From angst to zen, pathos to peace

Former military man shares steps to serenity

Lillian Simmons
Published on December 12, 2012
Brent Beshara often uses his drum as an icebreaker in his talks. The drum, called a djembe, is from West Africa.
— Photo by Lillian Simmons/Special to The Telegram

Brent Beshara’s spiritual take on empowering your life sounds downright practical. It involves preparation, strategy and the ability to see opportunity. “It’s simple, it’s easy,” he says. “If you take the time to do the work, you will get the results. Life should be simple. And it is. But it feels and sounds like it was written by lawyers. It’s complicated because that’s what we’ve been taught. It’s what we’ve been shown.”

A voracious reader, a philosopher, spiritualist, speaker and knife-maker, Beshara is a former bomb disposal expert with Canada’s military.

In September, he lost his son Carl in a tragic accident.

But Beshara has taken his life experiences and explorations and intertwined them into an intriguing public presentation that he hopes will help others shift their perspective and empower their lives.

The Saskatchewan native, now living in Holyrood, joined the military in 1983 at the age of 19, spending his first six years in the infantry and his last 18 as a Navy bomb disposal diver. He also cleared land ordnance and improvised explosive devices in Canada and overseas.

Beshara seems to have been born with a love of public speaking, practising in front of a mirror when he was a child. But his first real foray into that world came in the military.

“It’s de facto you have to be an instructor to achieve any form of military rank. Everyone has to speak,” he said.

While he was in the military he gave a number of talks about his career to high school students. Since then he has shared his Steps to Awareness and Personal Empowerment at retreats, workshops, the Positive Thinkers Club and Toast Masters.

In retrospect, he can pretty much draw a map outlining the path that brought him to the podium.

The path

Beshara retired from the military in October 2007. Aware he’d need something to fill the void, he’d  come up with a plan some 15 years previous. It didn’t matter what the job was, as long as it fit his criteria: something creative that used his hands, was Internet-based and involved travel.

Several years later he was in Toronto working with a SWAT team and noticed a team member’s knife. Curious, he asked about it and was advised to give the knife’s maker a call.

“So I did. That was in 2000. He taught me how to make knives. The following year I invented the world’s strongest knife tip (BESH Knives). But if I wasn’t open to listening to that SWAT team member’s advice, it wouldn’t have happened.”

He’s read hundreds of books from the world’s greatest minds, from poets and prophets to performers and physicists.

“We’re seeing the amalgamation of the sciences and the arts, and it’s truly beautiful, because that’s where some of our greatest advancements in technology are coming from, these creative energies,” he said.

“So what I’m drawn to is the exploration of human consciousness, art.”

He’s spent much time researching the common wisdom of innovative people throughout history, verifying it, applying it to himself and then rendering it down to its simplest form and into a presentation.

“Our thoughts lead to our feelings, our feelings lead to our actions and our actions lead to our results. That’s the science of it, the simplicity of it. It’s not smoke and mirrors, it’s not hocus-pocus. We keep ourselves in check with guilt and worry, but we don’t have to anymore. That’s an old mindset. It no longer serves us.

“Your feelings and instincts and intuition allow you to receive information and transmit your intentions out to the universe. You’re continuously painting your reality as you move along, through your perspective. So, you can look out and say, wow what a beautiful scene. But another person might say, oh, it’s overcast man, or it’s too cold. That’s just a chosen perspective. And that’s the simplicity of it. It’s how we decide to choose to view the world.”

The order of things

Beshara believes banking systems and political systems are failing because they have reached the limit of their capacity to serve.

“These are good things. We have to evolve,” he says.

But despite how chaotic things look, he says, we live in an orderly world that runs on immutable laws.

“If the toilet bowl water spins a certain way, it’s the same force that’s making the galaxy spin. At the micro and the macro level, the conditions are always the same. It’s only when you get to the subatomic world of the quantum that things begin to become more soupy and slag around. But for us in this material frequency, things have an order,” he says, patting the coffee table in front of him.

“It’s the frequency of this table that says: I am wood. When you taste something like this coffee, it’s still electromagnetic information being deciphered by your brain. So the object that you’re viewing, as you see me now, isn’t me. What you’re seeing is an image that’s been reprocessed in your mind.”

Anything that’s not happening in this very moment is imagined, Beshara said.

“If you think of what you had for breakfast, it’s a thought, it’s an image in your mind. It means you made it up, right?” he says.

“Because what you’re seeing in your mind isn’t what you had for breakfast, it’s an image.”

The same applies with images of the future.

“You imagine it, which means you can change it. Any angst or dis-ease that you are feeling is created from imagination, from your thoughts. So, if you’re receiving any stress, any anxiety, doubts and worries, you’re holding onto images that you’re deciding to empower, to energize, which will create a feeling.

“It does take work to shed your old paradigms, your old way of thinking. But you can get rid of anxiety, fears, doubts and worries, which are only images, by changing perspective. And it only takes a moment.  That’s the power that you have.”

Peace of mind

Beshara’s son died on Sept. 1. There is no more tragic way to test a person’s faith, he says.

“It’s your deepest fear.”

Speaking about that experience has been therapeutic, and he has learned that the pain comes from thoughts of what he and his son would do together in the future.

“What I’ve learned to do is to appreciate and love the things we were going to do. Then the only way I can look at his passing is firstly as a gift. It can only be a gift because what my son has provided me in his passing is the gift of understanding.”

Beshara says he finds peace in the knowledge that he has the ability to choose his response.

“That’s just for me, personally. The other gift is that due to the nature of his injury he was able to contribute all six of his organs for donation. Within 48 hours there were six people that had the gift of life, there was someone with a heart, kidneys and other organs that had the gift of life, which is so beautiful. Also, up to seven people will regain eyesight through his two eyes. … So many gifts.

“Would I change it? Absolutely. … But because I can’t, then the only thing I can go forward with is the perspective that I choose to have: love. Throughout all this, that’s what I’ve really relied on, the love of my family, my friends, the love of strangers.

“He is truly one of the most amazing men I’ve met, who saw the good in all,” he said of his son.

“That privilege to share 30 years with that amazing human being … and he called me Dad. Some people don’t get 30 years. Some people don’t get that at all and yet that love is still there.

“So for me, I can only view that time that we shared together as a complete gift.”