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“Meditation can change the world.” With Beau Henderson & Lynne Goldberg

I strongly believe that meditation can change the world. Through it, we learn that we are all interconnected. We see that by offering love and compassion to all beings… we can all thrive. Rumi says, “Yesterday I was clever, I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Each […]

I strongly believe that meditation can change the world. Through it, we learn that we are all interconnected. We see that by offering love and compassion to all beings… we can all thrive. Rumi says, “Yesterday I was clever, I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Each one of us has the power to change the world every time we sit down to meditate.


As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lynne Goldberg, founder and meditation coach of Breethe. (breethe.com)

Lynne Goldberg, meditation coach and founder of meditation and lifestyle app, Breethe, has been named one of the top meditation teachers in North America by Forbes Magazine. She is the co-founder of the app, Breethe, which according to InStyle Magazine is “so simple even my ten-year-old can do it.”


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Ifirst began meditating after my life fell apart. I lost twin girls, my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I lost my job and my marriage broke up. Meditation was the thing that helped me put my life back together. As a mom, I wanted my kids to learn these skills as well.

So, I began teaching the teachers in my kid’s school, so that they could then help the kids. They asked me for something that they could use at home, and that’s how the app was born.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

One of my clients had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was fairly young and understandably quite anxious about the diagnosis. She was scared about losing her hair, her breast and ultimately her life.

Through meditation, she learned how to live with uncertainty. She learned to let go and be ok with not knowing the future. Now she speaks regularly at events and helps support other women to overcome their own breast cancer diagnosis. Ultimately, through meditation, we learn how to manage uncertainty, which is a skill that is coming in handy right now.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Our work culture at Breethe is unique because we are mission based. Everyone here wants to create a better world and to help people live their best lives through meditation. Having a common unifying goal helps us navigate challenges when they arise. We may sometimes disagree about the specifics, but overall, we all want the same thing.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

After my mother died, I picked up “The Tibetan Book of the Dead.” It really helped me to gain a new perspective on grief and death, but most importantly it taught me to appreciate life.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

Mindfulness is no more complicated than paying attention… on purpose…. without judgment… moment to moment. Our culture tends to multi-task. We are on our phones as we enjoy a meal. When we practice mindfulness, when you eat, just eat. Notice the flavors, the textures, the aromas. Be present and fully engaged for whatever you are doing!

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

Have you ever had a conversation or argument with someone and the whole time they’re talking, you’re busy planning your response? Then, you’re not really listening, you feel defensive, and you have to be “right.” To you, it’s as if you’re being has been threatened.

Our mindfulness practice helps us to show up and really pay attention, without judgment. So, instead of strategizing what you are going to say, you are really listening, really present. Not only do you drop your previous story from the conversation (“she always”, “he never”.) but you are able to get curious about the other person’s point of view. Our practice takes us out of our fight or flight response and allows us to really discover what is happening, without our filter shrouding the conversation.

Physically, when we are in fight or flight mode, our bodies don’t distinguish between actual danger, like being chased by a wild animal, and emotional danger. So, it reacts as if the danger were physical. It releases the same stress hormones as adrenaline and cortisol that we need to escape or to fight. Our heart rate increases, and our digestive tract slows down. Over time, this type of chronic stress is very hard on the body.

Our meditation practice is the antidote to stress. When we meditate, we release “feel good” hormones like serotonin, and oxytocin, the “love hormone”. Our blood pressure drops, our heart rate falls, our digestion normalizes, and our immune system gets a boost. Emotionally, we are less guarded and less defensive.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each?

1) Set Your Intention: Get really clear about why it is you want to have a meditation practice in the first place. Is it to develop the inner resources to help you maintain balance in trying times? Is it to learn to work with fear and uncertainty? Maybe it’s to redefine what is really important to you, so that you can live a more meaningful and rewarding life.

Whatever the reason, keep it handy, because your intention is your guiding principle. I like to stick Post It Notes on my bathroom mirror.

When you find yourself filled with fear and uncertainty, you can remind yourself that this is a practice. And you can choose actions that help you remain true to your original goal. So, for example, if I want to develop inner resources, I recognize that I need to make sure I meditate daily. Then on the days that I might not feel like it, I have a reminder to motivate me.

2) Stay Present: Most of us spend our time thinking about the past or the future. We remember old grievances, and rehash past wrongs. Or we worry about what the future may bring.

The mind can be a pretty scary place, and a lot of the fear we have is about all the bad things that could happen. Marc Twain once said, “I’ve been through a lot of terrible things in my life, some of which have actually happened.”

Learning to stay present is a skill you can practice every time you meditate. You can learn to notice your mind wandering off into past or future thoughts, and you can come back to your breath, and to the present moment… where life is really happening.

3) Practice Non-Judgement: There is a great story about a farmer who was disappointed in his crop. He complained to the wise man of the village who replied, “Maybe good. Maybe bad.”

The farmer went to sleep that night and the next morning there were 40 wild horses on his property. He couldn’t believe his good luck. He boasted to the wise man who only smiled and replied, “Maybe good. Maybe bad.”

The farmer’s son went to harvest the crops using one of the horses and fell off and broke his leg. The farmer was distraught, but the wise man simply replied, “Maybe good. Maybe bad.”

The next day the army came to town and took all the boys over 18 to go fight. But they couldn’t take the farmer’s son because of his broken leg.

Of course, the point is, we don’t know what the future holds, and rather than sitting in judgment, we can simply be with whatever is happening, without judging it as “good” or “bad”.

4) Let Go of Control: I keep a saying on my fridge to remind me how life really is… “Relax nothing is under control”.

Most of us have the illusion that we have control over our lives. So, we micromanage, or we manipulate to see how we can get things to work out for ourselves. But ultimately, we don’t have control over any of it. Not our health, not our partner, not our ____… fill in the blank.

Meditation teaches us to do the best we can, and then to relinquish the outcome. Because when we believe that we have control, we create a lot of stress for ourselves. We are always tweaking and fixing and trying to manage the unmanageable. But somehow, our body knows how to breathe and how to make a baby, how to pump blood… all at the same time. So, we just have to surrender and trust.

5) Go From ‘Me’ to ‘We’: Our practice helps us get out of our storyline called “The Selfie”. You see, most of us tend to look at the world only from our own perspective, and we fail to see the big picture. Our practice helps us to step back and use our wide-angle lens. This lets us see how we are all interconnected. And when we realize that our own well-being is interdependent on the well-being of others, we understand the importance of taking care of one another.

Most of us know how Charles Darwin inspired the idea of ‘the survival of the fittest’ with his theory of natural selection. But in his book ‘The Descent of Man’, he actually put forth the idea that the societies that took care of one another were the ones that actually thrived. So, rather than survival of the fittest, it’s actually survival of the kindest. Interestingly, when we take care of others, it inhibits the fear center of our brain… So, by helping others we ultimately help ourselves.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

1) Listen deeply: Sometimes we just need to vent. In one study of 120 students, those who had social support coped better with academic stress. We are social creatures who need to feel seen and heard. Just showing up by listening with compassion, without trying to fix or change the other’s perspective, can be one of the most compassionate things you can do.

2) Encourage them to focus on the things they can control: We can’t control the events that are happening on the outside, but we can choose how to respond to them on the inside. Reminding others of what they can do to improve their internal state, by meditating and watching their thoughts, can help them see which fears are real and which are imagined.

3) Present moment awareness: Very often we get focused on all the things that could happen in the future. We could get sick, we could lose our homes, we could run out of money. And the future can feel very scary. But none of those things have actually happened yet. So, encouraging others to focus on what is happening right now, will help take them out of future worry and lets them see that in this moment… they are safe, they are breathing, they are being supported.

4) Step back: When we take a step back, we can see things from a wider perspective. We can appreciate all that we have to be grateful for. We can appreciate that we have a roof over our heads, food on our table, and that we can talk to the people we love. There is more right with us than there is wrong in this moment, so encourage them to embrace this.

5) Offer to sit and breathe together: We have the ability to calm our nervous system and relieve symptoms of anxiety with just our breath. It’s actually amazing how different we can feel with just a few very deep and controlled breaths. So, to support someone feeling anxious, offer to breathe with them. Inhale slowly through the nose for a count of 5 and then exhale slowly through the mouth for a count of 7. Repeat these five times and see how they feel.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“The wound is where the light enters.” Rumi

When my life had literally fallen apart, there was a time where all I could see was the wound. But what I came to realize, was that we all have difficult moments. We all face loss and pain and sorrow. But if we allow the light to enter, we can alchemize our wound and turn it into a life filled with love, meaning and purpose.

I strongly believe that meditation can change the world. Through it, we learn that we are all interconnected. We see that by offering love and compassion to all beings… we can all thrive. Rumi says, “Yesterday I was clever, I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Each one of us has the power to change the world every time we sit down to meditate.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

@BreetheApp

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