Let Experience be your Mistress

“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

208 thoughts on “Let Experience be your Mistress

  1. When our mind is at the destination and beyond the present moment we can miss the whole journey along the way.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Surely the only way to know if something is really true for oneself is through testing the validity of something for oneself?

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. “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.

  13. 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.

  14. If we want to truly appreciate and learn from our life experiences, it is important to live in the present moment.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. “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.

    1. And it is through the resonance with our own innate knowing that we recognise the truth of the wisdom that these great people express.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

    1. 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.

  21. “Words alone are not the truth – truth comes from experience.” These are such wise words and ones that can come alive when what you share is truly lived. The more I understand this the more I appreciate and even embrace life’s lessons, no amount of textbook education currently prepares us for the truth of who we are in our innate intelligence. Serge Benhayon is an amazing person to observe and appreciate with how he chooses to live wisdom and truth.

  22. Thank you for your ponderings and appreciation of both experience and learning from the past experience of others. Both are valuable when the learning from others comes from the same source of wisdom that our own experiences come from.

  23. What is a great way to support ourselves with getting out of the long lived momentum from living in our head is to do the `gentle Breath Meditation. Which is a free down load on http://www.unimedliving.com. It is the most simple exercise I ever did and it is so powerful. It is to learn again to breath as small children do. This supported me very much to feel the connection again in my own heart. It stopped me to look around me for love and attention, I found it in me and now I can bring that into the world.

  24. When we accept the words of others without discerning them for ourselves we do so at our peril for as you say “Words alone are not the truth – truth comes from experience.” There are many in society who use words to control, to educate and to tantalise, but it is up to us to feel if these words come from the speaker’s lived experience, or simply to meet a personal agenda. We are the one who lives our life and the experience that comes from this living is, in my experience, my truth.

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