“I well know that, not being a literary man, certain presumptuous persons will think they may reasonably deride me with the allegation that I am a man without letters. Stupid fellows! Do they not know that I might reply as Marius did in answering the Roman patricians, by saying that they who adorn themselves with the labours of others, will not concede to me my very own: they will say that, not having learning, I will not properly speak of that which I wish to elucidate. But do they not know that my subjects are to be better illustrated from experience than by yet more words? — experience which has been the mistress of all those who wrote well, and, thus as mistress, I will cite her in all cases.” (Leonardo da Vinci)
One of the delightful things about truth is that it can be expressed in so many different ways. And this way of expressing the value of experience has such a deep resonance with me that I carry it (the words “let experience be your mistress”) around with me on my phone to remind me, now and again, of how I could be living. The striking thing about it is that being a mistress is not how you would usually describe experience. It’s an odd combination of words, and it’s the very unexpectedness of this that causes a mental jolt, or stop, to make us take notice.
To explore a little more deeply, it may seem odd that I would carry around a quotation (the work of others) rather than be guided by my own experience. Surely, if I value the advice in the quotation, I should throw the quotation away!
I regularly attend presentations by Serge Benhayon: the essence of what he presents is that we live by our own experience. Surely, if I value that advice, I don’t need to come to his presentations.
Don’t you love a paradox? Where is the balance between learning and experience? Surely, there is value in the work of others that have come before us, as well as value in our own experience?
So much of what we see as useful in our modern society has only come about because the work of many has been brought together to create useful things. A mobile phone is a good example of a pinnacle of technological development: it’s in this kind of practical device that the work of others, and learning from others, become essential building blocks to produce something of value to humanity.
And yet, in interaction and connection with others we need to be able to feel what is actually going on. To be able to connect with ourselves we need to be able to feel. And to feel stillness allows a deep knowing from which a true action arises.
But despite having this knowledge, I come to many moments in life with an expectation of how it will be or should be, and rather than feel what is, my expectation takes me along in its own energy and I get lost in the objective.
Instead of walking each step, and being with me as I walk, I am captured by my mind which is already at the destination and beyond.
But I do have the gift of awareness and can notice when I have drifted into the future. And having noticed I can stop and come back to the step I am taking now. One of the tools I have to remind me of this is that quotation from Leonardo. Another tool that I have to remind me of that inner wisdom is the presentations that Serge Benhayon brings. Each of these things help me to come back to me more easily.
This quotation resonates with me because it is truth. These same words can be written by others, but if the truth is not known by the writer, they are just words. Words alone are not the truth – truth comes from experience. Words can present facts; in our society that can be mistaken for truth, especially if we don’t feel.
My ability to feel truth is strong and has always been so. But I learnt to push that away so that I could fit with society’s expectations. My mind still knows the rules and mores of society, and my habit of following my mind’s view of the world is still strong. There remains a task ahead of me to properly undo the habits I have created.
And to help with that task I will continue to listen to Serge’s presentations and feel whether it is true for me. To test by my own experience whether it is my truth.
Could it be that what is offered in this quotation is not Leonardo’s wisdom, but a universal wisdom that is available to us all if we stop and feel? That what is being presented by Serge Benhayon is not his wisdom, but an ageless wisdom that any of us can tap into?
It is available to us all equally. We just have to learn (again) to trust.
by Chris Baker, Australia
235 thoughts on “Let Experience be your Mistress”
Experience has shown me that listening to and following the mind is a bad idea. It does not lead to love that is for sure. Time and time again experience shows me this.
Chris this is a great topic for discussion because how many of us rely on our minds without even being aware that we do this. Take driving a car for example we can get to our destination without being aware of the journey to get there. Or, we can walk along thinking of just about anything, again with no awareness of our bodies. Re-learning how to come back to my body and feel what is occurring around me has been a huge support to stop checking out on life.
“My ability to feel truth is strong and has always been so. But I learnt to push that away so that I could fit with society’s expectations. My mind still knows the rules and mores of society, and my habit of following my mind’s view of the world is still strong. There remains a task ahead of me to properly undo the habits I have created.” – another amazing comment Chris, and stands along side what Yoda said in Star wars: “You must unlearn what you have learned” (or something along those lines).
“Instead of walking each step, and being with me as I walk, I am captured by my mind which is already at the destination and beyond.” – this is one of my pitfalls too Chris and love how you have described it here – it is certainly a challenge to stay with the body when we have had so much distraction to be in the mind only and push well ahead of the body.
True authority comes from a lived way of being.
Truth is not a conviction. When someone asks you to feel what they present for yourselves and discern, it leaves no place for argument.
To participate in the presentations by Serge Benhayon is to experience the Ageless Wisdom.
I know that what is presented by Serge Benhayon is not his wisdom, but an ageless wisdom that we all have access to. The reason I do not have such deep access to the ageless wisdom is that I do not live in the deep yet simple way that Serge Benhayon does. Serge Benhayon lives in a way that is a constant reflection to all of us that simplicity and true love can be lived here on earth.
Thank you Chris, in my experience our greatest way of living is to simply reflect all of the Love we are. So! “There remains a task ahead of me to properly undo the habits I have created”
Chris for me you have encapsulated the teachings of Serge Benhayon
which is to listen and discern what Serge Benhayon says and to feel the truth of the words. Words spoken in truth have a certain resonation within our bodies and it is this vibration that our bodies feel and know the what is and what isn’t. And if there are those that cannot feel the truth or are in resistances to it this then that’s fine walk away as everyone has the right to decide for themselves.
Beautifully said Mary…And when we hear and feel what is true, it is the fact that on some level deep inside we know the truth and have known it all along and hearing it is simply a confirmation that then allows us to put this all into a lived activity (which of course can take a while).
Henrietta I agree with you it does take some time to come out of our minds and into our bodies as society is set up in such a way that it encourages us all to live from our minds. I feel we have got this the wrong way round as I have discovered for myself it is the body that carries the greater intelligence not our mind.
This is powerful, connecting to lived experience is something that nobody can take away from us. We can all access truth, first we need to be open to the fact and from there learn to trust that we can indeed access the same wisdom that is available to all.
Connecting to a lived experience is extremely powerful, I was talking recently to someone who is what society would call highly educated and incredibly intelligent and in the past I would have fallen for the belief that as they are more educated than me they must know and so what I have to say has little value. But by staying with what I know as a lived experience in my body is true, this person can say what they like they can have the most sophisticated reasoning but if it doesn’t feel true in my body I will now agree to disagree. Nothing can now supplant what I know to be true in my body.
I love the connection you make between being inspired by what someone shares and then the experience of trying it out and seeing if it actually makes sense in your life. That is the way to do it in my eyes because just repeating words without knowing if they are true does not come with much worth to anyone else.
Thank you Chris, it’s a common thing to give our power away to words and knowledge, that’s after all what’s valued in the education system, and to not trust how we feel nor the experiences we have lived. Your final paragraph is beautifully expressed, that the wisdom of Leonardo Da Vinci and Serge Benhayon is Universal, an Ageless Wisdom we can all equally tap into.
The universal wisdom available to us all is supported by experience when we are open to feeling what is true.
Life has produced lots of mistrust in our bodies. Learning to trust again is both a very difficult process and a truly simple one if we listen to our body. There is much not to be trusted as well as other things that can be trusted from the word go. Serge Benhayon is a clear example of the latter.
Well said Eduardo – and the more we develop the relationship with the body, the more we can regain the trust and the less space there is for anxiety – for anxiety comes from us not being in the body, and being so far ahead of ourselves in our minds – simply said.
The combination of knowledge and experience is wisdom.
We can be so easily swayed by words, but without a livingness behind the words, then they remain empty and just words.
We can feel when what someone is saying is a truth from their body or whether it’s simply words being repeated or relayed without the lived experience of them. When lived experience is expressed with no emotional taint or reaction the truth of it can be inspirational.
In all of Leonardo Da Vinci’s works, there is the very present and constant theme of experience, which is so inspiring because this means that everyone can be and in fact is, a master of their own life.
What I love about Leonardo’s pencil studies is the way he can express the very nature and workings the subject, whether that be a wave, water formation, cloth, or plant… I get a sense that the drawing of it to the detail and understanding he shows, is part of the experience of it too.
A brilliant proposition – our experiences are much, much more valuable than we realise. When we learn something from experience it stays with us forever, whereas when we learn something that is taught to us by words it can offer us a greater understanding but it’s not the same as if we actually physically experienced it and learnt first hand from that experience.
Yes, our experience is something lived so it’s embodied, however taught knowledge is memorised and not always easy to remember.
There is much to learn and re-learn from each other through the steps that we each walk on the path back to who we truly are. We are all in the same fish bowl, the same ocean of energy, so any advice on how to navigate these waters is GOLD.
Do we live by our experience or what others expect of us … do we test it out for ourselves, and feel the lived truth of it in our bodies; the second way asks that we live, learn and trust and allow ourselves the space to see and feel where works, the first way looking out and living by the ideas of others leaves us disempowered.
“And to help with that task I will continue to listen to Serge’s presentations and feel whether it is true for me. To test by my own experience whether it is my truth.” What you talk about here is the Livingness, when we experience the truth for ourselves and embody it and incorporate it into our lives, and it becomes our natural, living way.
Our lived wisdom or our Livingness is the loving guide that brings so much to bless us when we get the wayward spirit from being the controlling interest so our Livingness as an “experience which has been the mistress of all those who wrote well, and, thus as mistress, I will cite her in all cases.”
When our mind is at the destination and beyond the present moment we can miss the whole journey along the way.
We rely so much on knowledge that we have neglected to truly live what we know. Just regurgitating what we have heard or learned has no substance unless it is lived and only then, through our living way, can we see whether something truly works for us or not.
I love the beauty with which Leonardo da Vinci exposes the falseness of the importance of knowledge and extols the virtue and truth of understanding through experience.
Yes we have paid far too much homage to knowledge and relegated the value of experience at great expense to ourselves.
There is no greater teacher than experience.
There is a lovely expansion felt in my body when I am connected to truth and divine wisdom, to walk with this authority brings a deeper trust to all areas of life.
Surely the only way to know if something is really true for oneself is through testing the validity of something for oneself?
Life’s experience teaches us so much, it gives us opportunities to know what is true and what is not, which means in any situation we find ourselves in we have the ability to trust what we feel, and to know the truth.
Beautifully expressed Chris Baker – thank you. What great tension there is between those images we have painted of how things ‘should’ be, and our experience of how things actually are. The tension is telling us something – they cannot both be truth – so which way do we choose for our lives?
Thank you Richard for sharing this, I hadn’t quite looked at tension this way before, a learning I can now explore in my own life.
The Ageless Wisdom is available to everyone equally; it is not only available for a special few. When we live and move with truth and love we have access to this grand universal wisdom and knowledge as well.
A moment of truth is always an inward movement where your particles align and speak….through you.
Yes, beautiful, it is not a searching for words or thoughts but a felt experience in the body.
That’s a great paradox indeed – why do I keep coming back to Serge Benhayon’s presentations when what I am learning is to connect to and live by the truth I hold within? This is actually a great question especially now as I am preparing to travel overseas to attend some courses in a few weeks’ time. The least I can say right now is that in the world of lies, meeting someone who simply is truth lived in a human body is an opportunity I wouldn’t want to miss. I will ponder further.
Chris I have been enjoying walking and staying present with each step recently. Its not 100%, but the more I do it the more its becoming a habit.
We all have many experiences over our lives that enable to us to know and feel what is required, the truth, what is needed, we can close it down,but our body knows this is where wisdom and and universal intelligence lies.
“Words alone are not the truth – truth comes from experience.” Its true. You can hear the same things over and over but until lived in the body yourself your words will not come with power and authority that is felt.
Chris, great article, I have attended Serge Benhayon’s presentations and these have helped me to learn to trust myself and to live in a more simple, honest and true way, I have been very inspired by how Serge Benhayon lives as have many others.
If we want to truly appreciate and learn from our life experiences, it is important to live in the present moment.
We learn by experience but wisdom comes from how we respond to our experience.
A skill worth developing is to discern if there is an agenda behind what is being presented. These experiences then build an awareness which is incredibly valuable for us to discern what and who we listen to, no matter what letters they have after their name.
Expectations I find are so limiting and controlling and generally lead to frustration or a sense if dissatisfaction when they are not fulfilled. And after all because they need to be a certain way are very much result driven not allowing for any magic to be at play. I find the more I want or expect things to be a certain way the more I miss out on the beauty of what is before me.
“Could it be that what is offered in this quotation is not Leonardo’s wisdom, but a universal wisdom that is available to us all if we stop and feel? That what is being presented by Serge Benhayon is not his wisdom, but an ageless wisdom that any of us can tap into?”
Beautifully said Chris, what impresses us so much with these great men is that they speak a wisdom that we innately know and that reminds us of something we carry within ourselves.
And it is through the resonance with our own innate knowing that we recognise the truth of the wisdom that these great people express.
It’s so different to people who may impress us with great knowledge, as the Universal or Ageless Wisdom is equally available to us all to connect to and express.
So true Chris… “Instead of walking each step, and being with me as I walk, I am captured by my mind which is already at the destination and beyond.” It takes a great deal of discipline to keep the mind and body together in all moments, but the result is we gain greater access to the wealth and depth of wisdom and grace that is our essence.
I can very much relate to thinking that I know a situation when each one requires a fresh stop to feel what is actually going on, situations may look similar and at times I return to a reaction that I used in a previous moment that looks or appears similar to the one I am in now. Thank God for Serge Benhayon who has presented that energy moves on, no two days are ever the same if we are willing to stop and feel what is being asked of us to respond to in each moment.
I love this little treatise with its paradoxes and wonderment. Yes, words are empty and easily spoken but they hold no power when they precede or replace movement, the actual livingness of what someone is talking about. Or, in other words, whatever is said is empty and meaningless unless the one speaking is walking their talk, demonstrably so. Only that is true power.
Beautifully expressed Gabriele for as you express this ‘little treatise’ is a joy to read and captures admirably the value of the combination of experience and the value of learning from others.