Death is not a calming thought for most people.
But these guys aren’t most people.
They want you to die. But only after you listen to their podcast.
Brian Lemmerman and Cory Hardaker are interesting figures in the growing South Florida Mindfulness firmament.
Both are young and deeply believe in the power of living in the moment.
Hardaker is a meditation teacher at Innergy Meditation in Miami Beach and a skilled 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 Miami Shores who previously ran an advertising agency.
Together they make up Mindfulness of Doom, a recently launched weekly podcast about “life, peaceful living, and existential dread.”
The episodes are funny and light in tone but they tackle some pretty meaty topics.
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 recently interviewed sent Lemmerman some questions via email (because we are busy and are GOING TO DIE!). Here’s 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 Miami and grew up in Broward County. I studied Architecture at the University of Miami 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 a fun occupation, but learned it wasn’t my passion. I sold my shares in 2012 and got back into the world of architecture and urban planning for 2 years until one evening in May 2015, I was struck by a vehicle and sustained a brain injury that put me out of designing for almost a year. In the meantime, I continued my 5-year mindfulness practice, and I found daily meditation to be the most effective tool on my healing journey. I decided to teach mindfulness to help others who have their own healing including removing internal barriers that keep us from pursuing our passions. For a while I did some marketing consulting while getting my teaching career started, and as of August, I made the big leap to mindfulness full-time. We’re now working on a business to teach mindfulness and meditation online at a deeper level than our podcast offers. I’m also currently teaching as a Mindfulness Professor at Barry University.
RISE NEWS: How do you explain mindfulness to someone who has never been exposed to the concept before?
I describe mindfulness as an art of paying attention on purpose and without judgement. Many people have this idea that mindfulness and meditation are interchangeable terms, and that meditation should somehow be relaxing and peaceful. In practice, one is mindful as long as they are aware that they are paying attention. And for a first-timer, staying aware and consistently paying attention are difficult tasks. The process is anything but relaxing and peaceful. The mind spouts off all sorts of distracting thoughts and daydreams that pull at our attention every moment. Meditation is one expression of mindfulness, and there are endless meditations one can add to their practice. One of the most common and basic meditations is a breath meditation where one sits cross-legged on the floor and simply watches their breath for a period of time. From the outside, it looks peaceful. Almost certainly however; the practitioner’s mind will be thinking hundreds of noisy thoughts during the session. The point of the meditation is not to stop the thinking. It’s to stay focused on the breath despite the thinking. The mind is designed to think. Why stop it? The heart is designed to beat. It too can be distracting in silence. But why stop the heart? This kind of practice strengthens the mind’s focus and attention, just like weight-lifting strengthens our muscles. Inner peace and unexplainable feelings of joy happen to be fortunate by-products of the work-out.
RISE NEWS: Where did the idea for the podcast come from?
For us, the podcast is a passion project that allows us to share our knowledge and experience with a larger audience. Cory and I began meeting over the summer to concept a larger business idea, of which Mindfulness of Doom is one component. Ultimately, we’re committed to creating a global university or retreat center that serves to educate people in real life skills such as mindfulness, interpersonal communication, physical well-being, financial literacy, and many of the other important skills our mandatory childhood education system doesn’t teach. This school will be made available online first, and the podcast is our first step.
As our first foray into podcasting, we’ve gotten some feedback on roughness in terms of sound quality and editing. We’re improving with quantum leaps each week.
RISE NEWS: Miami is a stressed out place. How do you think mindfulness could help make things better?
I hear people say Miami is a stressed-out place. I hear them say things like “people here are rude and impatient” or “Miami is a shallow party city”. That may be true for some people. One important distinction I learned while practicing mindfulness is that my attention creates my reality. If I choose to focus on my automatic judgements of other people and believe the automatic generalizations my mind invents about places, then some of these phrases might become true for me. Instead, I’ve learned to manage my attention and remain aware of what I choose to believe. As a result, I tend to be surrounded by people who do the same and live in a different story about their surroundings. Miami is a story, and we get to tell it. I choose that Miami is a peaceful and community-oriented place. I live as though this is true, and it becomes real for me. If I’m the minority in this mindset, some might say I’m crazy. If enough of us make the choice to believe and live differently, the collective story about Miami will eventually shift. To change the world, we must first start within.
RISE NEWS: What are you ambitious for the podcast? Where do you see it going?
We recently launched our Patreon Page and are actively seeking regular monthly contributors to help support us in our transition as entrepreneurs sharing mindfulness in this unique way. We plan to continue producing the show weekly, and as our listening community funds us, we will hire staff, seek high-profile guests, and continue to improve production quality. Cory and I have a book idea, and dreams of traveling to do live events. As we grow, we plan to connect with masters and practitioners all over the world who are making a difference one mindful breath at a time.
Fans can become funders for as little as $1/month. Every contribution helps! http://patreon.com/mindfulnessofdoom/
RISE NEWS: The name, Mindfulness of Doom is obviously pretty unique. But how do you keep the podcast from becoming dark and depressing though?
Given its name, we acknowledge that Mindfulness of Doom can be an odd first choice for someone getting 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 right now while we’re still on earth. The name has a dark yet geeky sound to it, and on first impression, listeners find the podcast light-hearted and humorous. We joke about the end of the world in every episode, but the Doom we’re talking about isn’t apocalyptic. We’re simply acknowledging that this life of ours has an end-point sometime in the future. Getting past the fear of our inevitable demise and honoring our mortality brings a sense of inner contentment and clarity on who we are and what we must do next.
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