Weekly Email 9-15-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

In the Dhammapada we find passages that emphasize the importance of directing the mind in wholesome ways. “Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy, or haters, one to another, far worse is the harm from one’s own wrongly directed mind. Neither mother nor father, nor any other relative can do one as much good as one’s own well-directed mind.”

How can we support our mind being well-directed? Awareness practice encourages us to cultivate and stabilize a deep, wide, ongoing sensitivity to what is here and now. Present moment awareness allows the mind to directly sense when the mind is being distorted by self-centered views and thoughts and what this sets in motion in our own heart and around us. There is a well known teaching in Buddhism, “There’s no fire like lust, no grasping like hate, no snare like delusion, no river like craving. It’s easy to see the faults of others but hard to see one’s own. One sifts out the faults of others like chaff, but conceals one’s own as a cheat conceals a bad throw of the dice.” With awareness, we see this over and over and with practice we can also realize moments of the heart free of the habitual burning of lust, tightness of hate, and entanglements of delusion. In this sense, we are learning to feel our way forward, moment by moment. We can ask, “How is this heart/mind doing?” When we bring a wise and kind attention to how the mind is directed we will be naturally weakening the unwholesome and strengthening the wholesome, simply by our willingness to see clearly and feel deeply the way it is. We can be grateful that wisdom and awareness will show us the way forward one moment at a time.


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. 

Fall Retreat with Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf, Assisted by Stacy McClendon
Thursday afternoon, October 12th – Sunday midday October 15th
Zoom spots open
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
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, Oct 7th  | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
Buddhist Studies: Mindfulness of Breathing 
Eight Mondays: September 11th- October 30th | 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

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

  • Daylong: Saturday, Oct 21 | 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM | 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 | 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
In-person only
Register here

Upcoming Teacher-Led Programs

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

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

Radical Dharma, Radical Belonging: Talk & Discussion with the BIPOC Community with Dr. Femi Akinnagbe
Friday, September 29th | 6:30 – 8:30 PM
No registration needed

Savoring the Simplicity of the Body: a Mindful Yoga Workshop with Dr. Femi Akinnagbe
Saturday, September 30th | 9:30 – 11:00 AM
In-person only
Register here

The Life-Changing Magic of Simplicity with Dr. Femi Akinnagbe
Saturday, September 30th | 2:30 – 4:30 PM
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Our Common Values: A Listening Session with Patrice Koelsch
Sunday, September 24th | 1:00 – 2:30 PM
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 – 8:00 PM
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

Mindfulness Self-Compassion with Jane Rauenhorst & Jean Haley
Friday, September 15th, 7:00-8:30 PM
On Zoom only

Youth Programs 
View the calendar page for more info

  • Children’s Program: Kindergarten- 3rd grade, every other Sunday 10:30am – 11:45am
  • Preteen Program: 4th grade- 7th grade, every other Sunday 10:30am – 11:45am
  • Teen Practice Group Begins Sunday, September 24

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 snow-blowing team.
Wishlists: If you want to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.

Community News 

Prison Volunteer Opportunities:

  • The Shakopee women correctional facility volunteer group is looking for a female volunteer who can lead groups of 10-22 inmates in mindful meditation and mindful movements such as free style stretches, interplay, yoga or Qigong. Please email info@commongroundmeditation.org if you are interested and we will connect you with the organizer.
  • Volunteer needed leading Buddhist group at Sandstone prison, ability to speak Spanish a plus. Contact Jeff; 952-474-4209, jeffroehl@outlook.com.
Couples Group Opening
A Mindful Couples Group is open for new members. They will meet monthly on the first Saturday, beginning October 7th. Click here for more info.
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. 
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, 6:30-8:00 PM
  • Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, Sunday, September 17th, 1:30-3:00 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, September 17th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Mindfulness Centered Men’s Yoga, Wednesday, September 20th, 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM
  • Refirement Group, Thursday, September 21st, 12:00 – 2:00 PM
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, October 14th, 9:00 – 10:30 AM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Ask Questions Not for Answers But For Awareness
Ask questions not to get answers but to strengthen awareness.
You don’t need to find answers; simply asking questions
awakens awareness.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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