Doug McGill founded the Rochester Meditation Center in 2004 and is the main teacher there. He gives weekly dharma talks, teaches introductory meditation, and has practiced insight meditation since the late 1980s. He publishes a daily email practice reminder called The Daily Tejaniya, and is a student of the Non-Dual teacher, Rupert Spira. He is a former reporter for The New York Times; bureau chief for Bloomberg News in Tokyo, London and Hong Kong; and in 2006 published “Here: A Global Citizen’s Journey,” a book about immigrants living in Southeast Minnesota.
Until 2015, Emil enjoyed careers advocating for unions as a labor law attorney and counseling in the field of substance abuse, including several years for Hazelden Foundation. Emil also taught as an adjunct associate professor at the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies. He began attending Common Ground and his meditation practice in 2004 as part of his ongoing recovery from addiction. Since then he has attended numerous residential retreats in the Midwest and a month long retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Emil regularly teaches at Common Ground’s Mindfulness, Recovery and the 12 Steps Group and is one of the facilitators of a mindfulness meditation group at Stillwater Correctional Facility. Emil has also been a guest teacher and led workshops at Common Ground.
Gabe Keller has been coming to Common Ground since 2008, when he was in high school and stumbled across the teachings of the Buddha. Since then, he has been a dedicated practitioner and has experienced increasing freedom and connection in his life. Gabe has enjoyed sharing the Dharma in different contexts. He led a meditation group while a student at Carleton College. Later, he volunteered in a Minnesota prison to meditate with inmates, and currently leads the quarterly Young Adult retreat at Common Ground with Shelly Graf and subs for Mark Nunberg occasionally. He also teaches meditation in Spanish.
Gail has been practicing mindfulness meditation since 1987. For eight years she worked at the Vipassana Support Institute with Shinzen Young, the author of "Break Through Pain: A Step-by-Step Mindfulness Meditation Program for Transforming Chronic and Acute Pain". Since coming to Common Ground in 2002, she has been an integral member of our community and served in many important roles, including as one of our main teachers. She has led the Intro to Mindfulness Meditation workshop for many years.
Gregory has been teaching meditation since 1980. He developed the practice of Insight Dialogue, offering retreats worldwide and authoring books including Insight Dialogue: The Interpersonal Path to Freedom and Dharma Contemplation: Meditating Together with Wisdom Texts.
Henry Emmons is a psychiatrist who integrates mind-body and natural therapies, mindfulness and Buddhist teachings, and compassion and insight into his clinical work. Henry developed the Resilience Training Program, which is currently offered at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing. This unique program is based upon the ideas developed in his books, The Chemistry of Joy and The Chemistry of Calm. In addition to Resilience Training, Henry has developed “A Year of Living Mindfully” and “The Inner Life of Healers: Programs of Renewal for Health Professionals” offered through the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing. He is also a founding board member of the International Network for Integrative Mental Health.
I try to convey that the wisdom and compassion we are looking for is already inside of us. I see practice as learning how to purify our mind and heart so we can hear the Buddha inside. In doing so, we naturally embody the dharma and help awaken that understanding and love in others we meet.
I try to use the formal teachings as a doorway for people to see the truth in themselves. I feel I'm doing my job when people look into themselves to come to their own deep understandings of the truth, access their own inner wisdom and trust in their "Buddha-knowing," as Ajahn Chah called it, which is different from their intellectual knowing.
The Buddha-knowing is a deeper place, underneath the concepts, which is in touch with the truth, with our seed of awakening. I want practitioners to have more and more confidence in, and familiarity with, that deeper place of knowing. It is accessing this dimension of our being that becomes the guide to cutting through the confusion caused by greed and fear. We have everything we need inside ourselves. We do not need to look to a teacher when we remember who we really are.