Courses & Workshops

Common Ground offers both multiple-week courses and one-time workshops. Topics vary.  All Common Ground programs are offered freely in the spirit of generosity. To learn more about supporting the center and our teachers, click here.


Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation

Buddhist Studies Program


Serene Illumination: Sound Bath Meditation with Marc Anderson

In Person Only

2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Sunday, May 22nd – Register Here

Humans have used sound to soothe the body and heart, to gather joyously in community, and
to transport themselves into deep states of contemplation for thousands of years. In that
tradition, join musician and Zen priest Marc Anderson as he artfully shapes the tones and
timbres of gongs, singing bowls, ancient drums and spoken poetic images into a meditative
soundscape. Come and experience for yourself an effortless journey into blissful relaxation.

Marc Anderson is a Twin Cities based musician, composer, Zen priest and poet. He has studied,
performed and recorded music all over the world with hundreds of great artists including;
Angelique Kidjo, Robert Fripp, Steve Tibbetts, Don Cherry, Max Roach and Taj Mahal. He
founded and directs the M2 Foundation which advocates for a more mindful and
compassionate world. And, he is on staff in the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life at
Macalester College.


Writing as a Practice of Freedom: a Workshop with Shannon Gibney

2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Sunday, June 19th – Register Here
 In person only

How can we hone our writing craft, so that the Creative can arise to its fullest potential, and hopefully be a force for positive transformation in our own lives as well as in others’? The great American poet Nikky Finney has written, “My job as a poet, as an artist, is to not look away.” How do we keep on looking at the things that hurt, scare, or confuse us, and translate this to the page? What, if anything, is the writer’s role in building a more just world with less suffering? How might we use writing to create more freedom in the world, and in ourselves?

Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and the author of See No Color (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), a young adult novel that won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in Young Peoples’ Literature. Gibney is faculty in English at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where she teaches critical and creative writing, journalism, and African Diasporic topics. A Bush Artist and McKnight Writing Fellow, her new novel, Dream Country, is about more than five generations of an African descended family, crisscrossing the Atlantic both voluntarily and involuntarily (Dutton, 2018). Shannon has been a member of Common Ground for more than 15 years, and co-facilitates the BIPOC Sitting Group with Zenzele Isoke.


Common Ground offers all programs freely in the spirit of generosity. If you’d like to learn more about how we operate or want to volunteer or donate to support the teachers’ livelihoods and the center’s operating costs, visit If you donate, be sure to enter “We are Meant to Rise” in the Teacher/Fund box. 2/3 of the donation supports the teacher(s) and 1/3 supports the general operations of the center.

Registration Priority Policy

Common Ground gives priority registration to program participants of the following groups: Black, Indigenous, and people of color, as well as non-binary and transgender people. Two main values informing this policy are justice and safety. Regarding justice, we see this policy as an imperfect and insufficient attempt to remediate current and historical disadvantages faced by these groups by offering an advantage in our registration process. Regarding safety, we see this policy as an imperfect attempt to create a safer space for participants of these groups by making it more likely to not ever be “the only one” at a given program. There are other advantages to this policy, for example, the benefit to all participants of being in a more diverse group. To learn more, contact the center at or 612-722-8260. We welcome feedback on any aspect of this policy.