Brent Beresford has a conviction that there is so much kindness in simply bringing our curiosity to an experience. “Turning towards” is radical and filled with love for life, and this is some of what they hope to transmit to those whose paths they have the privilege of crossing. They also hope to help cultivate a greenhouse full of softness for meeting our human imperfections. The people who teach Brent the most about their own shortcomings are their two young children, who show them on a regrettably regular basis how unreasonable their expectations are. The children also teach him how boundlessly their hearts can open.
Brent has a fondness when it comes to actively practicing relationships and community, and they feel it is the “gem” that needs to be revived. Much of their work has been in directly engaging the power of relationships. Brent has been accompanying individuals and groups in therapeutic change processes since 2002. First as an occupational therapist and now as a psychologist, they have integrated the teachings of the Dhamma into the ways in which they navigate with people towards unraveling the knots brought about by life. Somatic approaches, intersubjective and humanistic perspectives, and a curiosity for nuance all shape the way that Brent does this work-art, which they are mainly doing in Kahnawà:ke, a Kanien’kehá:ka community just outside Tiohtiá:ke (Montreal), Canada, where Brent lives with their partner of 20 years and two children.
Brent has endeavored to transmit the teachings of Dhamma in various forms since 2015 through mindfulness-based approaches (e.g., they are a mindfulness-based stress reduction [MBSR] teacher), teaching in a mindfulness-based program at Université du Québec à Montréal (www.ppa.uqam.ca), and in offering the practice of insight dialogue—which they regularly offer in various online groups. Brent obtained their Ph.D. in psychology and is currently participating in the insight dialogue teacher development cohort and the True North Insight mentorship program.
What feels alive for Brent is the way in which the teachings of Dhamma can be lived right here and now with what is right in front of us. They marvel at how easy it is to forget this and how beautiful it can be to touch the extraordinary in the quite mundane. Brent aspires to lean into the darker places and find, as Wendell Berry wrote, “how the dark too blooms and sings.” Brent is a person of mixed racial heritage and is growing to appreciate life on the fence in this regard, as this influences their tendency to want to shake things up. Brent also identifies as gender non-conforming (pronouns he/they) and adds these two details here at the end because they need to be said, and yet just like the rest of this description, don’t quite capture the essence. Brent is satisfied with the imperfection of this, for now.