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Living an Authentic Life

Do you know the difference between honesty and authenticity?

This is my understanding. First of all, honesty is definitely a better quality than dishonesty as we all know dishonesty only leads to more mess and suffering in life.
Many people claim that they are honest, for example, they pay their taxes regularly to their country, they would admit their mistakes, they express anger with someone if it is not right, they tell you off if they are offended, they would even come clean with their spouse if they cheat in the marriage etc. Basically, if we look deeply, honesty is a social quality which is essential for living together in a community. But honesty is built on ego because honesty demands and sometimes tries to torture others. Fundamentally, honesty is a poor substitute for authenticity.
On the other hand, authenticity is different from honesty because it is something more.  Authenticity is about living the truth which is a spiritual quality. For example, a spouse who lives authentically will be sincere and be fulfilling his/her responsibilities as a partner. When two beings understand each other, anger or hostility will not happen. Only love and compassion exist. Being authentic also makes us  remember that everything we have is a gift showered upon us by Existence. How many of us have ever thought about paying back to Cosmos?
From my experience, it is very easy to know whether people operate at which spectrum of integration – dishonesty, honesty or authenticity, you just have to observe if they are truthful, sincere and live their life with integrity. I discovered that not being authentic is like you cheating yourself in the whole life which is the greatest punishment you can do to yourself.
To evolve to authenticity, I learned that there are 3 key qualities one must have
1) Right understanding of Self – Who are you? Why are you here? Where you came from? Where are you heading? What is life? You have to seek clarity for all these fundamental questions about life.
2) Courage to live one’s life the way he/she wants – Authenticity is built on cosmic understanding of Self, World, Humanity & God and living the truths with courage and strength without compromising the original truth.  This means going beyond societal and family expectation and conditioning.
3) Being Integrated – This quality drives all our actions and the way we raise our frequency by falling in tune with cosmic truth in all aspects of life: health, wealth, relationships and self actualization. For example, when you understand that your body-mind is a vehicle for your dreams, automatically you start taking responsibility for it in terms of proper care and maintenance. When you understand that all material things belong to Existence, you will just enjoy everything without attachment. When you know that Universe is Cosmic Intelligence constantly flowing with a natural law of expansion, you would make a conscious decision by picking up any good profession out of your freedom which will do good to you and others. When you know that wealth is an extension of your consicousness, then you begin to work on expanding your consciousness which will attract wealth to you. When you see everyone is the same Eternal Spirit, we are here on our own journey of evolution, you will relate with all with pure love and compassion beyond the mental patterns they are stuck with. When you realised that you are also Atman – the Eternal Spirit, you would turn your energy inwards and your quest to find your true self then becomes an urge!
My return to authenticity started in 2006 when I had the blessing to receive many great truths by a living master; gradually I knew that I could not live my old unconscious life anymore. If bliss (Ananda) is our true nature as concurred by all realized beings, I felt I was seriously missing something in my life! The options in front of me were either – continue to suffer or transform. When a higher intelligence was awakened within me, I could no longer ignore the fact that ultimately I have to take the responsibility for my life and the life mission I came here for. I started to align the different dimensions of my life and my quest became an urge to get back to my original state.
The first thing I did was to go beyond society by seeing clearly the fear and greed that I was trapped in. Society can be quite cunning in creating an illusion that we are not good enough or we are somehow lacking in certain ways, we need to run our life to create more “having” (more money, more status, more certificates, better grades etc) so that we can retire comfortably and be happy in old age. What the society does not tell us is – after having run our life for 50 or 60 years with such a restless mental setup, we will not be able to relax in peace to enjoy life! I saw through the illusionary trappings of society and its grip on me for more than 30 years.
At the same time, I felt this suffocation in my marketing profession. So, at the peak of my career, I left my corporate life because I could no longer promote consumerism by fabricating fantasies to drive more sense indulgences of our insatiable mind which is directly in conflict with the spiritual truth of non-greedy and living with minimum things, Aparigrahah (one of 5 Yamas by Patanjali Yoga Sutras).  It dawned on me that I didn’t assume this body to add more sin and collective unconsciousness to humanity even if  the pay was decent. With the courage and constant inspirations from a realised master, I jumped out of the rat race and reclaimed my freedom as a conscious being at age of 40.
I began to see the impermanence of everything in this outer world including my very body-mind. The whole world is just an illusion. The only thing is that real and constant is my Being, my Eternal Spirit. I began to turn my energy inwards and devote my life to the Spirit of Light, continuously raising my consciousness to the highest coherence.
Now contentment and fulfillment drive my actions, things that truly matter to me.  This attitude had led me to discover my true calling which is about sharing the science of yoga and self-healing with humanity. As a mother, I am able to be a part of my son’s growing up years, nurturing him with the right spiritual understanding about life and listening to his dreams & his fears, sometimes learning from his wisdom - what a joy!  As a daughter, I am there for my parents, giving them the mental and emotional support they need from me.  As a yogi, I can now spend more time for my sadhana (practice) and do research and development in developing programmes and share it with people who could benefit from it. As a disciple, I am able to be in a spiritual community (sangha) as a volunteer in social service.
After aligning myself to live an authentic life, I noticed the past cracks in my inner space began to  heal and my inner chatters had also reduced significantly. An emptier inner space keeps me in my presence which is so blissful.  All these can only happen through a guru’s grace as he showed me the true knowledge that being authentic is the way to true happiness in life. I can say that the process itself is a beautiful spiritual journey, but only available to those who have the courage to delve deep to uncover their true self!
Teo Siew Yong draws from over a decade's worth of experience in the Vedic healing arts of Yoga and Mediation to share the sacred knowledge and experiences of self healing and self discovery with people who are ready to look within. She also combines the body work using Body-Mind Centering developed by Bonnie B. Cohen and the understanding of the Vedic traditions into her classes.  She is a Director of Other Ways Of Learning Pte Ltd. and the founder of ‘Your Presence Heals', a website designed to promote preventive care and self healing through the science of yoga. She is also a certified counsellor.

One's destination is never a place
but rather a new way of looking at things.

- Henry Miller