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False Gurus and Cults: The Dangers of Spiritual Idolatry

ACM group Spiritual Path

The spiritual world can be a refuge from the avarice and ignorance of the materialistic twenty first century societies we live in. Finding a true path and, perhaps, a teacher or guru, can feel like you have finally found your purpose in life. It can, however, also be a realm where it is hard to keep your feet on the ground. A wise spiritual teacher once told me to keep my eye on the path and not to lose myself in the mysterious moments that may come through deep meditation. Don’t look at the lightning in the sky or you may stray from the path and be lost forever.

A Place of Heart

The spiritual journey is often a heartfelt journey; when we come home to ourselves we are grateful to those who have guided us there. It is, also, a realm where the borders around things are less distinct; spiritual energy moves beyond matter. Sometimes that heart space can be manipulated by people who misrepresent themselves in the spiritual dimension. There are false gurus and cults: the dangers of spiritual idolatry are real. Sometimes what begins as something beautiful and innocent turns into something evil and abhorrent.

Love Can Be Abused

You can fall in love with the Master, with the egoless wisdom of what he or she represents; you are the seeker and he the Beloved. Love is a very important means of transferring spiritual truth from teacher to disciple. You can see how this situation can lend itself to exploitation when unscrupulous people are involved. In a spiritual organisation the fish rots from the head; and it only takes one powerful individual to take a wrong turn. When there are many followers and only one leader, as in totalitarian states, the outcomes can be Jones Town and Waco.

Avoiding Spiritual Ego

This is why we at ACM Group are scrupulous about our commitment to pure spirit. It is why we are mindful of avoiding spiritual ego; we are vigilant in our self checking processes. False gurus and cults: the dangers of spiritual idolatry are out there. In yoga organisations and religious groups you can find corruption and misuse of power. We at ACM, being aware of the pitfalls, can traverse the chasm of fire with a pure heart. Always ask yourself, when called upon by others to do something, is this task something my heart and mind are truly comfortable with? Never blindly follow the will of others. Peace be with you.



12 Most Beautiful Locations to Build an Ashram

acm group building community

If you were a master on the lookout for a stunning location to build your new ashram, what would be some of the prerequisites you would be taking under consideration? Probably: the aesthetic geographical aspect of the site, the sacred energy vibrational quality of the location, the architectural features of the buildings, the public transport accessibility, the friendliness of the municipal authorities, and whether the site truly speaks to your own soul. Here are my 12 most beautiful locations to build an ashram.

Top of the list would have to be Ubud on the Hindu island of Bali in Indonesia. This mountain paradise has all the peace and geographic beauty to stop you in your tracks and contemplate more than your navel. The vegetation is beautiful, the views are breathtaking; and the local people are exquisite. This part of Bali has retained its spiritual flavour and religiousness.

Next, the stunning secluded monasteries in Ladakh in Kashmiri India have all the other worldly qualities to inspire the most jaded soul. Austere and difficult to reach by steep narrow roads, these ancient buildings cry out for silence.

Kerala on India’s Malabar Coast is a tropical paradise for ashrams and retreats. On the shoreline of the Arabian Sea, and containing the mountainous Western Ghats, this visually impressive land holds all the aces for a timeless spiritual ambience.

Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, again in India, has a rich tradition as the home of many ashrams. Yoga flourishes in the foothills of the Himalayas. Silent meditation in the presence of divine natural beauty is breathtaking.

Mangrove Mountain in New South Wales in Australia is a natural Mecca for ashrams and retreats. The bush setting and the sacred energy of the location is magnificent.

Of course the Blue Mountains where we’ve set up our ACM Group centre is one of the finest locations to clear one’s mind and truly transcend the hustle and bustle of Sydney just an hour’s drive or train away. Coming soon will be photos of our ACM Group students practicing yoga in all the vistas and vantage points of the Blue Mountains such as Evans Lookout, the Three Sisters and Leura Cascades.

Bangalore in India is another eminently suitable location for a beautiful and inspiring ashram location. It is home to Sai Baba’s ashram.

Koregan Park in Pune, India is another great location for an ashram, utilising the grand old homes of the British Raj in a tropical garden setting. Peacocks wander gracefully around amid the memories of the provocative Osho.

Mount Abu in central India has been home to consciousness raising gurus for centuries and more. The spiritual energy here is in the air and tangible to all who traverse here.

Woodbourne in upstate New York is home to a number of ashrams, retreats and monasteries in beautiful woodland settings.

Nepal, south-western France and Queensland’s Daintree rain forest are all locations with something special to offer the spiritual master in search of quality real estate for his, or her, ashram.

ACM Group Australia 2016