Weekly Email 9/22/20

Dear Common Ground Community,

We are living in a time when our economy and much of our politics depends on our hearts’ susceptibility to being activated. Our habits and instincts have evolved to respond to stimuli. The practice question is, how can we relate wisely and compassionately in a world where our tendencies toward mental proliferation animated by greed, hate and delusion are being continually provoked? How can we show up to our many responsibilities without getting entangled in all the tight and heavy drama of fear and hope? One way forward is to develop a more honest sense of our addiction to drama and intensity by experimenting with media fasts and periods of retreat time with a simple unhurried schedule. (There is a daylong and a half day retreat coming up on the next two Saturdays.) I find it so interesting to notice the resistance that arises whenever I decide to take a break from the internet and radio. I notice the mind concocting a real sense of threat because of not knowing the latest about whatever might be happening. We can have a powerful fear of missing out. I encourage everybody to experiment with some kind of media fasting. Everyone will have to do something that makes sense in their work and family lives, but it could be as simple as joining me in my commitment to taking one day a week (or one period of time per week) and resolve to not use the internet, radio or have unnecessary conversations on subjects that aren’t helpful to talk about that day. Of course, this won’t be easy and you may have to start over again and again with this commitment. Remember, this kind of fast isn’t about “being good”, rather, it is about this wholesome desire to learn about our heart and mind so we can be in this world in ways that support the deepest healing and freedom all around.

May the deepest wisdom and love protect us all,


Upcoming Program Highlights


This week:

  • Dharma Among Us with Jeanne Corrigal & Nakawe Cuebas tonight at 7pm. Zoom link here.
  • 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 every Wednesday, 7:00-7:20pm, for some time to connect with others over Zoom before the program. 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! :) A community member will be hosting and facilitating the social time each week.
  • Shelly will offer their weekly Community Practice Check-In on Thursday, from 9:00-10:00am. This week’s session and every other session will explore racism through an inquiry into whiteness and domination. All are welcome. Zoom link here.
  • There is still room for three more volunteers for the Fall Cleaning & Maintenance Day at the city center that’s happening 9:00am-12:00pm this Thursday. RSVP to gabe@commongroundmeditation.org. We’ll wear masks and keep 6 feet distance. Thank you!
  • The EcoSangha Practice Group with Jean Haley meets this Thursday, 6:15-8:15pm. Zoom link here.
  • Stacy McClendon will lead the Lovingkindness Practice Group on Friday, 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • On Saturday, Mark will offer a daylong retreat over Zoom from 9:30am-4:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • Also on Saturday, Ramesh Sairam will offer his biweekly Dharma Reflections and Discussion group. Open to all. 10:30am-12:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • 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.
  • The CG Book Club led by April Hanson is meeting Sunday morning to discuss the last third of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. 8:45-10:15am. Zoom link here.
  • The Teen Practice Group is now meeting weekly in the CG Garden (Minneapolis) on Sunday mornings. For more info click here.
  • On Sunday evening, we’ll be starting a new biweekly program over Zoom called Dharma Friends Sit & Discussion, facilitated by Gabe Keller Flores, Megan Brandeland, and Danielle Sewell. Join us for a guided meditation followed by a dharma discussion. We’ll reflect together on dharma themes and how they pertain to our lived experience. We hope this will be a supportive community that we’ll co-create together, to reconnect with the medicine of wisdom and compassion. Every two weeks on Sunday evening, 7:00-8:00pm central time. All are welcome. Zoom link here.
  • Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon offer the Tuesday mid-day Community Practice Check-In every Tuesday, at 12:00-1:00pm. Zoom link here.

Looking ahead:

  • 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.
  • The People of Color Practice Group meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, 6:30-8:00pm. For the Zoom link or for more information, contact Stacy at bipoc_council@commongroundmeditation.org.

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 

Reflections from Prairie Farm
Community member and volunteer Brenda Shepherd offers reflections on her recent visit to our retreat center on the PF Blog.
There are occasional opportunities for community members to go out for a work retreat, and assist with cleaning and maintenance of the retreat center and grounds. If you’re interested in a work retreat, please email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org.

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
When I went to Hong Kong, a lot of the yogis do
tai chi in the morning, and I would practice with
them. I loved it! Every moment there are so many
things to be aware of at the same time. You can’t
focus. That’s perfect for vipassana (insight meditation). You move the
hands and the legs and you know them both at
the same time—that’s awareness doing its
work. You’re aware, and you can’t focus
too much, so you relax.

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