Weekly Email 9-30-21

Dear Common Ground Friends,

This week I’ve been inspired by a talk given many years ago by Ajahn Thaniya, now Willa Thaniya Reid, at Insight Meditation Society  in which she elaborates about the power of aspiration to guide our lives, saying that we can “trust our movement towards awakening”. It can be be easy to forget that there IS something guiding our lives. In any moment though, we can stop and check in about this. What is it that is guiding my thoughts, words, and actions right now? When the speediness of life falls away even in moments, it’s possible to remember our aspirations and learn to live more in alignment there. In my experience, life doesn’t become a breeze when I remember to check in in this way. In fact sometimes I feel the sting of some heart pain that was being covered over by busyness or other compulsive inner or outer habits. The pain though is tolerable because sensitivity actually aligns with a deep aspiration to be stay awake and grow in capacity to stand up right in the middle of our collective humanity. What could be better than going to sleep at night with the feeling of no regret, realizing that I’ve and we’ve lived, moved, and acted fearlessly in alignment with our deepest aspirations. May we all have moments of no regret… and get a good night’s sleep.

Warmest Wishes,

Shelly Graf


Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground

Silent Open Meditation In Person
Monday-Saturday, 7:30-8:30am,
Sundays 8:30-9:30am, &
Tuesdays from 7:30-9:00pm
more info here
Please note the Wednesday mid-day in-person sit has been cancelled

Sunday, October 3rd

  • Livestream of Weekly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg, 10:30-11:45am. The meditation hall is open on Sunday mornings for community members to gather to watch the Weekly Practice Group livestream together on a screen. There will be a program host there to facilitate conversation for those who wish to stay afterwards. Mark will be teaching online from the office.
  • In Person Weekly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg, 7:00-8:30pm.
7 Mondays, September 20 – Nov 1
  • In-Person/Zoom: Buddhist Studies Course: Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness: Mindfulness of Dhammas with Mark Nunberg, 7:30-9:00pm. Register here.
Tuesday, October 5th
  • In Person: Community Tea and Dharma with Mark Nunberg, 8:00-9:00am. (every Tuesday)
5 Tuesdays, September 21st – October 19th
  • In-Person/Zoom: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course with Mark Nunberg. 7:30-9:00pm. More info and registration here.
Thursday, October 14th
  • Fall Building Cleaning and Maintenance Day, 9:00am-1:00pm. RSVP here.

Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground Retreat at Prairie Farm

Common Ground Retreat at Prairie Farm is our retreat property in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. Registration is now open for the following programs there.

  • Practice Period with Matthew King, assisted by Pietro Ferrero
    Thursday evening, October 7th – October 10th
  • October Zoom/In-Person Retreat with Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf
    Thursday, October 28th – Sunday, October 31st

More info and registration for these programs can be found here. Please note that we are currently requiring vaccination and masking for programs at the retreat property.

We now have a new photo gallery of the retreat property available to view here. Thanks to Ari Lindquist for these beautiful photos!

Upcoming Programs: Online

Wednesday, October 6th

  • Shelly Graf will lead the Weekly Practice Group, a cornerstone for one’s practice by providing ongoing instruction and teachings that will help illuminate the simple but challenging practice of mindfulness, 7:30pm-9:00pm on Zoom.
Friday, October 1st
  • Sarah Wilson will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 9:00am-10:00am on Zoom.
  • Mark Nunberg will lead the Lovingkindness Practice Group, come and develop the heart by training in the four beautiful emotions of lovingkindness (metta), compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. 7:00pm-8:30pm on Zoom.
Sunday, October 3rd
  • Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 4:30-5:30pm on Zoom.
Saturday, October 9th 
  • Mark Nunberg and Cecilia Ramon will lead a Daylong Retreat on Zoom: Cultivating a Wise and Kind Resilience, 9:30am-4:00pm. More info and registration here.
  • Ramesh Sairam will lead the Dharma Practice Reflections, an opportunity to explore the practical implications of following the path of dhamma, 10:30am-12:00pm on Zoom.
7 Mondays, September 20 – Nov 1
  • In-Person/Zoom: Buddhist Studies Course: Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness: Mindfulness of Dhammas with Mark Nunberg, 7:30-9:00pm. Register here.
5 Tuesdays, September 21th – October 19th
  • In-Person/Zoom: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course with Mark Nunberg. 7:30-9:00pm. More info and registration here.
These are program highlights. To see a complete list of all our programs and access Zoom links to participate, please visit the online calendar. Also, please note all times listed are in central time.

The Practice of Generosity

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

Current Volunteer Needs

  • Biweekly Sunday Evening Cleaning: Every other Sunday evening there is drop-in Community Cleaning time from 6-7pm, led by community leader Dave Redelman. Upcoming dates: Oct 3rd
  • Cooking for Practice Periods at Prairie Farm: There is a tradition in Buddhism of supporting people doing intensive retreat practice. We are always looking for volunteers interested in cooking and freezing meals ahead of time for retreatants at Prairie Farm. You can see a list of recipes here. Common Ground has pots and tupperware you can borrow for cooking and freezing. Contact retreatproperty@commongroundmeditation.org if you wish to offer a meal. Or to donate in support of groceries for the retreatants, you can designate a gift for “Prairie Farm” here.

Community News

   Community Groups Happening This Week

  • Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wed. Sept 22nd. On Zoom, 7:30-9:00pm.
  • Millennials Sangha, Fri. Sept 24th. On Zoom, 7:00-8:30pm.
  • Buddhism Christianity Group, Sun. Sept 26th. On Zoom, 9:00-10:15am.
  • Dharma Friends Sit & Discuss, Sun. Sept 26th. On Zoom, 7:00-8:00pm.

ASDIC 10 Week Session starting today!
Our friends at ASDIC are beginning their next 10-week antiracism study and dialogue circle. Leaders at Common Ground participated in a circle several years ago and for many it was a profound experience. This time together was also pivotal in deepening into our collective commitment to contribute positively to racial equity. Register via the hyperlink above.

Arrow River Forest Hermitage in Thunder Bay Looking for Steward
Some of you will be familiar with Arrow River Forest Hermitage, where one of CG’s longtime visiting teachers, Ajahn Punnadhammo is the resident Buddhist monk. The hermitage will be needing someone to act as steward for the fall and/or winter months. The best time to start would be early September. The steward is a volunteer position and is responsible for cooking the one meal a day, managing the kitchen and doing the shopping. It is strongly preferred if you have a driver’s license. For more information check out the Visitor’s Pageson their website. Please send all inquiries to arfh@xplornet.com and CC to akyle@lakeheadu.ca.

Weekly Tejaniya
The Buddha said, “If you look
after the Dhamma, the Dhamma
will look after you.” Looking after
the Dhamma simply means prac-
ticing it. After a certain point, the
Dhamma will carry you along
on its wave. So keep going!

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