Weekly Email 9-28-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,
Dharma practice is training the mind to be free with its habitual tendencies. At times it will feel as if there is a battle between our impersonal but well entrenched habits of greed and aversion and our recently established dharma intentions to be aware with wisdom. Can we open to the possibility of experiencing real freedom without attachment to the idea of becoming the one who is free. Ajahn Chah responds to this plea from one of his students, “I’m trying very hard in my practice but don’t seem to be getting anywhere.” with a warning about becoming identified with the idea of becoming enlightened. Ajahn Chah replied, “This is very important. Don’t try to get anywhere in the practice. The very desire to be free or to be enlightened will be the desire that prevents your freedom. You can try as hard as you wish, practice ardently night and day, but if it is still with the desire to achieve in mind, you will never find peace. The energy from this desire will be a cause for doubt and restlessness. No matter how long or how hard you practice, wisdom will not arise from desire. So, simply let go. Watch the mind and body mindfully but don’t try to achieve anything. Don’t cling even to the practice of enlightenment.” No one can tell us exactly how to practice. Like it or not, we must learn how to be more and more independent in the practice. As we navigate (imperfectly) our way in life, we must rely on our sensitive heart’s capacity to discern the causes for suffering, and the causes for release from suffering. The rest of the path seems mostly about patience and persistence.

Wishing us all ease with the conditions that come and go in our lives,

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
Daylong Masculinity Workshop: Fluency with Feelings and Needs
With Malik Watkins, Mark Nunberg, Omkar Sawardekar, Robb Reed, and Gabe Keller Flores
At Common Ground Retreat Center in Prairie Farm, WI
Saturday, October 21 | 9:30 AM-5:00 PM | In-person only
More info and registration 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

  • 9/29 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

Upcoming Teacher-Led Programs

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

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

Half-Day Retreat with Jean Haley
Saturday, November 4 | 1:00 – 5:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
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
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 Opportunities

Fall Maintenance Day!
October 28, 9:30am – 12:45pm
Join us for a morning of fixing, cleaning and maintenance at the city center. We will end with a meal together.

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

  • Audio Editing: For talks uploaded to dharmaseed. The audio editing is easy to learn, no previous experience required. 1-2 hours per week, or every other.
  • Graphic design: 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.
  • Tree trimming: A community member with skill and experience trimming trees; for a tree at the city center.
Wishlists: If you want to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.

Community News 

Community Potluck!
Sunday, October 8 | 12:00 – 1:30pm
Please join for the Common Ground quarterly potluck! Bring a vegetarian dish to share. All are welcome. Please email Robin at robin@commongroundmeditation.org if you are interested in coming early to help with set up or clean up.

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.
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: First Wednesdays of the month beginning October 4th, 7:30 – 9:00PM
  • 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, October 8th, 1:30-3:00 PM
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, October 14th, 9:00 – 10:30 AM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, October 15th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Refirement Group, Thursday, October 19th, 12:00 – 2:00 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Understanding Craving and Aversion Help Dissolve Them

Understanding the causes of dissatis-
faction helps to dissolve them. You will
see more and more clearly the harm that
craving, aversion and delusion cause to
the mind and body. You will become more
mindful of your judgmental attitudes
and gradually abandon them.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Laundry on the line at Common Ground Retreat Center

Laundry on the line at Common Ground Retreat Center Photo from Sandy Gould

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