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

  • Half-Day: Saturday, Sep 9th | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
  • Half-Day: Saturday, Oct 7th  | In-person and on Zoom | Registration coming soon
Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Mark Nunberg & Gabe Keller Flores
Six Tuesdays: September 5th – October 10th | In-person and on Zoom
Register hereBuddhist Studies: Mindfulness of Breathing 
Eight Mondays: September 11th- October 30th | In-person and on Zoom
Register hereUpcoming Teacher-Led ProgramsMindfulness & Physical Pain: a Workshop with Ramesh Sairam
Saturday, August 26th | 1:00 – 4:00 PM
In-person only
More info and registration here

Mindfulness Centered Men’s Yoga with Robb Reed
Nine Wednesdays: Sep. 13th – Nov. 8th | 5:30 – 6:45pm
In-person only
Register here

Daylong Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Stacy McClendon & Jen Racho
Saturday, September 23rd | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In-person only
Register here

Our Common Values: a Listening Session with Patrice Koelsch
Sunday, September 24th | 1:00-2:30pm
In-person only
No registration needed

Self Compassion Practices for Trying Times with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst
Six Thursdays: November 2nd – December 14th | 6:30 – 8:00pm
In-person only
Register 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
  • 8/28 with Robin Major
Mindfulness Self-Compassion with Jane Rauenhorst & Jean Haley
Friday, September 15th, 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. 

Volunteer Needs

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

  • Graphic design: We are looking for one or two graphic designers to support the buildout for a new website. Experience with mobile friendly graphic design preferred.
  • Bell ringing: For a community member who is interested in training to be a practice leader at one of the morning in-person silent sits.
  • Grounds teams at the city center:  Please let us know if you are interested in joining the garden crew, lawnmowing, or snowblowing team.
Wishlists: If you would like to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.

Community News 

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
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, September 3rd, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, September 9th, 9:00 – 10:30 AM
  • Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, Sunday, September 17th, 1:30-3:00 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Don’t Assume Conditions are “Bad” for Practice
There is a lot you can learn from what you think
are unfavorable conditions for meditation.
There may be unhappiness or suffering.
Don’t make judgments that that these conditions
are bad for practice. In Dhamma,
there is only what’s happening.
Accept the situation and be aware.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

The rarely sighted Bombus Fervidus, the Golden Northern Bumble Bee,
on a thistle in a Southwestern MN prairie. They are listed as Vulnerable.
Photo by community member Kim Sonderegger

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