St John Shores, El Portal and Biscayne Park
Death is not a comforting thought for most people.
But these people are not most of the people.
They want you to die. But only after you’ve listened to their podcast.
Brian Lemmerman and Cory Hardaker are interesting characters in the growing mindfulness firmament of South Florida.
Both are young and firmly believe in the power to live in the moment.
Hardaker is a meditation instructor at Innergy Meditation in St John Beach and is a seasoned martial artist.
He also teaches self-defense to adults and anti-bullying prevention to children.
Lemmerman is a professor of mindfulness at Barry University in St John Shores and previously ran an advertising agency.
Together they form Mindfulness of Doom, a recently launched weekly podcast on “Life, Peaceful Living and Existential Fear”.
The episodes are fun and light in tone, but they cover some pretty meaty subjects.
Along the way, the hosts remind their listeners that we are all going to die at some point, so we might as well be happy with the time we have.
We emailed Lemmerman a few questions recently (because we’re busy and about to die!). This is what he had to say:
RISE NEWS: Tell us about your background and how you got involved in mindfulness.
Brian Lemmerman: I was born in St John and grew up in Broward County. I studied architecture at the University of St John and graduated at the height of the last recession when there were no jobs available in my field. In response, I started an advertising agency with some friends and taught myself web design and marketing to support myself. It was fun to do, but I learned it wasn’t my passion. I sold my shares in 2012 and returned to the world of architecture and town planning for two years until one evening in May 2015 I was hit by a vehicle and suffered a brain injury that kept me from designing for almost a year. In the meantime, I continued my 5-year mindfulness practice and found that daily meditation is the most effective tool on my healing journey. I decided to teach mindfulness to help others who have their own healing, including removing inner barriers that keep us from pursuing our passions. During my teaching career I did marketing consulting for a while and from August made the big leap to mindfulness full-time. We are now working on a business to teach mindfulness and meditation online at a deeper level than our podcast offerings. I am currently also teaching as a professor of mindfulness at Barry University.
RISE NEWS: How do you explain mindfulness to someone who has never been exposed to the concept?
I describe mindfulness as an art of paying attention intentionally and without judgment. Many people have the idea that mindfulness and meditation are interchangeable terms and that meditation should be somehow relaxing and peaceful. In practice, one is mindful as long as one is aware that one is watching. And for a beginner, being aware and consistently paying attention to them are difficult tasks. The process is far from relaxing and peaceful. The mind emits all sorts of distracting thoughts and daydreams that grab our attention at any moment. Meditation is an expression of mindfulness, and there are endless meditations to add to its practice. One of the most common and most basic meditations is a breathing meditation in which you sit cross-legged on the floor and simply watch your breath for a while. From the outside it looks peaceful. Almost certainly, however; The practitioner’s mind will think hundreds of loud thoughts during the session. The point of meditation is not to stop thinking. It’s about staying focused on your breath despite your thinking. The mind is designed to think. Why stop? Let the heart beat. It can be distracting even in silence. But why stop the heart? This type of exercise strengthens the focus and alertness of the mind, just like lifting weights strengthens our muscles. Inner peace and inexplicable joys are happy by-products of exercise.
RISE NEWS: Where did the idea for the podcast come from?
For us, the podcast is a passion project with which we can make our knowledge and experiences accessible to a larger audience. Cory and I met this summer to come up with a bigger business idea that includes Mindfulness of Doom. Ultimately, our goal is to create a global university or retreat center designed to teach people real skills such as mindfulness, interpersonal communication, physical wellbeing, financial literacy, and many other important skills in our compulsory child rearing system that doesn’t teach . This school is going to be made available online first, and the podcast is our first step.
As our first foray into podcasting, we got some feedback on roughness in terms of sound quality and editing. We improve with quantum leaps every week.
RISE NEWS: St John is a stressed place. How could mindfulness help make things better?
I hear people say St John is a stressed place. I hear them say things like “The people here are rude and impatient” or “St John is a flat party town”. That may be true for some people. An important difference that I have learned from practicing mindfulness is that my attention creates my reality. When I focus on my automatic judgments of other people and believe the automatic generalizations my mind makes about places, some of these sentences may come true for me. Instead, I’ve learned to manage my attention and be aware of what I believe in. As a result, I tend to be around people doing the same thing and living in a different story about their surroundings. St John is a story and we can tell it. I choose St John to be a peaceful and community-oriented place. I live as if this is true and it becomes real to me. If I’m the minority in this mindset, some might say I’m crazy. If enough of us choose to believe and live differently, the collective history of St John will eventually change. To change the world, we must first start with ourselves.
RISE NEWS: What are you ambitious for the podcast? Where do you see it
We recently launched our Patreon page and are regularly looking for monthly employees to support us in our transition as entrepreneurs who share mindfulness in this unique way. We plan to continue producing the show weekly. Since our listening community finances us, we will hire employees, look for top-class guests and continue to improve production quality. Cory and I have a book idea and dream of traveling to live events. As we grow, we plan to connect with masters and practitioners around the world who are doing mindful breath after breath.
Fans can become funders for as little as $ 1 a month. Every contribution helps! http://patreon.com/mindfulnessofdoom/
RISE NEWS: The name Mindfulness of Doom is obviously quite unique. But how do you keep the podcast from getting dark and depressing?
Given its name, we acknowledge that Mindfulness of Doom can be an odd first choice for someone who comes into mindfulness, but we’ve learned from experience that putting mindfulness in the context of our own mortality creates a sense of urgency to Live the most fulfilling lives we can now while we are still on earth. The name has a dark but geeky sound to it, and on first impressions, listeners find the podcast light-hearted and humorous. We joke about the end of the world in every episode, but the fate we are talking about is not apocalyptic. We simply acknowledge that at some point in the future our life will have an end point. Overcoming the fear of our inevitable death and appreciating our mortality brings a sense of inner satisfaction and clarity about who we are and what we need to do next.
You can subscribe to the Mindfulness of Doom podcast on iTunes, iHeartRadio, TuneIn or Stitcher.
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Further information: St John’s Secret Tequesta Burial Mound