WHAT Mindfulness Meditation in Dover
WHERE Heathers Holistic Health, 1169 Walker Road, Dover
WHEN 6 p.m. every Tuesday starting on May 6
FOR MORE INFO Visit meetup.com/Mindfulness-Meditation-in-Dover or call Kim Palmer at (302) 598-3014

Michael Nielsen, a media arts professor at Wesley College, began hosting a meditation group on campus several years ago after he rediscovered the practice. He picked it up when he was younger, but it fell by the wayside when family and finances took precedence. Around the time of his 60th birthday, Nielsen found himself contemplating his own mortality.

“I began to look for some spiritual sources,” Nielsen said. “I went on a meditation retreat in Nova Scotia and came back and was basically doing solo meditation, but I wanted to see if I could get other people interested in it.”

The group, which is free and open to the public, has been meeting in the teacher’s lounge in the basement of Wesley’s student union ever since. However, in the face of Nielsen’s impending retirement Mindfulness Meditation in Dover, the group’s official name, found itself in need of a new home. Lisa Torbert, owner of Heather’s Holistic Health on Walker Road in Dover, provided the group with the space they needed.

“I think with all of the stress that we all carry around this is a great opportunity to offer meditation for free,” Torbert said. “A lot of people that are struggling financially are the people that need this the most. This is a way of giving back to the community.”

Classes will begin at the new location on May 6 at 6 p.m. Until then, Mindfulness Mediation in Dover will continue to meet at Wesley at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesdays.

When Mindfulness Meditation in Dover moves to its new location they will also be picking up a new instruction. Nielsen has been leading the group since he began it but Larissa Kitenko, who also teaches meditation in Easton, Md. and Washington D.C., is set to begin leading the group twice a month.

“I teach people how to start meditation and then as they progress and questions come up I’m able to guide them on techniques that might help their practice,” Kitenko said. “I’ll give a talk on some aspect of meditation that would be helpful to people practicing and I’ll always have time for questions and comments.”

The idea behind meditation is that participants silently work to focus on their breathing and clear their minds of thoughts, Nielsen said.

“What happens is you sort of become cognizant of your discourse of thought; all the thoughts that have been running through your brain all day,” he said. “Then you yank yourself back, you just come back to the awareness of where you are and that you’re just sitting there breathing, you’re not putting tiles on your roof, or whatever you were doing in discourse of thought.”

Sessions with Mindfulness Meditation typically involve 25 minutes of silent still mediation, a five minute walking meditation and a reading from a Buddhist text. Despite the fact that meditation has closed ties to Buddhism and Buddhists texts are read those that join the group do not have to be religious, said Rick Sammet, one of the group’s members.

“You don’t need to be a Buddhist,” Sammet said. “You don’t need to be religious. It’s just a practical way of dealing with stress and human suffering.”