Weekly Email 9/14/20


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Greetings Friends,

I hope you are well. Our world and country and city are hurting these days, and we are sensitive and hurt as well. How are you finding ways to connect with goodness, with resilience and compassion? A phrase comes to mind that Mark shared some months ago: “action absorbs anxiety.” Where are we finding ways to connect and engage, contribute in ways that touch our hearts and reconnect us to our capacity for tenderness and strength?

There are so many ways to engage. I find it a creative and at-times surprising process to see how engagement unfolds of its own accord: what seems appropriate and skillful to do, in this moment? We thought we’d share some ideas here of some ways you might engage, with Common Ground and with our wider community:

  • An immediate option: we are looking for a couple volunteers to help move some furniture to Prairie Farm on Tuesday morning. Send gabe@commongroundmeditation.org an email if you’re available and interested. Social distancing and mask-wearing will apply.
  • We can always use cooks for Prairie Farm, to prepare meals ahead of time to be frozen and taken out to support volunteers and retreatants. I’m also looking for someone who can resize some of our recipes, from 15-20 to 10 servings. Let me know if you have interest in this area, thanks!
  • We’re having our fall maintenance and cleaning day at Common Ground (Mpls) on Thursday, Sep. 24th, 9:00am-12:00pm. Please RSVP since we are limiting attendance to 10 for covid safety. We’ll wear masks and keep 6 feet distance as well.
  • As is surely on many of our minds, there is an election happening on November 3rd. Voting is one way we can participate in our wider community, motivated by compassion. For information on receiving an absentee ballot, you can visit this pagefrom the MN Secretary of State.
  • There are so many ways to be engaged and I know we’re all discovering new ways to support the heart and support eachother. It’s great to be able to hear from eachother how we’re engaging. One way I hope we can share with eachother is through an online social network. We’re currently looking at Mastodon as an option (it’s similar to Twitter or Facebook, but it’s open-source and decentralized.) If you have expertise in this area and would like to help us get it set up, please email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org. Also feel free to get in touch if you have expertise in other social media platforms you think we should consider.

Grateful to be in community with you all and wishing you well,


Upcoming Program Highlights

This week:

  • The Buddhist Studies Course on the Four Noble Truths with Mark begins this Monday evening at 7:30pm. Register here and tune in on Youtube.
  • Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon offer the Tuesday mid-day Community Practice Check-In every Tuesday, at 12:00-1:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • The next 6-week Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation course with Mark begins Tuesday evening at 7:30pm. More info and registration here.
  • Dharma Among Us with Rachel Lewis this Tuesday at 7pm. Zoom link here. Description: A rotating group of teachers will share their practice with the community on these special evenings of dharma.  Honoring the diversity of human experience among us, we work with the variety of conditions alive in our hearts, lives and communities. Come, talk and listen together. Through our sharing, we will feel more deeply into the liberative teachings of the Buddha and their full capacity to guide us and unite us at this unique moment in time. No experience necessary.
  • Shelly will lead the Wednesday evening Weekly Practice Group as usual, 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here. Feel free to join in for virtual Tea Time this week, 7:00-7:20pm, for some time to connect with others over Zoom before the program. Carolyn S will be hosting the “Tea Time”. You can use the same Zoom link as for the Weekly Practice Group; it’s just as though you’re “arriving” a bit early to chat! :)
  • Shelly will offer their weekly Community Practice Check-In on Thursday, from 9:00-10:00am. All are welcome. Zoom link here.
  • The Refirement Community Group for Retirees meets this Thursday, 12:00-1:00pm over Zoom. Link here.
  • The Practitioners of Color Practice Group meets on Thursday, 6:30-8:00pm. Contact bipoc_council@commongroundmeditation.org for the Zoom link.
  • Jean Haley & Jane Rauenhorst will lead the monthly Mindful Self-Compassion Practice Group on Friday night, 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • On Saturday, Wynn Fricke & Mark Nunberg will lead a Community Practice Check-In from 8:00-9:00am. Zoom link here.
  • Also on Saturday, the Buddhism-Christianity Community Group will meet, 9:30-10:30am. Zoom link here.
  • The Common Ground Book Club is reading White Fragility and discussing the last third of the book on Sunday, 8:45-10:15am. Contact apriljoyhanson@gmail.com for the Zoom link.
  • On Sunday, Mark will lead the Sunday morning Weekly Practice Group over Youtube, as usual, 10:30-11:45am. Join us after the Weekly Practice Group for discussion and connection over Zoom. The Zoom link will be shared in the Youtube description on Sunday.

Looking ahead:

  • Mark will lead a Daylong Retreat over Zoom on Saturday, September 26th, 9:30am-4:30pm. More info and registration here.
  • Sharon Sebring will start a book club in October to study Sharon Salzberg’s new book Real Change. More info and registration here. Meets monthly on the second Saturday, 10:00-11:30am over Zoom.

Please note that all times listed are in Central time. For complete, up-to-date program information, visit the online calendar. I recommend you bookmark it for easy access during the week. You might also want to bookmark our Youtube channel.

Additional non-CG Retreat with Shelly:

  • Shelly, Rebecca Bradshaw, and Roxanne Dault will offer an online retreat through Insight Meditation Society Oct 2-7 (Friday to Wednesday). More info and registration here.

The Practice of Generosity

Continuing in the tradition of Buddhist monasteries in Southeast Asia, all programs at Common Ground, including these online programs, 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.

Community News 

Long Live Impermanence by Thich Nhat Hanh
Mark mentioned this article by Thich Nhat Hanh in his talk on Sunday and wanted to share it here.

New Racial Affinity Group for Male Buddhist-Jews
Paul Sackaroff and Kevin Freidberg are starting a community group for white- male- Buddhist-Jews who are interested in understanding the intersection of race, ethnicity, and privilege.  Specifically, we will engage in the inner work of waking up to our collective privilege as white Jews, examine the role of historical trauma, and commit to “Tikkun Olam” (repairing the world) by engaging in civic responsibility. Read more here.

Community Survey Still Open for Participation
Thank you to everyone who filled out the community survey we sent out recently. You can still fill it out if you haven’t already, here.

Weekly Tejaniya
I would like yogis to get to the point where they realize
that without focusing or paying attention, the
nature of knowing is happening. I would like yogis,
especially people who have been practising for years,
to just recognize that this is going on. They are too
busy thinking they are practising. But after many
years of meditating, their practice must have gained
momentum and they need to step back in order
to see that this is happening. They need to
switch from doing to recognizing.

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