Weekly Email 9/2/20

Dear Common Ground Friends,


It is so easy for us to overlook the peace and unstained openness here and now, because the confusion and meanness that swirls in our world and in our hearts is so compelling. It gets all our attention. But how are we going to have the fearless nimbleness to skillfully engage life without tasting freedom? The Buddha’s path of awakening is not about escaping the messiness of our lives, but rather learning how to release the burden weighing down the heart. We practice trusting a wise, kind space that is always here and now–subtle, real, and liberating. Let’s stay open to the possibility that there is wisdom to awaken to, a wisdom that knows how to be intimate with it all, hearts aching with sadness & anger, and hearts bursting with joy.

There have been several community members interested in Racial Affinity Groups. Many Common Ground leaders and teachers have been participating in these groups for several years now, including both Shelly Graf and myself. Here is an excerpt from Ruth King’s book, Mindful of Race.

“I recommend racial affinity groups (RAGs) as an ongoing forum for investigating and transforming our individual and collective habits of harm. In a RAG, we put ourselves in intentional spaces with people of our same race, where we can be safe enough to be vulnerable, challenged, and unedited; to examine the stories we have been told and the stories we tell ourselves; to lean toward what is unfamiliar and away from what is habitual; and to understand what is difficult to acknowledge, feel, and attend to within us and among us as a racial group. RAGs offer a structure of inquiry and can address many needs. They support us in exploring what has been forbidden, forgotten, and unhealed. For example, in a RAG, white people can discover together their group identity. They can cultivate racial solidarity and compassion and support each other in sitting with the discomfort, confusion, and numbness that often accompany white racial awakening. They can also discern white privilege and its impact without the aid of or dependence on POC.”
If you are interested in learning more you can read Guidelines for Forming Racial Affinity Groups by Ruth King. Contact Gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if you want to join a group.



Upcoming Program Highlights

This week:

  • Wednesday through Monday is Common Ground’s online Labor Day retreat. Because of this, the 7:30am Open Meditation is cancelled Thursday through Monday, the Thursday 9am check-in with Shelly is cancelled, and the Friday morning Mindful Yoga is cancelled.
  • Patrice Koelsch will be filling in for Shelly and leading the Wednesday night Weekly Practice Group this week. Zoom link here.
  • The People of Color Practice Group meets this Thursday, 6:30-8:00pm. Contact BIPOC_Council@commongroundmeditation.org for the Zoom link.
  • We will now be offering an 8:30-9:00pm Open Meditation every Thursday night. This is a time to practice together in community, in silence. There is an opportunity to greet eachother after the meditation. Zoom link here. Led by community member Jennifer Kramer.
  • Cecilia Ramon will lead the Friday evening Lovingkindness Practice Group, 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here. Cecilia is a graduate of Common Ground’s Dharma Leadership Training. Professionally, she practices and teaches visual arts including, ecological art practices, drawing, woodcarving, and installation. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she is interested in the interface of Buddhist practice, social justice, and the role of art-making within the context of today’s challenges.
  • On Saturday, Patrice Koelsch will lead a half-day retreat based on 4 contemplations offered by the deep ecologist and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy. 1:00-5:00pm. More information and registration here.
  • On Sunday, Ayo Yetunde will lead the Weekly Practice Group, 10:30-11:45am. Zoom link here. Ayo’s talk will be titled: “What Now? Constructing Agreements for Cohabitation.” Ayo Yetunde is a pastoral counselor and Community Dharma Leader.  She teaches in Upaya Zen Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program.  She is the co-editor of Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us about Race, Resilience, Transformation and Freedom.

Looking ahead:

  • Registration is now open for the next Buddhist Studies course on the Four Noble Truths, with Mark Nunberg, Eight Mondays, September 14 – November 2, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Registration here.
  • The next 6-week Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course with Mark Nunberg is open for registration: 6 Tuesdays, September 15th-October 20th, 7:30-9:00pm. Registration here.
  • The Dharma Among Us program is switching to a less-than-weekly schedule. The next session is Tuesday, September 15th, with Rachel Lewis. 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • Registration is now open for an eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion course with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst. Eight Tuesdays, September 29-November 17th from 1:30-3:00pm.  Retreat on October 24 from 9-12:00.   Offered over Zoom. Registration here.

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 events Taught by 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 

Video Processing Volunteer Needed
Gabe is looking for additional help editing Zoom videos and uploading them to Youtube. If that sounds fun and doable to you, let him know! Thanks!

Antiracism Study and Dialogue Circle
Antiracism Study and Dialogue Circle (ASDIC) is a wonderful local organization Common Ground has partnered with in the past to train our leaders in this vital area. We encourage anyone who’s interested to participate in their upcoming Zoom 10-week circle starting September 14th.
More info in the flyer here: Remote ASDIC Circle full-page flier
They also did some programs online this summer which you can view on their Youtube channel.

Survey for Common Ground Teens and Families
Common Ground’s teen teachers met recently to discuss offering programming for teens this fall. If you are a teen or can pass this on to a teen in your life who may be interested, please fill out this quick survey that will help us guide our programming. Thank you!

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
All our experiences are something to learn
from. If we just follow a theory, a timetable,
or instructions, we will never learn how to
internalize the lessons that the Dhamma
teaches us. These are the lessons of
nature, about the nature of nature.

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